Referencing The Harvard System

Topics: Citation, Bibliography, Quotation mark Pages: 8 (3727 words) Published: November 24, 2014
Referencing - The Harvard System

Department of Lifelong Learning: Study Skills Series

Referencing - The Harvard System
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As a student, it is important that you identify in your assessment when you are using the words or ideas of another author.  The most accepted way of acknowledging the work of another author is to use a referencing system.  At the Department of Lifelong Learning you are required to use the Harvard referencing system.  The following guide tells you why you need to use a referencing system, shows you how to insert references in the text of your assignments, and shows you how to compile a reference list.  While there are many variations on the ‘Harvard’ system, the one presented in this guide is the most simple.  It does away with most usages of ‘p’ and ‘pp’ to signify page numbers and it replaces some of the commas with colons.  Also, this guide is by no means an exhaustive list of all the referencing conventions that you will require in your academic life. 

Why you should use a referencing system
As a part of an academic community, it is important that you show the reader where you have used someone else’s ideas or words.  Failure to properly reference using the Harvard system may make the reader think that you are cheating by claiming someone else’s work as your own.  In the academic environment, we call this plagiarism and it is seen as a very serious offence.  Please remember that plagiarism is not just when you directly copy words from another student’s or expert’s work.  Plagiarism also occurs when you re-word someone else’s ideas in your own work and you do not give credit to the original source.   

Plagiarism can have disastrous consequences for students.  If you are suspected of plagiarism you may find that your assignment receives a grade of zero.  In extreme or repeated cases, you may find that your enrolment at the university is reviewed.  For further information, please consult section 3 of the student handbook.  On a more positive note, referencing is important for reasons other than avoiding plagiarism.  When you reference correctly you are demonstrating that you have read widely on a topic.  You are also supporting your hypothesis with comments from expert authors.  This lends credibility to your own work.  Also, by correctly referencing, you allow the marker or reader to follow-up your references and to check the validity of your arguments for themselves.  This is an important part of the academic process as it leads to student accountability.

Collecting all the details: Accurate referencing
In order to have an accurate record of what you have researched and therefore an accurate reference, it is important that you write down the details of your sources as you study.  When taking notes, use a separate page for each new book, journal article, or electronic source.  At the top of each page, clearly record the following information for future reference. For books, record:

The author’s or editor’s name (or names)
The year the book was published
The title of the book
If it is an edition other than the first
The city the book was published in
The name of the publisher[9/17/2014 11:19:33 AM]

Referencing - The Harvard System

For journal articles record:
The author’s name or names
The year in which the journal was published
The title of the article
The title of the journal
The page number/s of the article in the journal
As much other information as you can find about the journal, for example the volume and issue numbers For electronic resources, try to collect the information on the left if it is available, but also record: The date you accessed the source

The electronic address or email
The type of electronic resource (email, discussion forum, WWW page, etc) In addition to these details, when you are taking notes, if you copy direct quotations or if you...

References: Napier, A. (1993b) Survival at sea, Sydney: Allen and Unwin.
Books with an anonymous or unknown author
The University Encyclopedia (1985) London: Roydon.
Department of Lifelong Learning (2001), CAE0001LWR Unit 5: Note taking skills from lectures
Government publications
Department for Education and Employment (DfEE), (2001) Skills for life: The national strategy
‘Tax-free savings push’, Sunday Mail (4 April 1999), p
Johnston, R. (2001) Access courses for women, e-mail to NIACE Lifelong Learning Mailing List
(, 22 Aug
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