Connect With Us:

Find us! Follow us!
What is Harvard referencing?

A Harvard style is a style that uses brackets (i.e. parentheses) instead of footnotes or endnotes to present its in-text citations.*  

There are many Harvard styles. Styles like APA, ASA, and Chicago: Author Date are all generally considered Harvard styles and all offer comprehensive guidebooks.

Universities also invent their own Harvard styles. Each university’s Harvard style is a little different.



 Look at these examples for the same journal article:



However, universities' online "guides" often give only a handful of examples. And unfortunately, those examples are often inconsistent and incomplete.

So what should students do?

If you haven’t started your paper, Red Pen Bristol (RPB) strongly recommends choosing a style with a comprehensive guidebook. Use your subject area or discuss options with a faculty representative to identify an appropriate style. APA (American Psychological Association) and ASA (American Sociological Association) are both popular in many fields.

Anglia Ruskin's online Harvard style guide is also an option: It’s one of the rare university styles that has comprehensive and consistent rules; in fact, Anglia Ruskin’s guide is so good that several other universities have used it when trying to invent their own styles.

DON’T try to use different universities’ online examples. DON’T just Google “Harvard style”. You’ll end up with highly inconsistent citations.

Uh oh…  That’s exactly what I did.

Alright. So you’ve already written the paper. And you definitely used several different Harvard styles from different universities. There are consistency problems with your citations.

How does RPB fix those problems?

We do have a few house rules for citations that we always follow for Harvard style. Our house rules are based on what is generally true for all Harvard styles. However, we do not have an RPB “house style” or unique Harvard style; that would force editors to make far too many unnecessary changes in clients’ citations.

RPB prioritizes consistency.

That means to fix inconsistent citations, we briefly evaluate your existing citations to see what they have in common. Then we rely on our experience to create the most efficient plan for bringing all the citations into the same format.

The result is a paper with clear, consistent citations that respect the basics of the Harvard system.


*See Chernin's article on the origins of the Harvard system.