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Harvard Referencing (AGSM)

Guide to the Harvard Referencing Style, as used by Australian Government bodies

Everything must match!

Remember, you have to cite every piece of information that came from another source, whether or not it is in your own words. Coins showing Heads and Tails

With the exception of personal communication, everything cited in the text must appear in the reference list, and everything in your reference list must be something you have referred to in text. Make sure you don't have anything in one place that isn't in the other.  


Types of citations

There are two basic ways to cite someone's work in text.

In narrative citations, the authors are part of the sentence - you are referring to them by name. For example:

Becker (2013) defined gamification as giving the mechanics of principles of a game to other activities.

Cho and Castañeda (2019) noted that game-like activities are frequently used in language classes that adopt mobile and computer technologies.

In parenthetical citations, the authors are not mentioned in the sentence, just the content of their work. Place the citation at the end of the sentence or clause where you have used their information. The author's names are placed in the brackets (parentheses) with the rest of the citation details:

Gamification involves giving the mechanics or principles of a game to another activity (Becker 2013).

Increasingly, game-like activities are frequently used in language classes that adopt mobile and computer technologies (Cho and Castañeda 2019).

In-text citations

Using references in text

  • For Harvard referencing, use the authors' surnames only and the year in text (not full date format).
  • Always use the word 'and' between names outside and inside the parentheses for two authors.  Do not use the ampersand '&' symbol.
  • If you are using a direct quote, you will also need to use a page number when the work has page numbers.  Use a colon between the date and page numbers.

Narrative citations:

If an in-text citation has the authors' names as part of the sentence (that is, outside of brackets) place the year (and  page numbers if required) in brackets immediately after the name.

Parenthetical citations:

If an in-text citation has the authors' names in brackets use 'and' between the authors' names, do not use the ampersand symbol &: 
(Jones and Smith 2020:29).

1 author

Smith (2020:29-30) found that "the mice disappeared within minutes".

The author stated "the mice disappeared within minutes" (Smith 2020:29).

2 authors

Jones and Smith (2020:29-30) found that "the mice disappeared within minutes".

The authors stated "the mice disappeared within minutes" (Jones and Smith 2020:29).

For 3 or more authors, use the first author and "et al." for all in-text citations

Green et al.'s (2019) findings indicated that the intervention was not based on evidence from clinical trials.

It appears the intervention was not based on evidence from clinical trials (Green et al. 2019).

Organisations as authors

Use short forms and abbreviations for long organisation names at the in-text citations part.

Only use a shortened form of an agency's name if it is regularly referred to by the short name.  For example the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals regularly uses RSCPA, so use the shortform after the first mention and in the reference list.

E.G. There are certain cosmetic products that test their products on animals overseas and indeed end up on shelves in Australia (RSPCA n.d.).

Quoting, summarising and paraphrasing

Quoting is when you have used the exact words from your source. You should always put the words that come exactly (word for word) in 'quotation marks', and an in-text citation in the correct format for your referencing style.

It is always a good idea to keep direct quotes to a minimum. Quoting doesn't showcase your writing ability - all it shows is that you can read (plus, lecturers hate reading assignments with a lot of quotes).

You should only use direct quotes if the exact wording is important, otherwise it is better to paraphrase.

If you feel a direct quote is appropriate, try to keep only the most important part of the quote and avoid letting it take up the entire sentence - always start or end the sentence with your own words to tie the quote back into your assignment.

Long quotes are called block quotes and are rarely used in most subject areas (they mostly belong in Literature, History or similar subjects). Each referencing style has rules for setting out a block quote. 

Harvard referencing requires block quotes to be introduced by using a colon. 

For example, O'Brien (2004) stated:

Wild cats dominate their habitat but require vast expanses to survive, which explains the tragic depredation such that every species of Felidae, except the domestic cat, is considered either endangered or threatened in the wild today by CITES, IUCN Red Book and other monitors of the world's most endangered species.


Summarising is when you take a large amount of text (for example, several paragraphs or a whole document) and "boil it down" to the most important facts or the essence of the argument. You then give this "in a nutshell" version in your own words.

It is a type of paraphrasing, and you will be using this frequently in your assignments, but note that summarising another person's work or argument isn't showing how you make connections or understand implications. This is preferred to quoting, but where possible try to go beyond simply summarising another person's information without "adding value".

And, remember, the words must be your own words. If you use the exact wording from the original at any time, those words must be treated as a direct quote.

All information must be cited, even if it is in your own words.

Paraphrasing is when you take the core idea from the original text, and rewrite it completely in your own words (and "voice").

Paraphrasing often involves commenting about the information at the same time, and this is where you can really show your understanding of the topic. You should try to do this within every paragraph in the body of your assignment.

When paraphrasing, it is important to remember that using a thesaurus to change every other word isn't really paraphrasing. It's patchwriting, and it's a kind of plagiarism (as you are not creating original work).

Use your own voice! You sound like you when you write - you have a distinctive style that is all your own, and when your "tone" suddenly changes for a section of your assignment, it looks highly suspicious. Your lecturer starts to wonder if you really wrote that part yourself. Make sure you have genuinely thought about how *you* would write this information, and that the paraphrasing really is in your own words.

Always cite your sources! Even if you have drawn from three different papers to write this one sentence, which is completely in your own words, you still have to cite your sources for that sentence (see Multiple words in one citation below for format).

Slightly tricky in-text citations

Multiple works in one citation

Use a semicolon between citations if you are citing multiple work in the same in-text citation.  Enclose them within the same set of parentheses.


Multiple researchers reported similar results (Smith 2011; Freidman 2010; Jones and Lockyer 2012).


When you have multiple works by the same author in the same year:

In your reference list, you will have arranged the works alphabetically by title. This decides which reference is "a", "b", "c", and so on. You cite them in text accordingly:


Asthma is the most common disease affecting the Queensland population (Queensland Health 2017b). However, many people do not know how to manage their asthma symptoms (Queensland Health 2017a).

Further examples can be found at 'Two authors have the same name'. 


I have multiple works for one citation

You need to cite all the sources you have used in a sentence.

If you wish to put two or more in-text citations in the same brackets, they go in the same order that they appear in the reference list (i.e. alphabetically and then, if the names are the same, by year).

Separate the in-text citations by different authors with a semicolon ; and a space. Two works by the same author are separated by a comma.

(Drongo 2014; Frogmouth et al. 2000).

(Drongo 2014; Frogmouth et al. 2000; Sunbird and Jay 2010, 2012).

If you have multiple works by the same author, use a comma to "stack" the years within the same citation:

(Longley 2008a, 2008b; Smith 2014, 2016).

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