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Citing sources in the text

Under the Harvard System, sources are cited in short notes in brackets in the text, and a corresponding full reference is included in a list of references at the end of the work.

Every time the ideas, facts or opinions of another are used in a piece of work this must be acknowledged with a full reference. Whether a source is quoted directly, indirectly, paraphrased or summarised, it must be acknowledged. To do otherwise is plagiarism.

Notes in the text should include:

  • The name of the author - surname only e.g. 'Brown'
  • The date of the source - full year e.g. '1987'.
  • The specific page reference if necessary - e.g. 'p.23' or 'pp.56-78'.

If the name of the author is not known, use 'Anon' in its place. When making reference to a chapter or article that appears in a book made up of contributions from many authors, cite the name of the author of the actual article; details of the editor of the volume will appear in the list of references.

If, in the course of your work, you cite two authors with the same surname, you will need to check that the dates of their books or articles are different. If you have two Browns, each of whom wrote their piece in 1984, you will need to add their initials (e.g. F. Brown 1984, Z. Brown 1984) to distinguish them.

If the date is uncertain try to give an approximate date that is as accurate as possible. This should appear in square brackets preceded by 'ca.' e.g. [ca.1990]. If you are citing several works written in the same year, you will need to distinguish between them by writing Brown 1984a, Brown 1984b etc.

There should be no comma between the name of the author and the date, but the date and page reference should be separated with commas. Page references should be as specific as possible. Do not use vague abbreviations like 'f' or 'ff'. Note that there is no space between 'p.' and the page number.

The particular content of the parenthetical note will depend on the nature of the sentence in which the reference appears. In some instances all three pieces of information will be included, at others only the date and the page reference, or even the page reference alone.


In this example, the first sentence has a full citation, as the author's name does not appear in the text, unlike the second citation, which contains only the date and page reference.

It has long been argued (Butcher 1990, pp.78-90) that pork and leek sausages are better than pork and apple. However, Neville (2005, pp.56-98) has recently produced evidence to the contrary.

The relative merits of different varieties of sausage is a topic that has been fiercely debated in recent years (Butcher 1990, pp.78-90; Neville 2005, pp.56-98).