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Harvard Referencing

University students are frequently called upon to write papers. In doing so, one must employ one of the referencing systems. Many are familiar with the “big three,” MLA, APA, or Chicago, but one should be prepared to use the Harvard Referencing system if required. Harvard ReferencingMuch like APA, Harvard referencing is a parenthetical system, employing the author’s name and date as the primary, in-text, reference.

The origin of the author-date referencing system dates back to the 19th century, when Harvard University professor Edward Larens Mark adapted it from the cataloguing system used Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. In an 1881 paper on the garden slug, Professor Mark used a parenthetical author-date notation. This was largely an attempt to apply uniformity to what had been a chaotic system of footnoting in scientific literature.

The Harvard referencing system is quite similar to the APA style used extensively throughout academia. The reference is place in text in parentheses, either within the sentence or immediately afterwards. One example is: “Smith (2013) states that he green eggs and ham are efficacious.” Placed at the end, the sentence might read: “Green eggs and ham are reported to be efficacious (Smith, 2013). Unlike APA, the bibliography in a Harvard referencing paper is called “Reference List” and edited works are marked as “ed[s].”

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