In-text Citations in Harvard Referencing Style

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When you incorporate quotes or ideas of other authors in your work, you must provide an in-text citation in order to credit those authors properly. For in-text citations, Harvard referencing style uses author-date format. In other words, Harvard style uses parenthetical and narrative citations that show the name of the author and the publication year of the source. 

Harvard style does not use footnotes or endnotes. 

For details about the in-text citation format for different types of sources, see these Harvard referencing examples.

In-text citations and references

Every Harvard style in-text citation has a corresponding reference in a reference list. 

In-text citations only refer to the author surname, publication year, and sometimes the page numbers.  Less information is included here so as not to interrupt the flow of the reader. This guide on formatting page numbers in Harvard style provides more details on how to include page numbers in your citations.

References include additional information about a source, such as its title, publisher name, location, etc. More information is given here, so the reader can track down the source, should they want to read more details. All references are consolidated into a single reference list that is placed at the end of the work.

Narrative and parenthetical citations

As mentioned above, there are two types of in-text citation: narrative and parenthetical. Both have the following source details:

  • Author surname
  • Publication year
  • Page numbers; only needed if you are using a direct quotation AND there are page numbers available

A parenthetical citation includes all of the information within round brackets in the sentence that contains the borrowed information.

(Author Surname, Publication Year) 


(Author, Year, p. nn) 


(Author, Year, pp. nn-nn)

A narrative citation includes the author’s name in the text of the sentence and the other information within round brackets.

Author Surname (Publication Year) 


(Year, p. nn)  


(Year, pp. nn-nn)

Let’s look at several examples of these citations below.

One author/company 

When you are providing a Harvard style in-text citation for a work that has only one author or one company accredited to its name, the following format is used:

Basic citation structures: 

(Author Surname or Company Name, Publication Year, p. nn)


Author Surname or Company Name (Publication Year, p. nn)

Only include a page number if you are using a direct quotation and if page numbers exist in the source.


“Miss Maudie had known Uncle Jack Finch, Atticus’s brother, since they were children.” (Lee, 1960, p. 48)

In the online report, Smith postulated that the cause was due to vasodilation (2019).

When including a direct or paraphrased quote that spans multiple pages, use ‘pp.’ instead of ‘p.’ to denote a range of pages.


The author talks about ‘the events of a summer in the countryside while the British army prepared for the Second World War’ (Henderson, 1955, pp. 11-21).

Two authors

Sometimes the work that you are referring to has two or three authors. In such cases, the following format is used for in-text citation in Harvard style:

Citation structure (two authors): 

(Author 1 Surname and Author 2 Surname, Publication Year, p. nn)


Author 1 and Author 2 (Year, p. nn)


The stock market predictions were right, based on their educated theories (Holland and Smithson, 2011).

Holland and Smithson (2011) stated in their work that…

“The president’s predictions were right on target” (Holland and Smithson, 2011, p. 55).

Three authors

Citation structure (three authors):

(Author 1 Surname, Author 2 Surname and Author 3 Surname, Publication Year, p. nn)


Author 1, Author 2 and Author 3 (Year, p. nn)


A closer examination of the study demonstrated that researcher biases had influenced the data (Bolton, Lopez and Dawson, 2018).

Bolton, Lopez and Dawson stated that “the data was biased towards local businesses” (2018, p. 11).

More than four authors

When the work that you are citing has more than four authors, you only show the first author listed, then use the Latin term ‘et al.’ in italics. This helps you succinctly show that the source has four or more authors.

Citation structure (four or more authors):

(Author 1 Surname et al., Publication Year, p. nn)


Author 1 et al. (Year, p. nn)


Watson et al. found that “nothing more could be gained from continued experimentation” (1999, p. 271).

Research began because of urgings by the local ethics board (Watson et al., 1999).

No author or editor

When the work that you are citing does not have a known author or editor, first consider that the name of the publishing company could be used in place of the author. This is often the case with reports or white papers put out by associations and organizations.


The online report showed that lychee demand increased internationally by 50 percent (Lychee Growers Association, 2002).

According to the Lychee Growers Association, international demand for lychee grew by 50 percent (2002).

If it does not make sense to use a company name, use the title of the source instead of the author’s name.


“Music is a universal language” (Music Theory for Dummies, 2012, p. 13).

No date

If you cannot find the date of publication of the document or paper that you are citing, then [n.d.] should be used in place of the date.


“Nothing they said would convince them otherwise” (Cristosomo, [n.d.], p. 32).


Footnotes are used to reference quotes or paraphrases of a text used in another work. The Harvard style referencing does not use footnotes. The citation of the sources is provided in the text instead of in footnotes.

The Harvard author-date style is often used by both writers and readers of academic texts, as it does not interrupt the flow of reading. It saves time and keeps the attention focused on the text, whereas, in the styles that incorporate footnotes, the attention of the reader is constantly diverted to the footnotes. 

Published October 29, 2020.

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