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Academics Hub: Is APA The Same as Harvard Referencing? Harvard Referencing Style Guide

Is APA The Same as Harvard Referencing? Harvard Referencing Style Guide

Do you also look for the answer to the question: Is APA the same as Harvard referencing? Academic scholars and students should be well aware of the significance of referencing. Academic work is backed up by extensive readings of previous writers in a particular field of study. The work of earlier researchers should be referenced in the study for greater credibility and to highlight gaps in the body of literature. Two of the most often used referencing styles are APA and Harvard. There are variations among each referencing system. The fundamental distinction between Harvard and APA referencing is that Harvard referencing is primarily used for academic writing in the sciences, and APA referencing is primarily used to cite academic work relating to education, social science, and behavioural science. Let’s get deeper into the APA and Harvard referencing styles.

The Need for Referencing In Academic Study!

The citations and references are the most crucial parts of academic and research writing. These references are gathered from Google Scholar, and the information and facts are presented using a specific referencing style. In-text citations must be used correctly in the research work. When you get to the university level, the lecturers start requiring references for the work. The purpose of doing this is to make the assignment appear finished and demonstrate the validity and reliability of the referenced sources. Many students ask this question why referencing is used in academic writing. You may be wondering why referencing style is crucial for a research paper. Well! The references are used to acknowledge and appreciate the knowledge you utilised in your assignment.

Additionally, the teachers have access to real resources for checking your assignment. References offer readers the impression that the researcher put a lot of effort into the study and that their contributions were valued. Giving in-text citations and references at the end of your research work will further support your arguments, assertions, and facts. When references are provided, there is less likely that the content will be copied or that the paper will be plagiarized. Indeed! Citing an academic document requires devotion and time. Not all students know the art of proper referencing and citation; you can seek help from the best academic writing services to get your work done by professional researchers.

Harvard Referencing & APA – The Two Mostly Used Referencing Styles

You surely have heard about the referencing styles; the two most common ones are APA and Harvard Referencing, which students must use in academic writing and research paper writing. But a question arises: why does your professor ask for Harvard referencing and sometimes go for APA referencing. Well! To answer this question, we have shed light on both referencing styles. You will undoubtedly learn the differences between the two referencing styles if you look at them separately.

Harvard Referencing VS APA

What Is APA Referencing?

The American Psychological Association first adopted the APA reference in 1929. Social and behavioural science, education, and other fields primarily employ this method. The references must be included both in the text’s main body—in the subject matter—and a separate, alphabetised list at the end. The APA reference manual offers comprehensive instructions on properly crediting various sources, including journals, books, conference proceedings, and websites.

What Is Harvard Referencing?

The origin of the Harvard reference system is unclear; according to some reports, it was created by zoologist Edward Lawrence Mark. Although it originated elsewhere, the style became extensively adopted by Harvard University, which is how it earned its name. Harvard referencing demands a reference list and in-text citations, just like APA. In scientific writing, the Harvard referencing style is frequently employed to cite sources. Each referencing system is unique in some way from the others.

Harvard Referencing VS APA- What’s the Difference?

Want to know the difference between Harvard referencing and APA? Let’s look at the following points to know how both referencing styles are different.

Harvard Referencing VS APA

Academic work relating to education, social science, and behavioural science is typically cited using the APA referencing style. On the other hand, academic and scientific writing typically uses the Harvard referencing style.

List of References

The list of references at the end of the text is written as “References” in APA referencing. In contrast, the list of references at the end of the text is written as the “Reference List” in Harvard referencing.

Number of Authors

When there are more than two writers, the textual notation “et al” denotes the additional authors in APA referencing. In contrast, if there are more than two authors, “et al” is used throughout the text according to Harvard referencing style.

Referencing Style

Author-date referencing is used throughout the written work per the APA style, and complete referencing information is presented in a reference list at the end of the work. On the other hand, the Harvard style gives a Bibliography at the end of your written work and notes the author’s last name and the year of publication within your written work.

Harvard Referencing Style Guide

This blog is aimed to provide you with the guidelines on the Harvard Referencing style. Basically, this referencing style originated from Harvard University. It is crucial to review and adhere to your department’s specific standards because many institutions have modified them, and there is no set handbook or formatting guidelines. This blog has mentioned the guidelines necessary to cite an academic paper in Harvard referencing style. This referencing style is used in academic writing in the text and a reference list at the end. Generally speaking, every author whose name occurs in the text must also be listed in the references. Every work listed in the references must also be mentioned in the main text. Even the full stops and commas in the reference are significant.

Harvard-style in-text citations call for the author’s family name and the publication year. Give a page number whenever you quote or paraphrase. Always remember that when you cite, you need to provide your reader with enough details so that they may locate the source on their own. The spelling, grammar, and information from the original source should be used in your writing. You should order your references in your bibliography by the author (including institutional authors).

The resource itself should be used to gather the data. The title page or an equivalent, such as the title screen, home page, disc label, or map face, is the chosen source of information for the reference. Square brackets should be used to contain any information that is provided by the citer but does not present in the cited information resource. To avoid discrepancies in journal articles or conference papers, you must adhere to the publisher’s style guidelines when writing for publication. You must adhere to a standard punctuation and font scheme throughout the reference list. A reference should have unambiguous punctuation or typeface changes separating each part from the ones after it.

Basic Guidelines of Harvard Referencing

Reference List

An exhaustive list of all the sources used to produce a piece of work is called a reference list. The author, publication date, source title, and other pertinent details are included in this list.

  • A reference list for Harvard must be on a separate sheet.
  • Unless no author is listed, sources should be arranged alphabetically by title, eliminating articles like a, an, and the.
  • If there are several works by the same author, they are arranged chronologically by date; if they were published in the same year, they are arranged alphabetically by title and given a letter (a, b, c, etc.) after the publication date.
  • A reference list must be double spaced, with a full line of blank space separating each paragraph from the next.
  • It should contain complete references for all utilised in-text citations.


Following the usage of a quote or paraphrase from another work, in-text references must be given. In-text citations are references to quotes or paraphrases written within the text’s main body. Compared to full references, they are substantially shorter. The reference list contains a complete list of all in-text citations. In-text citations in Harvard referencing style include the surname of the author or editor, the year of publication, and the page number.

Harvard Referencing Format

A paper that employs Harvard referencing often follows the format:

  • Suggested fonts: Times New Roman or Arial 12-point, double-spaced
  • The title must be in the page’s centre, just above the text.
  • Text that is left-aligned and has a 0.5-inch indentation at the beginning of each paragraph
  • The header’s top-right corner displays the last name, then the page number.
  • The title page is centred.
  • Subheadings are capitalised and oriented to the left.


This blog is aimed to provide information about how Harvard referencing style is different from APA referencing style. Indeed! Citing an article or providing a reference is required for scholarly research work and academic writing. The Difference between Harvard and APA referring is that the APA referencing style is used primarily to cite academic work related to social science and behavioural sciences. In contrast, Harvard referencing style is used for academic writing in the sciences field. If you want to know how to cite an academic paper in Harvard style, go through the guidelines mentioned above in this blog about Harvard referencing.

About Kevin Fester

Kevin Fester holds a PhD in English Literature, MBA in business and also MA Education. He has dedicated his life to academia and has written many articles for the Economist and various broadsheets. He has been working in writing industry since 2013 and has a proven track record of writing for a variety of industries. Kevin is known for his plagiarism-free, unique and exclusive papers within a set deadline.

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