Does Harvard referencing use academic citations?

This is the first of two chapters about Adding Harvard Citations. To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Review the concept of referencing and referencing styles in academic contexts

– Discuss reference features and elements in relation to Harvard style citations

– Review the four types of citation (integral, non-integral, multiple-source and secondary)

Chapter 1

Referencing is an important aspect of being an academic. This process acknowledges the ideas, claims and evidence of other authors included in a text, allowing a writer to inform the reader of how their arguments are supported by verifiable sources. Even at the undergraduate bachelor’s degree level, it’s critical that students quickly learn how to reference accurately, adopting the referencing style of their course. This means knowing when to add referencing features and how to format those features correctly.

In this short two-chapter reader, we first explore the referencing features and elements which are necessary to correctly use the Harvard style, focussing specifically on the creation and use of in-text citations. We remind the reader of the many citation types on offer to academics before offering in Chapter 2 a guide to formatting and troubleshooting citations with confidence.


Which referencing features are possible?

Across the various referencing styles (such as Harvard, Chicago and MLA) there are three referencing-feature patterns which are used to acknowledge sources. In the Harvard style, it is the combination of citations and referencing lists (option 1 below) and not endnotes or footnotes which are used to refer to external source-based information:


Option 1: citations and reference lists

Option 2: endnotes and reference lists

Option 3: footnotes and references lists


What are Harvard citations?

A citation is a short in-text reference to a source being used as supporting details for a piece of research or academic assignment. In Harvard, citations follow the author-date format. This means that the two most important reference elements in a citation are the Name of authors and the Year of publication, although other elements such as Page numbers are possible:

Why are reference elements important?

Before we can move on in Chapter 2 to discussing how to build and format citations in the Harvard style of referencing, it’s important that we first learn to recognise the six reference elements which are used to build them. These six elements are composed of source details which are extracted from the sources being cited, such as the names of the authors of that source or the year it was published. Listed below, these six reference elements and their bracketed source details are all that’s needed to form accurate citations.


  1. Name of authors (Smith and Lee)
  2. Name of organisation (British Broadcasting Corporation)
  3. Year of publication (2019)
  4. Year of last update (2019)
  5. Page numbers (pp. 21-22)
  6. Web-page URL (

Are there different types of citation?

Finally, as our short reader on citation types explains in more detail, there are four types of citation that students will likely have to use when referencing in the Harvard style. Each type has a different function in academic writing, and each is included within an essay with slightly variable formatting:

  1. Integral citations
  2. Non-integral citations
  3. Multiple-source citations
  4. Secondary citations

Not all of the reference elements or citation types explored in this chapter are needed in every referencing situation, which can be confusing for students. To learn more about these concepts and about formatting accurate Harvard style citations, continue reading with Chapter 2. At this point, you may also wish to unlock, download and complete our Chapter 1 Worksheet to check your understanding.

1 of 2 Chapters Completed


Once you’ve completed both chapters in this short reader about Adding Harvard Citations, you might then wish to download our Chapter Worksheets to check your progress or print for your students. These professional PDF worksheets can be easily accessed for only a few Academic Marks.

Chapter 1 explores the topic: Does Harvard referencing use academic citations? Our Chapter 1 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

Chapter 2 explores the topic: How do I write accurate Harvard style citations? Our Chapter 2 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

To save yourself 1 Marks, click on the button below to gain unlimited access to all of our Adding Harvard Citations Chapter Worksheets. This All-in-1 Pack includes every chapter, activity and answer key related to this topic in one handy and professional PDF.

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Autumn 2022