In-text citations according to the Harvard system

Last changed: 02 December 2016 -
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This page provides instructions on how to create in-text citations according to the Harvard system.

General advice on in-text citations

Create in-text citations by naming the creator's last name and the year of publication in parentheses. The established praxis regarding the placement of the in-text citation varies, but the basic rule is that every time you use information from a new source, you should add an in-text citation. Sometimes the citation is placed after the paragraph in which you refer to or cite the source in question, and in other cases the citation is placed directly after a specific sentence. The most important thing is to ensure that there is no room for confusion regarding what source your refering to, and that you clearly show the reader what is your thoughts and what you've gathered from other sources.

The following examples are of how to insert citations into the running text of your paper. Additional examples are available in the University of Borås' "Guide to the Harvard System" (only in Swedish).

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

If you are unsure about how your institution references and cites sources speak to your instructor or advisor.



Pictures or photographs like figures have their description with captions directly underneath the image. Cite author and year underneath the image.

Sometimes there is a need to account for a number of images with references to other copyright holders. In these cases you can create an image list in your reference list. Keep in mind when re-using pictures and photographs created by others and not available under the Creative Commons-license that they are usually protected by copyright.

Tables and figures

Each table should have a brief, explanatory title above the table. Figures have their title placed below the figure which ends with a full stop. Usually you do your own table or figure but if you re-use images they need acknowledgement of a source. Keep in mind that images are usually protected by copyright and must not be published without without permission from the author.

Exact quote from another author

Quotes from another author should be reproduced exactly as they are and the citations should include the page number in the work cited. Short quotes can be written in the text inside quotation marks, for example:

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

Providing another author's conclusions in your own words (paraphrasing)

Paraphrasing another author's conclusions or results in your own words should take the following form:

Naturally, one should differentiate between rational and empirical ... (McLauglin 1978, p. 312).

Two or three authors

All author names should included in the citation with the "&" symbol between the next to last and last name in the list.

(Hunter, Elias & Norris 2011, p. 67)

More than three authors

If a citation refers to a work by more than three authors, you can use the abbreviation "et al.":

(Jansson et al. 2010, p.135)

Citing an author that has published several works 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.

Nilsson and Carlsson (1998a p. 3) ... in Nilsson and Carlsson (1998b p. 5) on the contrary...

Citing a source referred to by another author

If possible, you should always refer to the original source, but occasionally this is not possible had you are forced to cite an author that refers to the original source in his or her work. In this case, both sources should be included in the citation. The original source is cited first followed by the actual work you have used.

(Doyle 1994 see Rader 1996 p. 72)

Citing public documents in-text

The easiest way cite Swedish laws and statutes is to use the SFS number or its corollary.

According to the Animal Transportation Investigation (SOU 2003:06) one finds...
According to Swedish copyright laws (SFS 1960:729) there are a few exceptions ...
If we look at the Swedish Board of Agriculture's codes for animal husbandry (SJVFS 1993:129) we find...

Refering to specific pages

You can refer to specific pages in a work the as follows:

p. 12

pp. 12-18

pp. 12, 18

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



Use (ibid.) if your citing or refering to the same text and page several times in a paragraph and don't want to repeat author name and page number every time.

The use of (ibid.), and (aa) is seen both when referring to the Harvard system and the Oxford system, but is more prevalent in the Oxford system.

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


If you're citing or refering to the same text but a different page for several times in a paragraph and don't want to repeat yourself, use the abbreviation (a.a.).

The Eurasian Curlew is called Numenius Arquata in latin (a.a., p. 35).


If you want to refer or cite a document that lacks a publising date, use the abbreviation (n.d.).

Example in text:
Nilsson and Carlsson (n.d., p. 5) 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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