In-text citations using the Harvard system

Last changed: 30 July 2019
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This page contains instructions on how to create in-text citations using the SLU Harvard system.

General advice on in-text citations

You create in-text citations by putting the creator's last name and the year of publication in parentheses (Andersson 2019). The established practice is to add an in-text citation every time you use information from a new source. What is most important is that there is never any doubt about what source you refer to, and that you clearly show the reader what is your own thoughts and what you've gathered from other sources.

The following examples shows how to insert citations into the running text of your paper. Additional examples are available from University of Borås: "Guide till Harvardsystemet" (in Swedish only).

For an introduction to the Harvard system in English, see the Anglia Ruskin University guide.

If you are unsure about the citation practice at your department, talk to your instructor or advisor.

Active or passive?

When using the Harvard style you can place the reference in the beginning of a sentence by naming the author in the running text and putting the publication year in parentheses. This is usually called an active reference, because the author has an active role in the text.

Example of active references

  • According to Andersson (2019) ...
  • According to Andersson text text text (2019).

You can also put the author and publication year in parentheses at the end of the sentence, just before the period. This is usually called a passive reference, because the author has a passive role in the text.

Example of passive reference

  • Text text text (Andersson 2019).

Two or three authors

All author names should be included in the citation. When the citation is put in parentheses, use the "&" symbol between the two last names in the list. In an active reference the “&” is replaced by “and”.

Examples

  • Andersson and Svensson (2019) found that birds in the area…
  • … problem-based approach was successful (Hunter, Elias & Norris 2011).

More than three authors

If a citation refers to a work by more than three authors, use the abbreviation "et al." after the first author instead of writing all the names:

Example

  • (Jansson et al. 2010)

Multiple works by the same author published in the same year

If you are citing an author that has published several works in the same year, you can differentiate the various works by adding a, b, c after the year.

Example

  • Nilsson and Carlsson (1998a) ... in Nilsson and Carlsson (1998b) on the contrary ...

Citing multiple sources supporting the same idea

If you want to cite multiple sources with similar information, e.g. for supporting the same idea, you separate the references with semicolon and list them chronologically.

Example

  • Several studies have shown that ... (Andersson 2014; Svensson 2016).

Citing a secondary source

If possible, always cite the original source. Occasionally this is not possible and you are obliged to use a secondary source that cites the original source. In this case both sources should be included in the citation. The original source should be cited first, followed by the work you actually have read. In the reference list you include the source you have used.

Example

  • (Doyle 1994 see Rader 1996)

Referring to specific pages

The general recommendation is to always include page numbers for quotes. You can also refer to specific pages in other types of references to make it easier for the reader to find the source. Ask your supervisor or teacher if you are unsure of the practice at your department.

Examples

  • p. 12
  • pp. 12-18
  • pp. 12, 18

"p." refers to a specific page, while "pp." refers to several pages.

Quotes

Quotes should be reproduced exactly as they are and the reference should include the page number in the work cited. 

Short quotes

Short quotes can be put in the text within quotation marks.

  • "When traits are determined by many genes, usually in concert with environmental factors, they are referred to as quantitative traits" (Hartl 1988, p. 5)

Longer quotes

Longer quotes should be included as a separate paragraph indented from the right and left corners.

Abbreviations

et al.

Abbreviation for the Latin expression "et alia" meaning "with others". Commonly used when there are more than three authors.

Example

  • (Jansson et al. 2010)

ibid.

Abbreviation for the Latin expression "ibidem" meaning "in the same place". Can be used if you cite the same source and the same page(s) several times within a paragraph and don’t want to repeat the reference. Note that no other source must appear between the citations when you use ibid.

Example

  • Furthermore, the authors claim that the Eurasian Curlew avoids humans (ibid.).

n.d.

Abbreviation for "No date". Used when citing a source that lacks a publishing date.

Example in the text

  • Nilsson and Carlsson (n.d.) suggests ...

Example in the reference list

  • Nilsson, K. & Carlsson, F. (n.d.). A study of the Eurasian Curlew population in Sweden ...
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