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Referencing is the official recognition of other authors’ works and it involves the making of in-text citations and bibliographic lists which fully detail the works that are being referred to within the academic work. Referencing is essential in authenticating research work as well as in avoiding penalties that result from plagiarism in academic circles. There are numerous methods applied in referencing formal academic works and these commonly include American Psychological Association style (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), Turabian, Chicago and Harvard referencing styles-just to mention, but a few. These styles are used in different contexts and they subtly differ but work towards the same goal-that of substantiating content within academic works. The Harvard referencing style and its requirements can be inferred from the Harvard style guide, which documents all the basics necessary in the making of references.

The first and basic requirement as per the Harvard style guide is the use of author-date system. This makes the Harvard referencing style similar to APA, which also makes use of the author date system of referencing. According to the Harvard style guide, all in-text citations should have the author’s last name followed by the date of publication of the material being referenced. The in-text citation should be placed after the referenced sentence or at the start of the sentences being referenced within brackets. This could be outlined as follows: “Celebrity marketing has both ups and downs (Richard, 1983).” Or alternatively; “According to Richard (1983), Celebrity marketing has both ups and downs.” In the second case the author’s name is incorporated in the introductory statement and only the date is left within the brackets.

The Harvard style guide recommends that when reference is made to more than one author within a sentence and referred directly they should both be cited as exemplified below: “Morgan (2008) and Camilla (2009), both state that…” In the citation of more than one author there should be an inclusion of and to combine the authors being referred to. According to the Harvard style guide this could be done directly (James and John (2005) in their research hold that…) or indirectly (Recent researchers hold that... (James & John, 2005) According to the Harvard style guide if the authors do exceed one, but not four, all their last names should be included in and last one followed preceded by an and before placing the relevant date. The Harvard style guide introduces a slight change when the authors exceed four. In such cases only the last name of the last author should be included and preceded by the Latin short form “et al.” which denotes and others, to show that there were more than four authors involved in the publication.

In some cases the author may intend to portray a similar idea which is expressed in two different works authored by one writer. In such a case the Harvard style guide dictates that the writer should include the last name of the author as well as the two dates that represent the respective publication dates within which the works were published in such a manner: “In his research work, Johnson (1978; 1987), states that…” It is good to note here that the two dates should be separated by a semi colon. The Harvard style guide also has a distinctive in-text formatting which allows the author to distinctly reference two different works of the same author within the work without causing confusion because the two share the same date and last author name. In such cases an alphabetical denotation is introduced in which the earliest date comes first and it is denoted with alphabetical order (a) and the subsequent references are denoted with the subsequent letters of the alphabet. For example (Johnson, 1989, a) differentiates this reference from (Johnson, 1989, b), both of which are works authored by a single author and in the same year.

The Harvard style guide also offers clear instructions on what to do, when there is some missing information. In cases where there are no dates available the writer may opt to use the short form Anon. to denote that the writer is anonymous: (Anon. 1989). In cases where the date is missing the short form n.d is used to show that there is no known date of publication. In that case the citation looks as follows: (Johnson, n.d). At times direct quotations are made to preserve the originality of statements. In such cases the Harvard style guide dictates that the quotes should be placed within quotations marks if the word count does not exceed forty. However, if it does exceed forty then it becomes necessary to make a block indentation of the quote.

The creation of the bibliographic list also requires adherence to the Harvard style guide dictates, which include the inclusion of the author/s, date of publication, title of publication, edition number, publisher or producer and place of publication sequentially. These are the basic considerations that are laid out by the Harvard style guide, which defines the use of the Harvard style of writing.