Harvard Reference Online Essay Checker

Why do I Need to Cite?

Harvard referencing can be a confusing task, especially if you are new to the concept, but it’s absolutely essential. In fact, accurate and complete referencing can mean the difference between reaching your academic goals and damaging your reputation amongst scholars. Simply put - referencing is the citing of sources you have utilised to support your essay, research, conference or article etc.

Even if you are using our Harvard style citation generator, understanding why you need to cite will go a long way in helping you to naturally integrate the process into your research and writing routine.

Firstly, whenever another source contributes to your work you must give the original author the appropriate credit in order to avoid plagiarism, even when you have completely reworded the information. The only exception to this rule is common knowledge - e.g. Barack Obama is President of the United States. Whilst plagiarism is not always intentional, it is easy to accidentally plagiarize your work when you are under pressure from imminent deadlines, you have managed your time ineffectively, or if you lack confidence when putting ideas into your own words. The consequences can be severe; deduction of marks at best, expulsion from college or legal action from the original author at worst. Find out more here.

This may sound overwhelming, but plagiarism can be easily avoided by using our Harvard citation generator and carrying out your research and written work thoughtfully and responsibly. We have compiled a handy checklist to follow whilst you are working on an assignment.

How to avoid plagiarism:


  • Formulate a detailed plan - carefully outline both the relevant content you need to include, as well as how you plan on structuring your work

  • Keep track of your sources - record all of the relevant publication information as you go (e.g. If you are citing a book you should note the author or editor’s name(s), year of publication, title, edition number, city of publication and name of publisher). Carefully save each quote, word-for-word, and place it in inverted commas to differentiate it from your own words. Tired of interrupting your workflow to cite? Use our Harvard referencing generator to automate the process

  • Manage your time effectively - make use of time plans and targets, and give yourself enough time to read, write and proofread

  • When you are paraphrasing information, make sure that you use only your own words and a sentence structure that differs from the original text

  • Save all of your research and citations in a safe place - organise and manage your Harvard style citations.

If you carefully check your college or publisher’s advice and guidelines on citing and stick to this checklist, you should be confident that you will not be accused of plagiarism.

Secondly, proving that your writing is informed by appropriate academic reading will enhance your work’s authenticity. Academic writing values original thought that analyzes and builds upon the ideas of other scholars. It is therefore important to use Harvard style referencing to accurately signpost where you have used someone else’s ideas in order to show that your writing is based on knowledge and informed by appropriate academic reading. Citing your sources will demonstrate to your reader that you have delved deeply into your chosen topic and supported your thesis with expert opinions.

Here at Cite This For Me we understand how precious your time is, which is why we created our Harvard citation generator and guide to help relieve the unnecessary stress of citing. Escape assignment-hell and give yourself more time to focus on the content of your work by using Cite This For Me citation management tool.

A common referencing style, Harvard Referencing is the referencing style of choice for most institutions and lecturers and is used commonly across many disciplines. Harvard Referencing contains both an intext reference as well as a fuller bibliographical entry at the end of the essay. Follow this guide to set your references out correctly.

Citing Book(s)

At the end of the sentence where you have cited something, before you place the full stop open brackets, list the authors’ surname, place a comma, list the year of publication, place a colon, list the page number where you found it from and close the brackets and place the full stop, as follows: (Bodkins, 2012: p. 22). A variation on this may be “Bodkins (2012, p. 22) states that…” On some occasions you can omit the page numbers if you’re referring to the source as a whole.

In the bibliography, list the surname followed by one initial and a full stop, place the date of publication followed by another full stop then insert the title of the book in italics, following this with a full stop and then the location of the publishers and their name, like this:

Bodkins P. 2012. How To Reference Correctly. London: Fictitious Publishing.

Page numbers are not used in the bibliography for books, but are included to show the page ranges of a journal article.

When using sources with more than one author, list up to four author’s names but any more than this just list the first author followed by et al (to denote and others).

Citing Journal Articles and Newspapers

Similar to citing books, the main difference is the title of the article is not placed in italics, but its source is. Additionally, the edition is also included, or the volume number followed by the issue or part number in brackets, followed by the page number. For example:

Bodkins P. 2012. How to Reference Correctly. Ficticious Journals Quarterly, 10 (2), p. 123.

This information would then be repeated in the bibliography except the page numbers of the entire article would be included at the end of your essay.

Bodkins P. 2012. How to Reference Correctly. Ficticious Journals Quarterly, 10 (2), pp. 123-130.

Note that when more than one page is cited, the ‘p.’ becomes ‘pp.’ to show this.

Citing Web-based Sources

There are a range of web-based sources you may draw on and there can be many ways to reference these, depending on the type of web-based source. Within the essay it is often enough just to list the name of the source and year (BBC News, 2012) providing more information in your bibliography. Here you will list the name of the website, its year of publication and its title or the title of the source concerned followed by the word online in brackets. This is followed by the source’s URL and the date you accessed it, also in brackets.

BBC News, 2012. Students Muck Up Referencing. (online)  Available at: <www.bbcnews.co.uk/article12345>. (Accessed 1st sueuary 2012).

If ever unsure how to reference a type of source, check out your own institution for guidance, see your lecturer directly or browse the internet. A good source for referencing using the Harvard System is available from http://libweb.anglia.ac.uk/referencing/harvard.htm

In addition, remember that your bibliography should be in alphabetical order and that sloppy referencing may be interpreted as an attempt to plagiarise someone els

For a more comprehensive overview of Harvard, please download the Harvard referencing guide PDF.

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