The Harvard Style: A comprehensive guide.

This is one of the many formats that are used in a specific type of writing.

Harvard style is commonly used in technical fields such as physics, logistics, mathematics engineering, and many more technical subjects. This style is in some way similar to other styles, on the contrary, it has its own outstanding features that make it unique on its own.

It is used to reference and acknowledge the author’s original work in a certain literature source. As much as the author is getting recognized in the process, it also works as a proving aspect of how deep a research scope is in writing material.

The Harvard style has a set of principles to follow while writing research material. If these rules are not followed, the material is rendered invalid.

In this article, we will learn the guiding rules of using this style in terms of citations, references as well as the format in which the article appears.

In most cases, the instructor can give a guiding format on how you can draft and complete a specific assigned work. In a case where the instructor has not given any guide or set of instructions, you will definitely have to go by the standard format. Below is a comprehensive way of using this style.

        The page format

This is basically how the page should appear throughout your writing process. Normally, almost all writing styles have similar formatting techniques. However, there is always a difference in each of the styles that make it unique and the Harvard style is no exception.

In page format, below are some of the aspects to look into while preparing your written material in Harvard style.


Spacing is the most crucial part of your work that makes it clear to read. Clustered words are hard to read. In this case, double-spacing is used.

To set it up;

-Right-click anywhere on your screen, then select ‘paragraph’. Here you will be directed to a dashboard with spacing options.

-Go to ‘line spacing’ and click on the dropdown menu.

-Select ‘double’ to achieve the double spacing setting. In this way, your work will be set to double spacing.


In this style, it is extremely important to always remember that every first line in a paragraph should always be indented towards the right.

To set it up;

There are two ways to set up an indented first line in every paragraph.

-First, you can click on the space button on your keyboard 5 times. This way you have to do this in every paragraph.

-Secondly, you can set your computer to automatically create an indented first line every time you hit enter to create a new paragraph. To do this, right-click on your screen and select ‘paragraph’. This will lead you to a dashboard with setting options. Go to ‘special’ and select ‘first line’. This way, there will always be the first line in your paragraphs set by default to indent by a few inches towards the right.


In every work done using the Harvard style, it must have a header. In this specific style, we are not talking about the running head. It should be noted that a running head appears on all pages with only the first page indicating “running head:’ In this case, we are basically talking about a brief description of the work title. A simple but unique summary of your main title is used as a header.

To set it up;

-Click on ‘insert’ at the top tab and select ‘header’.

-You will be given an option of typing your description.

Your header should be brief and complete.

-Double-click to go back to the main page of your work.

-Either way, you can double-click at the top space of your work just before the beginning of your writing and you will land in a space to type your header.

First page

This page provides crucial information about your work such as course name, template, school name, location of your institution, and date.

This information should be as accurate as possible in regard to the guiding principles.

The written information should be centralized.

To centralize;

-Highlight your information section and right-click.

-Go to ‘center text’ and the text will be centered.

Citation and referencing.

Citing is when you highlight a piece of certain information from other people’s work in your academic writing to support your idea or proof a fact within your work.

Referencing is giving all the information and details of the sources/ materials you have used in writing your work that redirects the reader to where you derived your ideas and enables them to get an in-depth understanding of your work. Referencing always appears at the end of your essay.

It is important to note that in any form of academic writing, citing and referencing are very crucial. When you cite other people’s work, you have to reference them at the end of your paperwork.

These two aspects go hand in hand. It is not possible to cite your work without giving a reference since it will look invalid. Furthermore, it is also not possible to provide references that have not been cited within your work.

Below are tips on how you can structure your citation and reference the Harvard way.

-When writing other people’s work word-to-word, it is important to quote the text, otherwise, it will be termed as plagiarism. If you paraphrase other people’s work in your own paperwork, you do not need to use any quotation marks. While using these two techniques, you have to indicate the source at the end of the text, in brackets.

– A direct quote citation can only be comprised of 3 pieces of information from the source; Last Name, Year (in which the information was published), and Page Number.

– If the information is paraphrased, include; Last Name and Year of publication.

– The reference list should include all information and details from the sources that you have used in your citation.

-The format of your reference information should start with the same words as the information in your citation.

-Your reference list should be in alphabetical order in Author’s name. If there are no names mentioned, you should use the title of the article to arrange your list.

The following is the structure of how your reference should look in different circumstances;

Referencing from a book

Last Name, First Name. (Year published) Title, Edition (if available). Place of publication: Publisher. Volume Number (if available).

Referencing from an E-book

Last Name, First Name (of the author/editor). (Year of publication). Title. E-book name. [Online] Available at: Website URL (accessed day month year)

Referencing from a journal

Last Name, First Name. (Year of publication) ‘Title of the Article: Title of the journal. Date Volume Page Number.

Referencing an online journal

Last Name, First Name. (Year Published). ‘Article Title’: Journal Title. Volume. Issue. Page Number. Name of the Collection [online] Available at: URL. (Accessed: Date).

Referencing from a webpage

Author/ organization’s name. (Year Published) Title of the Internet site. Available at: URL. (Accessed: Date)

Thank you for reading this article thus far. Please, like and share with anyone that might be interested in learning the Harvard style. Also, read my other related posts.

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