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harvard referencing style guide

What are the differences in Harvard Referencing Style as compared to MLA Referencing Style?

Various referencing styles are used for citing assignments and dissertations such as APA, MLA, Chicago, Oxford, and Harvard. It becomes quite hectic sometimes for students to differentiate among these referencing styles such as Harvard and MLA style. Differences between Harvard and MLA referencing style are discussed here. Referencing differences, formatting, development, and usage of MLA and Harvard referencing styles are discussed below.

Invention or Development

The Harvard referencing style was invented by Harvard University in order to help the students in referencing their thesis and papers. While the MLA referencing style was developed by the Modern Languages Association for academic writing purpose. However, both these referencing styles are parenthetical in nature.

Usage – how to MLA & Harvard reference

There are various occasions where both referencing styles could be used; however, in some particular cases, specific referencing styles are proposed. For instance, for social sciences and natural or behavioural studies, Harvard style is preferred. On the contrary, MLA style is preferred in documenting subjects as well as in humanities-related thesis and assignments. Generally, MLA is used for language and cultural studies while for general-purpose, mainly Harvard style of referencing is adopted.


There are specific formatting for each kind of referencing style that makes them distinct and separate from other referencing styles. For Harvard, an abstract and brief summary is required to be included. In addition, a full list of resources cited and referenced are mentioned in the bibliography of Harvard style paper. On the other hand, in MLA style of referencing no separate title page is required as in the Harvard style. In addition, the resources used are listed under references or work cited rather than a bibliography.

Referencing differences

There are quite differences among the referencing of both Harvard and MLA referencing styles, which are as follows:

Book with a single author

In Harvard style, the name of the author comes first, which is followed by the topic and other details. On the other hand, in MLA style, the name of the author comes first, and the full name is required rather than just the initials as in the Harvard style.

Example of Harvard style:

Patterson, J. (2007). Maximum ride. New York: Little, Brown.

Example of MLA style:

Mather, Jean-Philippe. French Resistance: The French-American Culture Wars. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2002. Print.

Book with two or more authors

In Harvard style, the names of all the authors are mentioned with their last names in alphabetical order. While in the MLA, style there is no need of mentioning the names in alphabetical order as in the Harvard style.

Example of Harvard style:

Desikan, S. and Ramesh, G. (2009). Software testing. Bangalore, India: Dorling Kindersley, p.149.

Example of MLA style:

Booth, Wayne, C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. 3rd ed. U of Chicago P, 2005. Print.

Print journal articles

In the Harvard referencing style journal articles are cited in a manner that the name of the author comes first, which is followed by the title of the journal and then the name of the journal. On the contrary, in MLA referencing style, the name of the author comes first, which is followed by the name of the article.

Example of Harvard style:

Ross, N. (2016). On Truth Content and False Consciousness in Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory. Philosophy Today, 61(3), pp. 273-281.

Example of MLA style:

Piper, Andrew. “Rethinking the Print Object: Goethe and the Book of Everything.” PMLA 132.1 (2009): 118-25. Print.


Author Bio

John Caldwell is an expert writer who is associated with Genuine Assignment Help for the last five years. He is one of the most effective and God-gifted writers who enjoys writing blogs for the website.

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