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APA vs Harvard Referencing: What 99% of UK Students Fail to Understand?

22 Jan, 2020 431

Your research paper must use APA/Harvard referencing style with proper in-text citations.” As a UK college student, you must be familiar with this guideline irrespective of the course you have opted. Citing the sources in the prescribed style is necessary to transform the dream of getting an A+ into reality. However, APA vs Harvard referencing confuses most of the university students, and arises several questions into their mind like, “How to do referencing in APA?” “How to cite sources using Harvard referencing style?” and so on.

If you are also facing a problem in differentiating between the two citation styles, then this blog is your match made in heaven. Hello, readers! Welcome to this write-up. The piece of information sheds light on each of the styles separately along with the comparison. But before moving further, let us know the importance of citing sources in your academic paper. Grab yourself a cup of coffee before you scroll further!

What Is the Importance of Referencing Sources in Academics?

Students usually refer to multiple sources of information for gathering relevant and authentic data. There are instances when they are required to include someone else’s piece of work/ideas/quotes for strengthening the argument effectively. Thus, it is essential to acknowledge the work either within the text (in-text citation) or at the end of the document (reference list). Before dwelling into the topic- APA vs Harvard referencing, let us have a glimpse of some other advantages of citing sources:

  • Save students from accidental plagiarism
  • Assists readers in finding original information
  • Gives the document a touch of ‘originality’
  • Glorifies research skills of students

Reading so far, you must have got the answer to the question, “What is the importance of referencing?” Now, comes the time to provide the answer to your second question, “What is the difference between APA and Harvard referencing?” Scroll further for a detailed answer.

How to Reference Sources Using APA Citation Style?

APA is an acronym for the American Psychological Association which is widely used for referencing the sources in subjects like, psychology, behavioural science, social science, etc. Among the 7 types of referencing styles, it is one of the most popular. It follows the parenthetical system & below is the APA citation format corresponding to in-text and referencing list.

APA Format In-Text Citation

In the case of in-text citations, the APA format uses the last name of the author along with the year of publication. The APA format example, in this case, would be- (Jones, 2004). Moreover, if you are using direct quotations, then the format will also include the page number as well. For instance, the APA citation example, in this case, will look like- (Jones, 2004, p. 25). However, for the reference sources having no page numbers (websites, e-books, etc.), using the paragraph number in the APA format template will solve the problem like- (Jones, 2004, para. 5).

APA Format In-Text Citation

Now, let us flash light on how to cite the 'references' using APA style.

APA Format Reference Page

The last name of the author should be listed alphabetically. Each of the entry mentioned should hold the following information sequentially:

  • Author’s surname
  • First Initial of their name
  • Date of publications (in brackets)
  • Title of the page
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher

APA Format Reference Page

An example of an entry in APA bibliography is-

Smith, A. (1995) Social Science: An insight into the world. Bridgend: Seren.
*for reference purpose only*

By now, you must have got complete information about the APA style. Before you begin referencing the sources in your document, have a look at some tips.

Tips for APA Citation Format

  • Begin citing on a new page under the title 'References' and centre align the text.
  • Use double-spacing
  • The title of books, newspapers, or magazines should appear in italics
  • Use two spaces after each sentence (as per the sixth edition)

After you are done reading the tips, the time has come to understand Harvard style before jumping on to the topic- APA vs Harvard referencing.

How to Do Harvard Referencing in Academic Papers?

Also known as parenthetical references, Harvard referencing works on ‘author-date’ method. It is an umbrella term which is used for any style which follows ‘author-date’ method. This reference style is widely used in academic paper related to scientific study. Below are Harvard referencing style examples for in-text and reference list separately. The information available will help you to cite the sources without using Harvard APA referencing generator.

Harvard Citations In-Text

In case, you are incorporating information/idea from a source, then make sure to include the author’s last name along with the date of publication. Both of the elements must be present in bracket within the text. For instance, (William 2009). There are instances when a student is required to mention the name of the writer. In such a scenario, he should place the date in the bracket like William (2009). As per the experts of assignment help service providers, when a piece of information is directly quoted from a source, then the data should be present in quotation marks. Also, the page number should also be mentioned. For example- The World Health Organization (2009, p.5) states that ‘..................’

Harvard Citations In-Text

After learning the process of doing in-text citations using Harvard referencing style, let us overview how to reference list using this style.

Harvard Referencing Bibliography

Similar to APA referencing style, all the entries must be listed alphabetically (A-Z). Each entry of the Harvard referencing style should contain the following parts:

  • Author
  • Year
  • Title
  • Editing
  • Publisher
  • Place of publication

A typical Harvard format example looks like:

Peter, H 2011, The built environment, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool.

Liverpool University

Liverpool University

If you are reading this line, then you must have got all the information related to Harvard referencing. Here are few tips that will prove beneficial for you.

Tips for Harvard Citation Format

  • Note the edited work by “ed” or “edited by” followed by the name of the editor and title
  • The year of publication is not mentioned in parenthesis
  • In the case of in-text citation, the page number is separated by a colon. For example- (William, 2011:85)
  • Use double-spacing

Hope you are clear with both types of referencing styles. For a better understanding, let us compare APA vs Harvard referencing style.

APA vs Harvard Referencing: What’s Your Professor Want You to Know!

APA referencing style is derived from the Harvard citation style, and therefore, there are many similarities between the two. Due to this, many UK students get confused and end up creating a blunder in the academic paper. To rest the worry of such students, all the differences between APA and Harvard referencing have been listed below.

1. Reference/Reference List: In Harvard style, all the sources are cited under the section ‘Reference list.’ Whereas, in the case of APA style, the list of references is known as ‘References.’

2. Page Number Citation: Another important point in APA vs Harvard referencing is the style in which page number is cited. Below is the style followed in the two:

  • APA style: (year: page number)
  • Harvard style: (year, p.page number)

3. Edit Citation: The edited work in APA style is written as “(Ed[s])” along with the author's name, which is mentioned after the title of the work. However, the edited work in Harvard citation style is done by writing “ed[s]” or “edited by” after the editor name followed by the title of the work.

4. Website Reference: In the case of Harvard style, the website reference follows the pattern:

Last name, First name initial. (Year published). Page title. [online] Website name. Available at: Website link [Accessed Day Month. Year].

Whereas, the APA style follows the pattern:

Last name, First initial. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Retrieved from URL.

5. Popular Areas: The Harvard citation is widely used in the universities of UK and Australia. Moreover, the USA universities primarily use APA citation.

This brings us to the end of the blog on APA vs Harvard referencing. After reading the piece of information, you can easily cite the sources in any of the two citation styles. Moreover, you will be glad to know that the Assignment Desk offers the services of APA citation generator and Harvard citation generator. In case you need help, quickly reach out to the team of professionals.


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