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This page is an introduction to the Harvard referencing system. It is very important that you check the Geography Department's guidelines as some details, (e.g. punctuation), may vary from the guidelines on this page. You may be penalised for not conforming to the Department's requirements.

What is referencing?
Why reference?
Steps involved in referencing
In-text citations
How to create a reference list
Examples of references

What is referencing?

Referencing is a standardised method of acknowledging sources of information and ideas that you have used in your assignment in a way that uniquely identifies their source. Direct quotations, facts and figures, as well as ideas and theories, from both published and unpublished works must be referenced.

There are many acceptable forms of referencing. This page provides a brief guide to the Harvard referencing style. Within the text of the assignment the author's name is given first, followed by the publication date. A reference list at the end of the assignment contains full details of all the in-text citations.

Why reference?

Referencing is necessary to avoid plagiarism, to verify quotations, and to enable readers to follow-up and read more fully the cited author's arguments.

Steps involved in referencing

1. Note down the full bibliographic details including the page number(s) from which the information is taken.

In the case of a book, 'bibliographical details' refers to:
     Year of publication
     Volume number
     Place of publication and

as found on the front and back of the title page. (Not all of these details will necessarily be applicable).

In the case of a journal article the details required include:
     Author of article
     Year of publication
     Title of the article
     Title of the journal
     Volume and issue number of the journal
     Page numbers

For all electronic information, in addition to the above you should note the date that you accessed the information, and database name or web address (URL).

2. Insert the citation at the appropriate place within the text of the document (see examples below).

3. Provide a reference list at the end of the document (see examples below).

In-text citations

When citing references within the text of an assignment, use only the name of the author, followed by the year of publication. In general, page numbers should be included in all in-text citations, as many schools insist on this practice:

The theory was first propounded in 1993 (Hamilton 1994, p. 58)


The theory was first propounded by Hamilton (1994, p. 58).

When referring to two or more texts by different authors, separate them with a semicolon (;):

(Larsen 2000, p. 82; Malinowski 1999, p. 19).

Page numbers are compulsory for quotations:

Larsen (1971, pp. 245-6) noted that "many of the facts in this case are incorrect".


"Many of the facts in this case are incorrect" (Larsen 1971, pp. 245-6).

Multiple authors

If there are two or three authors on the title page, cite the names in the order in which they appear and place an ampersand (&) between them:

(Australian Bureau of Statistics & Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 1997, p. 4)

(Malinowski, Miller & Gupta 1995, pp. 67-68)

If there are more than three authors, the in-text citation only shows the name of the first, followed by 'et al.' (meaning 'and others'). For example, a work by Malinowski, Larsen, Ngu and Fairweather is cited as follows:

(Malinowski et al. 1999, p. 69)


Malinowski et al. (1999, p. 69) have found...

More than one work by the same author

If published in different years:

(Public Land Use Commission 1996, p. 37; 1997, p. 82)


The Public Land Use Commission (1996, p. 37; 1997, p. 82) reported on...

If the same author has published two or more works in the same year, then they are distinguished by attaching a lower-case letter of the alphabet to the publication date. The order is determined by the alphabetical order of the titles, ignoring words such as 'the', 'an' and 'a'. For example:

In 'Cold water around the Antarctic' (Dewhirst 1986a, p. 19) there is a discussion of...

'Hot air over the Himalayas' (Dewhirst 1986b, p. 3) outlines a similar phenomenon...

No author

When a work has no author (including legal materials) or if the author is anonymous, the in-text citations consists of the first few words of the title, followed by the year and page number. Do not use Anon or Anonymous. Italicise the title:

This was apparently not the case before about 1995 (The entrepeneur's guide to the law 1999, p. 14)


In The entrepeneur's guide to the law (1999, p. 14) it is claimed that this was not the case before 1995.

Secondary sources

Secondary sources refer to the work of one author being cited in another author's work. It is preferable to consult the original source and cite that. However, if it is necessary to refer to the secondary source, provide both authors' names. For example:

Ngu (cited in Larson 1991, p. 51) reported...


(Ngu, cited in Larson 1991, p. 51)

In this example, only Larson is included in the references list. The bibliographic details for Ngu do not need to be included in the text or in the reference list.

Video recordings

In the in-text reference, include the title (in italics) and date of production:

Strictly ballroom (1992)...

(Understanding the GNP 1982)

Personal communication and e-mail

This category includes letters, memos, conversations and personal e-mail for which an in-text citation is still required. For electronic discussion lists, see the section below. Do not include these in your reference list as they cannot be traced by the reader. Be sure to obtain permission first!

When interviewed on 24 April 1999, Ms S. Savieri confirmed....


It has been confirmed that an outlbreak occurred in Shepparton (S. Savieri 1999, pers. comm., 24 April).

See p. 199 in the Style manual for more information.


A statement specific to an individual document or page requires that you follow the author/date conventions presented in this guide and provide a record in your list of references.

In order to cite an entire website in-text, give the address in brackets.

Metacrawler ( is a meta search tool used for conducting basic searches and quickly locating documents on the World Wide Web.

When your statement does not refer to any specific page or part of that site (as in the above example), an entry in your list of references will not be required.

How to create a Reference List

A reference list only includes books, articles etc that are cited in the text. A list which consists of relevant sources that are not cited in the text is called a bibliography.

The reference list is arranged alphabetically by author. Where an item has no author it is cited by its title, and ordered in the reference list or bibliography alphabetically by the first significant word of the title.

The Harvard style requires the second and subsequent lines of the reference to be indented, as shown in the examples below, to highlight the alphabetical order.

Examples of references


Bibliographic details are arranged in this sequence:

Year of publication
Title of book
Edition of book
Place of publication

For books, only capitalise the first word of the title.

Book with a single author

Comfort, A. 1997, A good age, Mitchell Beazley,

Book with 2 or 3 authors/editors

Madden, R. & Hogan, T. 1997, The definition of
   disability in Australia: moving towards national
, Australian Institute of Health and
   Welfare, Canberra.

Book with more than 3 authors/editors

Include all of the authors in the reference list in the order they appear on the title page.

Leeder, S. R., Dobson, A. J., Gibberd, R. W. & Patel,
   N. K. 1996, The Australian film industry, Dominion
   Press, Adelaide.

Chapter in a book

Bibliographic details are arranged in the sequence:

Author of article/chapter
Year of publication
Chapter or article title
Editor(s) of book
Title of book (first word only capitalised)
Place of publication
Article or chapter page numbers

Article or chapter in a book

Blaxter, M. 1976, 'Social class and health
   inequalities', in C. Carter & J. Peel (eds), Equalities
   and inequalities in health
, Academic Press,
   London, pp.120-135.

Article or chapter in a book (no author)

List the chapter or article by title. For example:

'Solving the Y2K problem' 1997, in D. Bowd (ed),
   Technology today and tomorrow, Van Nostrand
   Reinhold, New York, p. 27.

Journal articles

Bibliographic details are arranged in the sequence:

Author of journal article
Year of publication
Article title
Title of journal
Issue number
Article pages
If electronic: 'Retrieved' statement, giving the month, day, year, and then the name of the database or the URL.

For journal titles, capitalise every significant word.

Print journal article

Wharton, N. 1996, 'Health and safety in outdoor
   activity centres', Journal of Adventure Education
   and Outdoor Leadership
, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 8-9.

Print journal article (no author) - enter under the article title. Note that it has no issue number.

'Anorexia nervosa' 1969, British Medical Journal, vol. 1,
   pp. 529-530.

Electronic journal article

The rules for citing electronic journal articles are the same as for print; simple add a 'Retrieved' statement, in this format:

Retrieved: month day, year, from database name.

Full text from an electronic database

Madden, G. 2002, 'Internet economics and policy: an
   Australian perspective', Economic Record, vol. 78, no.
   242, pp. 343-358. Retrieved: October 16, 2002, from
   ABI/Inform database.

Full text from a CD-ROM (BPO):

La Rosa, S.M. 1992, 'Marketing slays the downsizing
   dragon', Information Today, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 58-59.
   Retrieved: October 16, 2002, from UMI Business
   Periodicals Ondisc, CD-ROM.

Full text from the Internet (not from a scholarly electronic database)

Sopensky, E. 2002, 'Ice rink becomes hot business',
   Austin Business Journal, October 11, 2002.
   Retrieved: October 16, 2002, from http://

Article from Curtin E-Reserve

Davidhizar, R. & Dowd, S.B. 1997, 'The art of giving an
   effective presentation', Health Care Supervisor, vol.
   15, no. 3, pp. 25-31. Retrieved: October 16, 2002,
   from Curtin University Library and Information
   Service E-Reserve.

Government and Parliamentary publications

Act of Parliament

Most Acts have a short formal title that can be used for citation purposes. The first time you cite the Act, give this short formal title, in italics, exactly and in full. In subsequent references give the title in roman type and omit the date. For example:

The Environmental Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974...[later referred to as] the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act...

Specify the jurisdiction either in the text (eg Victoria's Equal Opportunity Act 1995 prohibits...) or place an abbreviation of the jurisdiction in brackets after the date. See the Style manual pp. 224-226 for more information.

Australian Bureau of Statistics Bulletin

Print copy of the bulletin:

Australian Bureau of Statistics 1999, Disability,
   ageing and carers: summary of findings,
   no. 4430.0, ABS, Canberra.

Note: when the author and publisher are the same (as is often the case with government publications) you can abbreviate the organisation in the publisher section of the reference. In the above example, 'Australian Bureau of Statistics' becomes 'ABS'.

From AusStats:

Australian Bureau of Statistics 1999, Disability,
   ageing and carers: summary of findings
, cat.
   no. 4430.0. Retrieved October 14, 2002, from
   AusStats database.

Census information

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001, Census of
   population and housing: B01 selected characteristics
   (First release processing) postal area 6050
. Retrieved
   November 20, 2002, from AusStats database.

Government reports

Resource Assessment Commission 1991, Forest
   and timber inquiry: draft report
, vol. 1, Australian
   Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

More examples are in the Style manual, p. 223.

Audiovisual materials

In the reference list, provide the:

Date of recording
Place of recording and
Date of broadcast (if applicable)

Any special information which may be relevant may be noted after the citation. For example:

Grumpy meets the orchestra 1992, videorecording,
   Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sydney.
   Featuring the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

For more examples, see the Style manual p. 229.

ERIC document (microfiche)

Davis, R.K. & Lombardi, T.P. 1996, 'The quality of life of
   rural high school special education graduates', in
   Rural goals 2000: Building programs that work. ERIC
   Document No. ED394765, microfiche.o need to include an access date.

E-mail discussion list

Rremember, if this is a personal communication, you only need to reference it in-text. See the personal communication section above.

If available from an archive on the Web:

Little, L. 2002, 'Two new policy briefs', ECPOLICY
   discussion list, 16 April. Retrieved: November 13,
   2002, from Virtual

If from a list without a web archive, add the email address:

Berkowitz, P. 1995, 'Sussy's gravestone', Mark Twain
   Forum, discussion list, April 3. Retrieved: April 3,
   1995, from TWAIN-L@yorkvm1.bitnet.

The title of the message comes from the subject line.

World Wide Web

As far as possible, direct the reader to the exact source of the information. Be sure to get the URL (web address) correct - try copying and pasting from your browser into your word processing program to avoid making typographical errors.

World Wide Web page

Dawson, J., Smith, L., Deubert, K. & Grey-Smith, S.
   2002, 'S' Trek 6: Referencing, not plagiarism.
   Retrieved: October 31, 2002, from

World Wide Web page (no author)

Leafy seadragons and weedy seadragons 2001.
   Retrieved: November 13, 2002, from

World Wide Web page (no date)

Curtin University of Technology, (n.d.). Retrieved:
   October 16, 2002, from


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Last updated 15 February 2017