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Harvard Referencing Style Guide: In-Text Citation

In-text Citations

The format is in following order:

  • The surname(s) of the author(s), e.g. for John Doe, Doe is the surname

  • The year the author(s)' work was published

  • The page number(s) of the cited work (necessary if direct quotation or figures/ data are used)

Doe (2007) argues that.....

If the author's name does not appear in the sentence itself, state the author's surname and year of publication. 

.....was argued (Doe 2007)


To differentiate the different works, use the lower case letters (a, b, c) with the year of publication with the order of the listing based on the letter-by-letter alphabetical order of the title of the work. 

Tied up with the long-term prospects of the economy (Sachs 2013a) is the role of universities in sustainable development (Sachs 2013b).....


For a source with 2 or 3 authors, state the authors' surname in the text or in the parenthetical citation. 

Sampling is defined as a 'process of selecting the right individuals as representatives for the entire population' (Sekaran & Bougie 2009, p.240).


Sekaran and Bougie (2009, p.240) found that sampling is defined as a 'process of selecting the right individuals as representatives for the entire population'.

If a source has more than three authors, provide the first author's surname followed by "et al.". However, in the reference list, all authors' names must be listed. 

Marketing is the key functional area of any business (Smith et al. 2009).


Smith et al. (2009) proved that marketing is the key functional area of any business.

This general rule in-text citation or in the reference list is to start with the author's surname or family name. In Western names, the surname is the last name element. However, Chinese names, the surname is the first element. In some other Asian names, there are no surname elements. As such, use the first name element. 

Chinese Name In-text Citation List of reference
Chong Jia Qiang (The first name is the surname) (Chong 2014) Chong, JQ
Andrew Chong Jia Qiang (Surname interpose between Christian name and other personal name element) (Chong 2014) Chong, AJQ
Malay name without surname
Asmah Binti Omar (Asmah 2014) Asmah,  O
Ungku A. Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid (Ungku A. Aziz 2014) Ungku A. Aziz, UAH
Haji Ahmah Haji Awang (Ahmah 1989) Ahmad, A
Tan Sri Datuk Hamzah Sendut (Hamzah 1989) Hamzah, S

Indian name without surname 

Mukhtiar Kaur (Mukhtiar 2014) Mukhtiar, K
Indian names with surname 
Romesh Chunder Dutt (Dutt  1906) Dutt, RC
G. Sivalingam (Sivalingam  2014) Sivalingam, G

Use the first few words of a title if it is too long.

(Networks and distributed system study book 2000).


Networks and distributed system study book (2000).....

Direct quote

Direct quotes are to be  enclosed in '...'

Sampling is defined as a 'process of selecting the right individuals as representatives for the entire population' (Sekaran & Bougie 2009, p. 240).

Long quote

Where direct quotes exceed 30 words they should be indented from the left margin and single line spaced without quotation marks. The quote should be introduced by a colon (:) and one line space should separate the quote from the introductory statement and from the text that follows. The quote should be set one point smaller than the font used for the main text.

Tanenbaum ​(2008, p. 1) has the following to say about technological evolution:

Each of the past three centuries has been dominated by a single technology. The 18th Century was the time of great mechanical systems accompanying the Industrial Revolution. The 19th Century was the age of the steam engine. During the 20th Century, the key technology has been information gathering, processing and distribution.

Smith (2014) observes/ point out/ remarks/ says/ states/ affirms/ argues/ believes/ claims/ concludes/explains/ finds/ implies/ suggests...

As Smith (2014) has observed...

As noted by Smith (2014)...

According to Smith (2014)...

It has been argued by Smith (2014) that...

In Smith's (2014) view...

Recent evidence suggests... (Smith 2014).

Strong evidence was found by Smith (2014) that...

An alternative view is that... (Smith 2014).


Citation Generator

MyBib is a free, no-ads citation tool that allows users to generate in-text citations and bibliographic references for books, articles and etc. You can paste in a book ISBN, journal DOI or website address and have the fields populate automatically over 9,000 citation styles available including Sunway College Johor Bahru Harvard Referencing Style.

Please check the referencing format to ensure it follows the College guidelines.



Citefast is a user-friendly citation generator that supports APA, MLA and Chicago formatting.You could generate in-text citation and reference in four easy steps and create an account to manage your bibliographies.

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