Author-date (Harvard)


The Author-date (Harvard) system is comprised of 2 elements: in-text citation and a bibliography at the end of the document. In the text of an assignment ideas taken from other people are indicated by placing the author's surname and the date of publication in brackets, for example (Joyner, 2013).
The bibliography at the end of the document then lists the references in alphabetical order by author's surname.

The following guidance is based on rules set out in Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2013) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 10th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

The information on this page is available to download.PDF icon

There is also a 15-minute audio-visual guide to the style.

Citations Within the Text

In- text citations with an author
The author's surname and the year of publication can be given in one of the forms shown below:

If the author's name occurs naturally in the sentence the year is given in brackets, for example:
In a recent study Chakraborti (2010) argued that.....

If, however, the name does not occur naturally in the sentence, both name and year are given in brackets, for example:
A recent study (Chakraborti, 2010) shows that...

When an author has published more than one cited document in the same year, these are distinguished by adding lower case letters (a,b,c etc) to the year for example:
Gunter (2010a) discussed the subject...

If there are two or three authors, the surnames of all authors should be given, for example:
Bartram and Monforte (2014) have proposed that...

If there are more than three authors use et al. in the text and the bibliography, for example:
Beck et al. (2008) conclude that...

Citations in the text without an author
If the item being cited does not have an author then it would be cited by title and date as shown below:
In the film Citizen Kane (1941) the main character...
The character of the Doctor (Remembrance of the Daleks, 1988) in this episode...

Page numbers
If possible you should give page number in the in-text citation, for example:
Cooke (2016, p.43) argues that…


When quoting directly from another source you should always indicate the page number/s as well as the author and date, for example (Bell, 2010, p.250).

Short quotations: (less than 20 words) are usually part of the text and are enclosed by quotation marks, for example:

Bell (2010, p.250) warns that “You are plagiarizing if you copy someone else’s words and claim them as your own.”

For Long quotations: (more than 20-25 words), it is suggested that you should leave a line's space above and below the quote and indent it from the left; quotation marks are not necessary.

You are plagiarizing if you copy someone else’s words and claim them as your own and you cannot use other people’s data nor their ideas unless you provide adequate acknowledgement. (Bell, 2010, p.250)

Electronic books, in-text citations and page numbers
If an eBook looks like the print version and you have page numbers, reference following the rules for a printed book. Where page numbers are not available, for example on an eReader, give any indication you can about the place in the book your quote/reference comes from - for example the loc, or % or chapter. So you could say (Taylor, 2014, 58%) or (Whittaker, 2012, ch.4).


The bibliography at the end of a document should be listed in alphabetical order according to author's surname.  If you have cited more than one item by the same author they should be listed chronologically (earliest first), and by letter (1996a 1996b) if more than one item has been published in the same year.
There is no need to divide the bibliography into types of resources; books, articles, web sites etc. are intermingled in the same list.
Titles of books, journals, newspapers, encyclopaedias etc. should be italicised and all journal titles should be written in full. For example:

Joyner, R.L. (2013) Writing the winning thesis or dissertation: a step-by-step guide. 3rd edn. London: Sage.
King, G. and Sen, M. (2013) ‘How social science research can improve teaching’, PS: Political science and Politics, 46(3), pp. 621-629.
Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2013) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 9th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
University of Leicester Student Development Service (no date) Avoiding Plagiarism. Available at: (Accessed: 14 January 2016)
Williams, R. B. (2011) 'Citation systems in the Biosciences', Journal of Documentation, 67(6), pp.995 - 1014.

Below we set out the rules for citing different kinds of resources in a bibliography.  The citation rules are taken from Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2013) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 9th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

Books and Monographs

With personal author(s):
Gill, S. (2012) Global crises and the crisis of global leadership. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

With editor as author:
Berne, R.M. and Levy, M.N. (eds.) (2000) Principles of physiology. 3rd edn. London: Mosby.

A chapter in a book:
Clements, B. (2010) ‘Realignment in the Centre: The Liberal Democrats’, in Allen, N. J. and Bartle, J. (eds.) Britain at the Polls 2010. London: Sage, pp. 63-88.

Electronic books
Where an eBook looks like the print version and you have all the information for a reference including publication details and page numbers, follow the rules for a print book.
If you have downloaded a book to an eReader, include the web address of your source and the date you downloaded it. For example:
Atwood, M. (1985) The Handmaid’s Tale. Available at: (Downloaded: 17 July 2014).

Journal articles

An article with an author:
Goodwin, J. (2009) ‘Whatever happened to the young workers? Change and transformation in 40 years of work’, Journal of Education and Work, 22(5), pp. 417-431.

An article with no author:
Where an article (or indeed any document) is published by an organisation and no author is named, the organisation becomes the author. This is called a corporate author:

The Royal Marsden Hospital Bone-Marrow transplantation Team (1977) ‘Failure of syngeneic bone-marrow graft without preconditioning in post-hepatitis marrow aplasia’, Lancet, 2(8041), pp.742-744.

An article with no author and no corporate author
‘Coffee drinking and cancer of the pancreas’ (Editorial) (1981) British Medical Journal, 283(6292), p. 628.

Electronic articles
Where an electronic article looks like the print version and you have all the information for a reference including page numbers, follow the rules for a print article. 
Where the electronic article is in HTML and there are no page numbers, replace the page numbers with the web address of the article and the date you accessed it.  For example:

Springborn, M. (2015) 'Accounting for behavioral responses during a flu epidemic using home television viewing', BMC Infectious Diseases, 15(21).  Available at: (Accessed: 23 January 2015)

Newspaper articles
Aldrick, P. (2014) ‘Employment hits record high but wages fail to keep pace’, The Times, 17 July, p. 2.

When no author is given, the title of the newspaper becomes the author:

  • In-text citation: A recent article (The Independent, 2014, p1)…
  • Bibliography: The Independent (2014) ‘Google Doodle honours Emmeline Pankhurst’, 15 July, p.1.

When referencing a section of a newspaper where page numbers may be the same as in the main part of the paper, mention the section.
The Guardian: Sport pages (2014) ‘Record £750m kit deal at Old Trafford’, 15 July, p.7.

When a news item is online only, the citation looks like this:
BBC News (2017) 'Costa Book of the Year: Sebastian Barry on second win', 31 January.  Available at: (Accessed: 1 February 2017)

Web Sites

Web pages with an author:
Kimber, R. (2013) Richard Kimber’s Political Science Resources. Available at: (Accessed: 28 May 2014).

Web pages with corporate authors:
Met Office (2014) A global perspective on the recent storms and floods in the UK. Available at: (Accessed: 10 May 2014).

When no author is identified, use the title of the web page. Example:

  • In-text citation: The museum shows the vast influence China has had on the rest of the world (Cultural China, 2014)...
  • Bibliography: Cultural China (2014) Available at: (Accessed: 3 August 2014).

When no author is identified and the web site has no title, use the web address (URL).

Blog posts
Robinson, N. (2014) ‘Wanted: New president of Europe’, Newslog, 2 June. Available at: (Accessed 3 June 2014).

Audio-visual materials

Film or DVD
The rules for a citation of a film or DVD are: Title of film (year of distribution) Directed by… [Film or DVD] Place of Distribution: distribution company.

Gravity (2013) Directed by Alfonso Cuarón [Film]. Burbank: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Philomena (2014) Directed by Stephen Frears [DVD]. London: Pathé Productions Ltd.

Television programme
The rules for television programmes are:
Title of programme (Year of broadcast) name of channel, day & month of broadcast.

Richard III: The king in the car park (2013) Channel 4, 4 February.

Episode of a TV series
The rules for episodes are:
‘Title of episode’ (Year of broadcast) Title of programme/series, Number of series, number of episode. Channel, day and month of broadcast.

‘The Day Simon Decided He Was Forlorn’ (2010) Grandma’s House. Series 1, episode 4. BBC Two, 30 August.

TV programme on DVD
Also include year of distribution, director and writer, date of first broadcast, place of distribution and distribution company.

Eskimo Day (2011) Directed by Piers Haggard. Written by Jack Rosenthal. First broadcast 1996 [DVD]. London: Acorn Media.

Video on YouTube
The rules for videos on YouTube are:
Name of the person/organisation posting the video (Year the video was posted) Title of video. Available at: web address (Accessed: date).

davidwilsonlibrary (2012) Understanding your reading list. Available at: (Accessed: 29 January 2014).

The rules for podcasts are:
Presenter (Year the site the podcast sits on was published or last updated) Title [Podcast]. Day and month of posted message. Available at: web address (Accessed: date).

The rules for images are:
Artist (Year) Title of work [Medium]. Institution/Collection, City.


Artist (Year) Title of work [Medium]. Available at: URL (Accessed: day month year).

Example: Da Vinci, L. (1503-1506) La Gioconda [Oil on poplar wood panel]. The Louvre, Paris

The rules for photos are:
Photographer (Year) Title of photograph [Photograph]. Place of publication: publisher


Photographer (Year) Title of photograph. Available at: URL (Accessed: day month year)

The rules are as follows:
Title of Exhibition (Year) [Exhibition]. Venue, City. Date(s) of Exhibition.
Fearless Foxes (2016) [Exhibition]. New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester. 4 June - 11 September 2016.

To refer to a specific exhibition label or text panel, give the title of the label or panel in single speech marks, then 'in', then the full reference for the exhibition.

Personal Communications on Mobile Apps

The rules are as follows:

Sender (year of communication)  Medium of Communication to Receiver of communication  Day/month of communication.


Hanes, J. (2020) WhatsApp message to Andrew Dunn, 9 January.


Speeches should be referenced following the rules for the publication they appear in.  If a speech is published in a journal, newspaper or conference paper, follow the referencing rules for journal article, conference paper or newspaper article.  If a speech is recorded on a TV or radio programme, follow the referencing rules for audio-visual materials.  If a transcript of a speech is published on the internet, follow the referencing rules for a website.

Lectures and notes

The rules for lectures are: Author/Speaker (Year) 'Title of communication' [Medium], Module code: Module title. Institution. Day month.

Dunn, A. (2013) 'Finding information the easy way' [Lecture to BAMS Year 3], MN3101: Dissertation. University of Leicester, 1 October.

The rules for lecture notes are: Author/Tutor (Year) ‘Title of item’. Module code: module title. Available at: web address of Blackboard (Accessed: day month year).


Conference Paper:
Rules: Author of Paper (Year of publication) ‘Title of paper’, Title of conference. Location and date of conference. Place of publication: Publisher, pages.

Paris, C.M., Lee, W. and Seery, P. (2010) ‘The Role of Social Media in Promoting Special Events: Acceptance of Facebook Events’, Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism. Lugano, Switzerland, 10-12 February. Vienna: Springer, pp. 531-542.

Full conference proceedings:
Gretzel, U., Law, R. and Fuchs, M. (eds.), (2010) Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism. Lugano, Switzerland, 10-12 February. Vienna: Springer.

Thorpe, I. (2014) 12 July. Available at (Accessed 14 July 2014).


Print: Steele, H. (2012) The experience of women in Vienna 1943-1948.  Unpublished PhD thesis. Swansea University.

Electronic: Lee, M.H. (2015) Lone no more: the social ethical consumer. PhD thesis. University of Leicester.  Available at: (Accessed: 30 April 2015)

Official and Legal

The School of Law follows the OSCOLA referencing style, however other departments may cite legal materials following the Harvard referencing style.

In-text citations for legal materials
When writing about legislation, either use the short title (in italics) if it occurs naturally in the sentence, or cite the short title (in italics) in brackets at the end of the sentence e.g. (Equality Act 2010).  If you pinpointing to a section or regulation, then add the abbreviation s. or r. followed by the number e.g. Equality Act 2010, s. 5
When writing about case law, use the case name (in 'one inverted comma') and the date (in brackets) e.g. 'Seldon v Clarkson Wright & Jakes' (2012).  If pinpointing to a page or paragraph in the law report, then add the abbreviation p. or para. followed by the number e.g. 'Seldon v Clarkson Wright & Jakes' (2012, para. 21).

Bibliography: in the following examples we alternate between print and online legal and official documents.

Statute or Act:.
Equality Act 2010, c. 15. London: The Stationery Office.

Statutory Instrument:
Equality Act 2010 (Commencement No. 1) Order 2010 (SI 2010/1736). Available at: (Accessed: 6 May 2014).

Case or Law Report:
'Seldon v Clarkson Wright & Jakes' (2012) UKSC, 16.

Parliamentary papers
Parliament. House of Lords (2008) The European Union and Russia. (HL 2007-2008 (98)). Available at: (Accessed: 28 May 2017).

Equality Bill (2009). Parliament. House of Commons Bill no. 85. London: The Stationery Office.

Parliamentary Debates (Hansard):
Blair, A. (2001) 'International Terrorism and Attacks in the USA', Hansard: House of Commons debates, 14 September, 372, c.606. Available at: (Accessed: 14 July 2017).

Government (Green, White & Command) Papers:
Government Equalities Office (2008) Framework for a fairer future - the Equality Bill (Cm 7431). London: The Stationery Office.

Law Commission Reports:
Law Commission (2006) Murder, manslaughter and infanticide. (Law Com No 304, HC 30) Available at: (Accessed: 8 September 2016).

Leaflets and Pamphlets

The rules are: Author (Date if available) Title [Leaflet obtained and place], Date obtained.  Include as much information as possible.
Example: David Wilson Library (no date) readinglists@Leicester: introducing a new way to create and manage your reading lists. [Leaflet obtained in David Wilson Library], 29 April 2014.

Follow the rules for print books.

Manuscripts and Ancient Texts

The rules are: Author (Year) Title, day and month if available. Name of collection and reference number, Location of archive in which the manuscript can be found.
Where the author is not known use the following rules: Title (Year if known) Name of collection and reference number, Location of archive in which the manuscript can be found.

Ancient texts (printed)
Reference the edition you have read:
Virgil (2008) The Aeneid. Translated by R. Fagles. Introduction by B. Knox.  London: Penguin Books

Personal communications

Includes conversations, letters, emails and texts: the rules are:

Sender/speaker (Year) Medium and receiver, Day and month

Example: Nockels, K.H. (2015) Skype conversation with Sarah Whittaker, 29 April.


Secondary referencing

Secondary referencing is when you refer to a source that has been mentioned in a document you have read. You should try to access the original source and reference that but, if that is not possible, do one of the following in the in-text citation:

Hanes (2009, quoted in Donohue, 2015, p.12) promotes the idea that...

Cottam (2012, cited in Donohue, 2015) rejects the hypothesis that...

In your bibliography you would only cite Donohue as you have not read Hanes' and Cottam's works.

Share this page:

Succeed in your studies

Learn at Leicester gateway to help and resources for academic skills.

Visit Succeed in your studies - the University's gateway to all the resources and services available to support your learning and academic progress.

Ask Us

Image of a question mark used for the Library's Ask Us service.

Need help? Ask Us!


We value your suggestions and feedback, please make a comment.