Formatting page numbers in Harvard referencing style

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Harvard-style referencing is one of the systems that a student, researcher, or writer may use to cite sources in their works. 

Depending on what you are citing, you may or may not need numbered pages in your citation or reference.

In-text citations

In-text citations only require a page number under two conditions:

  1. The source has page numbers.
  2. You are citing a direct quotation.

If these two requirements are not both fulfilled, then you do not need to include page numbers in your in-text citation.

If you do need to include page numbers, the page number will go at the end of the in-text citation following a comma. To create the in-text citation, you will need this information:

  • Author surname
  • Publication year
  • Page number(s)

There are two different in-text citation formats you could use:

(Author surname, publication year, p. no.)


Author surname (publication year, p. no.)


“Proper gender roles become boundaries in the national iconography” (Mostov, 2008, p. 42).

In Soft Borders, Julie Mostov argues that “proper gender roles become boundaries in the national iconography” (2008, p. 42).

If you are citing a range of pages instead of one page, use ‘pp.’ in the citation.

“Every quality teacher is both a subject matter expert and good at teaching. These are two different skills. A teacher who connects well with his students but doesn’t know the subject matter isn’t going to be an effective teacher” (Stolar, 2020, pp. 4-5).


Even if page numbers are included in an in-text citation, it doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be included in the reference. In order for page numbers to be required for a reference, the cited source must meet the first criteria and either the second or third criteria:

  1. The source has page numbers.
  2. The cited source is complete work that is part of a larger work.
  3. The larger work involves different authors.

Common sources that require page numbers include journals. 

Example scenarios:

  • A quote from the book For Whom the Bell Tolls would require page numbers in the in-text citation, but since the book only has one author, the reference would not need page numbers.
  • An edited book has several chapters written by various authors. You use information from a single chapter. That chapter would be cited and its reference would include page numbers.
  • A single journal has several articles written by different authors. So, usually, when you cite a journal, you must include the page numbers of the particular article you’re using.
  • A book is a collection of short stories by a single author, and you use a quote from just one of the stories. You would cite that story within the larger collection and the full reference would include page numbers.

If you do have to add page numbers to the reference, here are a few tips to follow:

  1. Use ‘p. nn’ to cite a single page.
  2. Use ‘pp. nnnn’ to cite a range of pages.
  3. Print sources: place page numbers at the end of the citation for print sources.
  4. Online sources: place the page numbers before the URL or DOI.

Chapter in an edited book example:

Barondes, S. (2012) ‘ Each of us is ordinary, yet one of a kind’, in Brockman, J. (ed.) This will make you smarter. New York: Harper Perennial, p. 32.

Online journal article example:

Steinkuehler, C. (2010) ‘Video games and digital literacies’, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 54(1), pp. 61–63. Available at: (Accessed 16 October 2020).

Other cases

Most electronic sources, such as websites, videos, and audio recordings, do not have page numbers. Therefore, you do not need to list a location (page number) within your in-text citations. 

Instead of page numbers, online sources usually have a URL or DOI number, which should be included in the reference to indicate the source location.

Published October 29, 2020.

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