Posted: October 16th, 2020
Institutions require their students to write academic essays. However, different institutions or faculties require the students to use different referencing styles for their academic papers. One of the commonly used referencing styles aside from APA and MLA is the Harvard format essay.
The standard Harvard format is among the oldest referencing styles. Most instructors and institutions prefer using this format because its outline is easy to follow.
Harvard format is commonly referred to as the “author-date” format. It derives this name from the use of both the author and source’s publication date, which the writer adds in parenthesis.
The main difference between a Harvard format essay and an APA format essay is in in-text referencing. When writing in-text references for an APA format essay, you will need to include the page number. On the other hand, the page number is not included when writing an in-text reference in your Harvard format essay.
Writing a Harvard format essay is easy. Our guide will make it easier for you as it contains everything you need to know about structuring your essay. Read on to find out more.
An essay outline is essential as it guides you on how to organize your thoughts in your essay. A good overview ensures a logical flow of ideas without omitting the critical points of your essay.
There are two main outlines that you can use for your Harvard format essay. The full-sentence and the decimal outline.
A full-sentence outline requires the author to write their essay using full sentences in each level. Students commonly use this outline. On the other hand, the decimal outline used special decimal notations, which indicate how each level relates to a broader plan.
The key to writing an engaging essay that scores an A+ is adequate preparation. When your instructor asks you to write an essay, you need to start by choosing a title; if one is not assigned to you,
Research as much as you can about your topic. Ensure you get a complete understanding of the title, keywords, and content. A common mistake students make is creating an outline for their essay as soon as they identify their topic.
Once you fully understand your topic, what is relevant to it, and your lecturer’s demands, start creating an outline. Look for interesting facts and statistics when reading. Remember to take note of your references.
When creating an outline, we recommend using headings and subheadings to elaborate on your points. You can also add extra details that are relevant. Now that you fully understand your topic and have an outline, it is time to write your Harvard format essay.
Here is how you need to format and structure your Harvard format essay;
A Harvard format essay demands precise details when it comes to the title page. Midway the page, you should write the title of your paper in capital letters. All letters should be in capitals.
Below the title, about three lines down, include the name of the author. (Do not use all caps for the author’s name) Add four lines down, and enter the course details, and a line after that, write down the course instructor’s name.
Add another line and add the name of the school and the location of the school. It could be the state, or city, and lastly, the date. Here is an example of how the cover page of a Harvard format essay should appear;
This section should have a short description of your title and the page number. Here is an example of a header;
You should always right justify the title, instead of the usual left or center justifying. Also, note that the header should include a partial title shedding light on your essay’s theme: use five spaces to separate the title and the page number.
The title should be written in all capital letters, centered and capitalized.
Like any other essay, your introduction section should be charming to the reader. It should introduce the reader to your theme. To do so, it needs to have a hook, which can be a statistic, unpopular opinion, a lively quotation, or an interesting fact. After the hook, you should write a thesis statement.
If your essay is too long, use headings in the body of the paper. It will not only make your work presentable but also easy to read and scan through.
The body of your essay should include a topic sentence. A topic sentence sheds light on what you will be discussing in that paragraph. It should directly relate to the thesis and offer support to the claim you initially made in the thesis.
Your body should also have supporting details. It should back up the preceding topic sentence and offer in-depth information about it-information relevant to the topic sentence.
End your paragraph with a concluding sentence. The last sentence should summarize the idea you were putting across in the body. It should also offer a smooth transition to the next paragraph.
Here are some guidelines when writing the body section of your Harvard format essay;
When writing your conclusion, the first sentence needs to restate your thesis statement. The conclusion should remind the reader of what your essay proves. Add in a short discussion of your topic, your essay’s theme, and remind them what was most important in your essay.
References are used in academic papers as a guard against plagiarism. Plagiarism has adverse effects. It could lead to low grades, being penalized, expulsion from the class, and at the worst, expulsion. So, to prevent this, you need to reference your work.
In-text references direct the reader to the original author of the idea and when the piece was written. In a Harvard format essay, an in-text reference doesn’t need you to add the page number where you obtained the quote. You only need to add the author’s name and the date the original source was published.
For example; Literature has been described as “the only way we can express our ideas without hurting a fly” (Johnson, 1990)
You can also start with the author’s name and then mention what they said. For example, Johnson (1990) describes literature as “the only way we can express our ideas without hurting a fly.”
For every in-text reference, there needs to be a reference list. And, for every reference list, there needs to be an in-text citation. The reference list is a list with full acknowledgment of the author and the necessary information to help the reader find the source.
The reference page is identical to the title page. It is written on a separate page from the essay. Therefore, it needs to be written on a new page. If using a Microsoft Word processor, after writing your essay, follow these steps before writing a reference list;
When referencing a book, use this format;
The surname of the author, first name initials. (Book’s date of publication). Book’s Title. Place of Publication. Name of the Publisher.
When writing the reference, you should always use a hanging indent. Here is an example of how your reference list should appear;
There are significant differences between referencing a book and a periodical. Here is how to reference a journal in your Harvard format essay;
Surname, first name initials. (Journal year of publication). Paper’s Title. Journal’s Title, Volume, pages.
You should always write the title of the journal in the Title case and italicize it. When referencing a magazine, use the above format but add the year, month, and day in parenthesis.
Citing a website will use the same format as that used in a periodical. It will be noted in the format below;
Surname, first name initials. (Year). Title of the website. The date on which the information was retrieved. URL.
Here is an example; Johnson (1990). The Solar System. Retrieved November 23, 2001, from https://www.abdc.1234.com
Sometimes, referencing can be hard, and you can make it easier by using a Harvard referencing citation generator. Above is everything you need to know when structuring and formatting your essay. Here is a sample paper of a Harvard format essay.
When writing a Harvard format essay, the guidelines are not very strict compared to other referencing styles like APA. However, there are some requirements you must meet—for example, double-spacing throughout the paper and the use of correct fonts.
The main aim of formatting guidelines is to ensure uniformity for all submitted papers. It also helps make your assignment reader-friendly. To ensure all these, there are four guidelines you need to follow;
We have discussed how to write a Harvard format essay. But what if you happen to have any difficulties when writing the paper? It is not uncommon for students to encounter challenges like a lack of necessary skills, experience, and knowledge.
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