how to reference a book harvard style


In this article, we will discuss how to reference a book using the Harvard style. Referencing is a vital aspect of academic writing as it acknowledges the sources of information, ideas, and arguments used in the research process. The Harvard referencing style follows a specific format for books, which includes essential elements such as the author’s name, publication year, title, and publication details. By understanding and correctly applying this style, you can ensure that your references are accurate, standardized, and easily traceable by readers or examiners.

Understanding the Harvard Referencing Style

The Harvard referencing style is an author-date system, meaning that it consists of the author’s last name and the publication year in parentheses within the text. In addition to these in-text citations, a reference list is included at the end of the document to provide detailed information about each source cited in the text.

Book Referencing in Harvard Style

how to reference a book harvard style

When referencing a book using the Harvard style, the following information should be included:

1. Author’s name

List the author’s last name followed by their initials. If the book has multiple authors, separate their names with commas. For example, “Smith, J. A., & Johnson, L.”

2. Year of publication

Provide the year the book was published in parentheses. For example, “(2019)”.

3. Title of the book

Italicize the title of the book and capitalize the first letter of each significant word. For example, The Art of Referencing.

4. Edition and volume

If applicable, mention the edition and volume number of the book. For example, “2nd ed.” or “Vol. 3”.

5. Place of publication

Include the city or location where the book was published. For example, “New York.”

6. Publisher

Provide the name of the publisher. For example, “Harvard University Press.”

Examples of Book References in Harvard Style

Here are some examples of book references using the Harvard style:

1. Single author:

Doe, J. (2008). The Art of Writing. New York: ABC Publisher.

2. Multiple authors:

Smith, A. B., Johnson, C. D., & Williams, E. F. (2015). Effective Communication Strategies. London: XYZ Publishing.

3. Edited book:

Miller, R. J. (Ed.). (2020). Modern Trends in Technology (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Tech Books Publishing.

4. Chapter in an edited book:

Smith, J. A. (2010). “The Importance of Referencing.” In B. K. Johnson (Ed.), Writing Essentials (pp. 35-50). Oxford: Academic Press.


Referencing books in the Harvard style is crucial for both academic and professional writing. By following the prescribed format, you provide credibility to your work and enable readers to locate and verify the sources you have used. Remember to always double-check your references for accuracy and completeness, as adherence to proper referencing guidelines is an essential aspect of scholarly integrity.

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