What are in-text citations?

In-text citations are brief references made within the body of your academic work. These citations enable readers to quickly identify the sources you have referenced without disrupting the flow of the sentences in which they appear. In-text citations provide all the information needed to identify the full reference in the reference list at the end of your assignment.

How to use in-text citations: Harvard style

There are two main types of in-text citations, parenthetical and narrative citations. Both require you to cite the author’s surname, date of publication, and page numbers (when quoting directly from a source).

Parenthetical citations

Parenthetical citations appear in parenthesis directly after the quote or concept that has been paraphrased. The author’s surname, the year of publication, and page numbers (where relevant) are each separated by a comma.

Parenthetical citation format: Harvard style

(Author’s surname, year of publication, page number/numbers)

For example:

“Drawing is now used to convey a technical or mechanical language of industries and technology” (Dagoon, 1995, p. 48).

Researchers have argued that chromosomal rearrangements are the most important karyotype changes in mammals for thinking about the role of chromosomes in speciation (Pavlova and Searle, 2018).

When referencing a quote found on a single page use “p.”. Use “pp.” followed by the range of pages (“pp. 89-94”) when citing multiple pages.


Narrative citations

If you mention an author’s surname in the body of your essay – “Smith argues that” – this requires you to produce a narrative in-text citation.

For narrative citations, place the date of publication in parenthesis after the author’s name.

For example:

Kierkegaard (1843) posited that God is revealed mysteriously to each and every person.

In-text citations for multiple authors

For an in-text citation with two authors, separate each author’s surname with “and”.

For example:

(Jones and Smith, 2017)

(Owens and Bridge, 2005)

When citing a source with three authors, separate the first and second author’s surname with a comma, and the second and third author’s surname with “and”.

(Edwards, Matthews and Hardy, 1994)

When citing a source with four or more authors, use the Latin term “et al.,” (meaning “and others”).

(Brown et al., 2020)

These abbreviations are only to be used for in-text citations. For your reference list, you are required to provide the names of all authors.

How to cite corporate authors in Harvard style

When citing a corporate or group author for the first time, provide their name in full.

For example:

(National Federation of the Blind, 2021)

For any subsequent citations, you do not need to write out the corporate author’s name in full: just use an abbreviation.

(NFB, 2021)

In-text citations without a date

Some sources may not have a clear publication date. For sources without a date, place “n.d.” (short for “no date”) after the author’s surname.

For example:

Hardy (n.d.) argues that…

(Hardy, n.d.)