• 2-minute read
  • 13th March 2016

Harvard Referencing – Citing a Book

In this post, we go over the basics for citing a book using Harvard referencing.

How to Cite a Book in Harvard Referencing

The basic format for citing any source using Harvard is to provide the author surname and year of publication in parentheses:

Waxwings are very sociable and usually seen in flocks (Couzens, 2010).

If the author is already named in the text, you need only provide the year of publication:

According to Couzens (2010), robins breed between early spring and mid-summer.

This applies for all books with up to three authors.

When a source has four or more authors, you only need to provide the first listed name and ‘et al.’ For instance, a book by ‘Smith, Rhodes, Ramsey and Blanc’ would only name ‘Smith’ in the citation:

Too many cooks spoil the broth (Smith et al., 1998).

Quoting Sources

When quoting a source, make sure to provide relevant page numbers for the passage:

Couzens (2010, p. 62) claims that robins are ‘not fussy’ about their habitat.

If the author is not named in the text, the citation should come after the quoted passage:

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The vocalisation of the Eurasian jay is ‘a noisy, discordant screech’ (Couzens, 2010, p. 128).

Books in a Harvard Reference List

Every book you cite should appear in a reference list at the end of your document, with sources ordered alphabetically by author surname.

Your reference list is where you provide full bibliographic detail so your reader can identify cited sources. For a print book, the information required is:

Surname, Initial(s). (Year) Title, Place of publication, Publisher.

For example, the Couzens text quoted above would appear as:

Couzens, D. (2010) Garden Bird Confidential, London: Octopus Books.

When a source has multiple authors, give all names in the reference list. If the book you’re citing is not the first edition, this should also be indicated:

Smith, D., Rhodes, G., Ramsey, G. and Blanc, R. (1998) Too Many Cooks, 2nd ed, Victoria, PMD Publications.

A Note of Caution

Many institutions have their own version of Harvard referencing, so you should check your style guide for the preferred format. And if you’d like to have an expert check your writing for errors, our academic proofreaders can help.

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