Harvard style is the most commonly used academic citation method throughout the world. References and citations are methods of giving credit for concepts and ideas that you use as bases for your own conclusions in your research process. Harvard-style citations use a small note within the text of the paper to direct a reader to a more extensive set of details at the end of the text. These citations are very important, because they allow you to credit other researchers' work and avoid accusations of plagiarism, which is the process of directly or indirectly taking credit for work you did not do. Plagiarism generally results in expulsion from your academic program and a total loss of professional credibility, so it is vitally important that you carefully cite all research that went into the formulation of your original conclusions. When you are citing a website, you must be very careful to make sure that the site has a credible author or originating organisation that can be verified. Otherwise, your professor may question the validity of your research if you cannot show that the information that you used was updated recently, was solidly accurate or came from a credible source.
- Skill level:
List the name of the author, followed by a period.
The name of the author should be listed last name, then first initial. It should be the person who is responsible for composing and posting the information. If the author's name is Jessie Logan, your reference will look like this:
If there is no author, you will substitute the name of the organisation. For example, if you used information from the PETA website, your citation would look like this:
You can use acronyms or spell out the name of the organisation if it is not common knowledge.
List the year the material was published on the website, followed by a comma.
Generally, you will have to use the copyright date of the information or the date the website was last updated. If you are using information from a blog, use the date of the blog post. For example, if Jessie Logan published the information you cited on January 2, 2005, your reference should now look like this:
Logan, J. 2005,
Add the title of the post, webpage or information in quotation marks and followed by a comma.
The comma should be outside the quotation marks. This information can take several forms. It can be the title of a post, the title of an online article, or even the title of the entire webpage. For example, if Jessie Logan's post does not have a title, but the blog is called "Kennel Kids: Pound Puppies Wear Fur Too," your citation will now look like this:
Logan, J. 2005, "Kennel Kids: Pound Puppies Wear Fur Too",
If the blog post does have a title, use the title that most clearly indicates where your information came from.
Follow with the title of the organisation that created the webpage and the words "[online]".
If you do not see the name of an organization, you will need to use the title of the page or the host of the page. For example, if Jessie Logan's page is hosted as an additional resource for the Cosmopolitan County Pound, your reference will now look like this:
Logan, J. 2005, "Kennel Kids: Pound Puppies Wear Fur Too", Cosmopolitan County Pound [online]
Finish your citation with the address of the website.
To indicate where the information can be located, use the words "available at" before the web address. If the page is located at http://www.kennelkidsfurhappyhomes.com, your finished citation will look like this:
Logan, J. 2005, "Kennel Kids: Pound Puppies Wear Fur Too", Cosmopolitan County Pound [online] available at http://www.kennelkidsfurhappyhomes.com>
Tips and warnings
- Online resources often do not have all of the information you need for a reference in a standard format. If you have a credible source but cannot find all the required information, ask your professor for help, as this citation method is a bit more flexible for online information than it is for literature available in hard copy.
- Check with your professor if you are unsure about what types of information needs to be cited. It is better to include more citations than are absolutely necessary than to be accused of plagiarism.
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