I read somewhere that you can reference, the Harvard way, by stating the author, before ending the sentence with a date - like so:

Author said this bla bal blabd bdalab d... (2017).

But, after reading through my dissertation, my teacher told me this was invalid Harvard referencing; and, he said I should cite the author like this:

Author said this bla bal blabd bdalab d... (Author, 2017).

Is this true, or can I indeed use the proposed method?


There can be disagreement on how to reference correctly within a style. I have referenced in both ways that you cite, with no complaints from my tutors. I have also had papers published using both methods of citation with no corrections from the copy editors.

However, I think what we are experiencing here is your tutor's preference. He clearly wants you to do things in method B rather than method A, for whatever reason. I am sure he has read through multitudinous publications, some of which use method A, though his own preference is B.

When I wrote my first essay for my master's I used footnotes for referencing. My tutor wrote on the paper that in-text citations were much better: neither was wrong, but my tutor was specifying a preference and recommending a better habit to get into. Similarly, seeing as yours is the one marking your papers, I would just go with it.

  • Are you sure that this is really ambiguous? Note that the OP specifically stated that this was to follow the Harvard style, not just some style. Jan 30 '17 at 18:47
  • @TobiasKildetoft yes, both are accepted as Harvard style. Maybe I should have rephrased my first sentence, I will do so for clarity. libweb.anglia.ac.uk/referencing/files/…
    – C26
    Jan 30 '17 at 19:02

I am in one of the fields where author-date (Harvard) referencing is common, and I have not seen the style that you describe. Normally, it's either:

Author (2017) finds xyz.


Xyz (Author 2017).

Of course I do not know all the citation formats in all different fields, so it is possible that such style exists in some fields I don't know. However, based on some common style guides, I believe such style, if exists, is not common. For example, the Oxford Style Guide (New Hart's Rules), which covers a few different common reference styles, only gives author-date examples similar to what I've given here. The same is true for the APA Manual, which is a widely used style guide that prescribes the author-date system.

In some contexts (including some educational institutions), authors are expected to (at least roughly) follow a particular citation style. In such case, you can consult the reference guide.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.