Referencing: The Harvard System

Topics: Citation, Quotation mark, Parenthetical referencing Pages: 17 (3769 words) Published: April 13, 2012
Referencing - The Harvard System
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.  Within the Business School you are required to use the Harvard referencing system. This guide therefore describes the Harvard referencing style, which uses an ‘alphabetical-by-author’ approach. j

What is referencing?

It is a method used to demonstrate to your readers that you have conducted a thorough and appropriate literature search, and carried out appropriate reading. Equally, referencing is an acknowledgement that you have used the ideas and written material belonging to other authors in your own work. There are many styles that can be used to reference.

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 Business School is reviewed.  For further information, please consult the General Academic Regulations (GAR’s).  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. What should you reference?

The following are examples of sources you might access and need to reference: ■ Print and electronic books;
■ Print and electronic journal articles;
■ Web pages;
■ Emails;
■ DVDs, videos, films, CD-ROMs & audio tape recordings; ■ Newspapers;
■ Conference papers;
■ Papers or data published in a repository;
■ Pamphlets;
■ Radio/TV/internet broadcasts (you must check that your lecturer is happy for you to use this type of material in your assignment); ■ Personal communication;
■ Interviews (if this is a personal interview, you must always ask permission of the interviewee before using such material); and, ■ Theses and other unpublished work.

With all referencing styles, there are two parts to referencing: referencing within your assignment/ management report, and the reference list.

Writing the assessment: What do I need to reference?

When you are writing your assessment, be sure to type in reference information as you add in the ideas of other authors.  This will save you time and will ensure that you reference all sources properly.  Whenever you use someone else’s ideas or words, you must put in a reference.  The only exception to this rule is when the information you have read somewhere is common knowledge or ‘public domain’ information.  For example, you would not need to include a reference if you stated in an assignment that Shakespeare wrote plays and sonnets in Elizabethan times.   

When, in your work, you use an idea from a book, journal article, etc., you must...

Bibliography: Simons, N. E., Menzies, B. & Matthews, M. (2001) A Short Course in Soil and Rock Slope Engineering. London, Thomas Telford Publishing.
Simons, N. E., Menzies, B. & Matthews, M. (2001) A Short Course in Soil and Rock Slope Engineering. [e-book] London, Thomas Telford Publishing. Available from: [Accessed 18th June 2008].
Chhibber, P. K. & Majumdar, S. K. (1999) Foreign ownership and profitability: Property rights, control, and the performance of firms in Indian industry. Journal of Law & Economics, 42 (1), 209-238.
Arrami, M. & Garner, H. (2008) A tale of two citations. Nature. [Online] 451 (7177), 397-399. Available from: [Accessed 20th January 2008].
Macalister, T. (Wednesday 2 July 2008) Green energy is the modern gold rush. The Guardian. p. 27.
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