Most programmes and modules (except Psychology and Law) will require you to use the Harvard style of referencing. 

The Harvard referencing style has many variations. Abertay University has adopted the most widely used version of Harvard, based on the book Cite Them Rightavailable to borrow from 808.027 PEA. Alternatively, we've produced a quick guide listing the main reference types.

What is referencing?

There are two parts to Harvard referencing:

The in-text citation eg (Grover, 2017) appears as part of your text to acknowledge where an idea, research, statistic, quotation etc came from - this avoids plagiarism.
The reference list appears at the end of your work, listing in alphabetical order, the full details of all the citations in your text - this informs the reader of what you've read and allows them to track the reference if required.

Top tips:

Reference types


An example of a book reference and citation would be:

In-text citation:

...(Cottrell, 2013).

You should include the author and year in brackets. If the author's name is already part of your sentence, then only include the year in brackets eg Cottrell (2013) discusses...

Always include a page number in your citation if you have used a direct quotation eg "..." (Cottrell, 2013, p. 23).

Reference list:

Cottrell, S. (2013) The study skills handbook. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

You must include each part of the reference, in the correct order, and with the correct formatting.

Remember - be consistent in your style. It's the inconsistencies that stand out!

Journal articles

An example of a journal article reference and citation would be:

In-text citation:

(Loes, Salisbury and Pascarella, 2015) 

If there are more than 3 authors, cite the first name followed by et al. eg (Mustard et al., 2018)

Reference list:

Loes, C.N., Salisbury, M.H. and Pascarella, E.T. (2015) ‘Student perceptions of effective instruction and the development of critical thinking: a replication and extension’, Higher Education, 69(5), pp. 823-838. doi: 10.1007/s10734-014-9807-0.

Only include the doi if one is available.


An example of a website reference and citation would be:

In-text citation:

(Bowler, 2018)

If the webpage you're using doesn't have a named author, use the organisation name eg (BBC, 2018)

If the webpage you're using doesn't have a date, establish first if the page is a reliabe source. If it is, cite it as, eg (BBC, no date)

Reference list:

Bowler, T. (2018) Can listening to bees help save them - and us? Available at: (Accessed: 14 November 2018).


How do I include a quotation in my essay?

Be careful of using too many quotations. The more of somebody else's words you use, the fewer of your own your tutor has to mark.  Too many quotations can also disrupt the flow of your written work. Try, whenever possible, to paraphrase (put into your own words), and leave the quotations to make impact where you need it.

Short quotations (up to 2 or 3 lines) can be included as part of your sentence. Enclose them in 'single' or "double" quotation marks, and ensure your citation also includes a page number.

Longer quotations (more than 2 or 3 lines) should be indented as a separate paragraph. There's no need to include quotation marks round longer indented quotations, and ensure your citation also includes a page number.

How do I cite a citation from somebody else's work?

For example: the book you have read is by Mustard 2017, but Mustard refers to a work by Grover 2015 that makes a point you would like to use. This is called secondary referencing.

  • Ideally, source the original work by Grover and reference that as you would anything else
  • Alternatively, reference it as a secondary reference eg,

In-text citation:

(Grover, 2015, cited in Mustard, 2017)

Reference list:

Mustard, C. (2017) etc 

This way, your citation nods to the work that you want to use, but your reference list indicates the work you have actually read.

Secondary referencing is considered to be poor academic practice. Sometimes, however, it's just not possible to track down the original work, and the point you're trying to make is too important to miss it out. That's fine; just try to avoid too many secondary references.
How do I add more than one source into a citation?

Sometimes multiple works will support the point you are trying to make and you may want to add them to the same in-text citation.

That's fine; just separate them with a semicolon eg,

(Grover, 2016; Clark, 2017)

This indicates that both Grover and Clark support the point you are making.