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The Coventry University Guide to Referencing in Harvard Style: Background

Referencing in academic writing

Explicit indication of the contribution of other authors to shaping one's writing is one of the characteristics of academic writing in Britain and in many other countries.

Explicit referencing of sources distinguishes academic writing from other types of writing, including newspapers, fiction, and other types of professional writing.

All sources of information, including ideas, images, or numerical data must be documented using an established referencing system.

Our approach

There is no single Harvard system, so our guidelines may look different to other versions of Harvard you have worked with. 

The Harvard style is a referencing system commonly used in academic publishing. However, while most other established styles are supported by comprehensive writer manuals, there is no unique set of guidelines underpinning the use of the Harvard style. Instead, academic institutions rely on in-house guidelines based on different approaches to the hard-core Harvard principles. 

Hence, the Coventry University Guide to Referencing in Harvard Style.

Development of the CU Guide to Referencing in Harvard Style and supporting website

The information in these webpages is taken from our full Guide:

Deane, M. (2006) The Coventry University Guide to Referencing in Harvard Style. Guidelines and Glossary. [online] Unpublished booklet. Coventry: Coventry University. available from <> [13 July 2017]

This Guide was produced in collaboration with Ray Summers (Illustrations), edited by Catalina Neculai with the assistance of Lisa Ganobcsik-Williams and Erik Borg, and with input from the Coventry University Harvard Reference Style Working Party.

We started from the premise that the existence of different varieties of Harvard style may be confusing for academic writers, who value consistency in the guidelines and feedback they receive. To address this issue, we developed a comprehensive guide to support the research of Coventry University students and staff. We revise and update these guidelines yearly.

The aim of this website is to disseminate and provide further support for the application of these guidelines. The website is based on the work of Arina Cirstea, which was developed into the present form by Siân Alsop with assistance from Charissa Brain.

Download the Guide

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@2017 Centre for Academic Writing (CAW) and Coventry University.

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The Coventry University Guide to Referencing in the Harvard Style by The Centre for Academic Writing is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.