A guide to the Harvard referencing system
This article explains how to reference an academic work using the Harvard system. Instructions comply with the relevant British standards, i.e. BS 5605:1990, BS 1629:1989 and BS 6371:1983. The importance of referencing in an approved manner is discussed and problem areas such as joint authors, corporate authorship and unpublished works are examined. The issue of second-hand references that are not addressed by the standards is also explained-
he Harvard system is a popular referencing system for academic works and is Ah( often referred to as the 'author/date' system, which distinguishes it from the Vancouver or 'numerical' system. To be more specific, it is a system: *...in which names and dates are given in the body of the text and the references alphabetically at the end of the paper' (Royal Society, 1965).
Reference: British Standards Institution (1990) Recommendations for Citing and Referencing Published Materials. BS 5605: 1990. London: British Standards Institution.
Why is it important to reference in an approved manner?
Referencing is a way of giving credence to the subject being studied. It enables the author to honour certain responsibilities that the process of communicating scholarly knowledge places upon him/her. In addition to the professional courtesy of acknowledging sources used, referencing allows the work to be checked and verified and prevents criticisms regarding plagiarism. Intellectual property rights, as defined in the form of copyright laws, are also honoured.
What is a reference?
A statement in a text should be linked to the bibliographical details of the document that supports that statement. This is done via the use of a citation when quoting or alluding to a work that the author has consulted. Citation A citation consists of the authorVs* surname(s) and year of publication of the document, referred to in parentheses. If quoting directly or referring to a specific piece of information within a document, the page number should also be given — after the year of publication and within the parentheses. All citations given in the essay, thesis, article, etc. are listed alphabetically by surname in a reference list at the end of the work. Full bibliographical details are added to each citation, the result being a complete reference for each work that the author has consulted and to which he/she has referred. It is important to note that the reference list consists only of those works specifically referred to in the text. We shall take a reference to include: Quotation: A set of data describing a document or part of a document, sufficiently precise and detailed to identify it and to enable it to be relocated. Citation: (British Standards Institution, 1990, p. 3). Vnl 4. Nn 10
The first step is to obtain correct bibliographical details. Do not depend on the cover of a document, unless no other information can be found. Consult the title page and the back of the title page for the details set out below. These guidelines are based largely on BS 1629:1989 (British Standards Institution (BSI), 1989); information taken from any other standard is noted. Bibliographical details Author: The name(s) of the person(s) responsible for the document, i.e. a single author, multiple authors or corporate author. The corporate author, such as the editor of a collection of works, or the publishing body where no identifiable author exists, can be used. Date: Normally the year is sufficient, but for some items, e.g. a newspaper or patent document, the month and day can be supplied. If there is no date, but one can be ascertained, it should be supplied. If an
Maureen Dwyer is a Librarian at the Royal College of Nursing, Belfast
A guide to the Harvard referencing system The Harvard system s reference list consists only of those works cited within the body of the text. Details of additional...
Anonymous works For cited documents with no originator 'anon ' should be used (BSI, 1990)
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British Standards Institution (1983) British Standard Institution, London British Standards Institution (1985) Abbreviation of
Recommendations for Citation of Unpublished Documents
4148:1985. British Standards Institution, London British Standards Institution (1989) British Standard
Recommendations for References to Published Materials
British Standards Institution, London Burnard P, Morrison P (1990) Nursing Research in
Action: Developing Baste Skills
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