The main content of all academic works is produced by gathering relevant and possible information on a particular subject. For this, it is necessary to relate scientifically all information that is exposed, through a correct foundation of the data involved, namely, by using citations and confronting different authors and understand how to write an assignment with references.
It is, therefore, a mandatory requirement to make reference to the sources on which it is based for the following reasons:
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- Give credit to the authors that are cited;
- Help readers locate the sources cited;
- Respect the law that protects the copyright;
- Acting honestly and responsibly.
Usually, references are used in the academic works to indicate to the reader that the information provided is based on scientific evidence. When referring to such evidence, the author is telling the reader where to find them.
Originating in the Latin, the concept of reference refers to the act and consequence of pointing or referring to something or someone. The verb refer, on the other hand, allows to mention the act of making known a certain thing; organize or conduct something for a certain purpose; or put something in relation to another object or with a person. By reference, therefore, is understood a narration, information, data or news that points to something or the link, relationship, dependence or similarity of one thing with respect to another.
Original sources should be referred to using the “Harvard” methodology, along with the citation or referenced author. But what does the Harvard referencing means?
Harvard referencing is the style of referencing that has a clearly defined structure that looks like:
Last name, First Initial. (Year published). Title. City: Publisher, Page(s).
The Harvard referencing style is very concise and avoids digressions: everything important is mentioned in the body of the text. If the data that is mentioned is not relevant, it means that it is dispensable, and does not have to be included in the text or in the footnote. It is widely used, for example, in Archeology and Anthropology publications. This system consists of quoting in abbreviated form in the text, in parentheses, the surname of the author whose work one wants to refer to, and the year of publication. If the author is cited in the text, only the year is placed in parentheses.
It is a standard rule to use referencing in the text when you’re citing some data from the work of an author. But there are also a lot of other different situations when Harvard referencing should be used. Let’s take a look at how to write Harvard referencing in other cases.
- If you have more than one quote from the same author, put them in order of publication of data. If the author has written more than one-year reference, use 2000a, 2000b, etc.
- References from more than one author are always listed after references from a single author.
- The three authors come after two, four authors come after three, and so on.
- Organize the references in alphabetical order, with the author principle first, followed by the second author, the third author, etc. It is more important to sort them by names.
You can also face the situation when you’ll need to cite internet sources. Internet pages are difficult to cite, since there’s usually a lack of basic data, such as the creation date, for example. For this reason, it is recommended to follow the same criteria and structure as for the other bibliographic references, as far as possible. Although if you do not have any piece of information, you can try to maintain the classical structure, citing as in general (author of the blog, general title of the blog or of the page, date, place of the edition, link).
When using Harvard referencing in the academic text, one should pay attention to the simple rules:
- One should always quote the original author of the finding, discovery, idea or hypothesis. It is a common mistake to use the most recent reference only because the author mentioned something that had been done or said by another author in an earlier article;
- You should only use the most recent reference when it comes to data or information that has already been updated. For example, it is pointless to use as a reference a 2001 article to cite some data. In this case, the correct one is to quote the updated data (of 2018), that is, the most recent reference;
- You should never copy the phrase of another author. References in scientific articles are used to cite the source of the scientific evidence mentioned and not to indicate where that passage was copied;
- If you found a phrase in an article that says exactly what you want to say, consider the phrase as inspiration and create your own.
Try to follow all of the advice, and you won’t have questions about how to use Harvard referencing in assignments!