Harvard In-Text Citation | A Complete Guide & Examples

An in-text citation should appear wherever you quote or paraphrase a source in your writing, pointing your reader to the full reference.

In Harvard style, citations appear in brackets in the text. An in-text citation consists of the last name of the author, the year of publication, and a page number if relevant.

Up to three authors are included in Harvard in-text citations. If there are four or more authors, the citation is shortened with et al.

Harvard in-text citation examples
1 author (Smith, 2014)
2 authors (Smith and Jones, 2014)
3 authors (Smith, Jones and Davies, 2014)
4+ authors (Smith et al., 2014)

Including page numbers in citations

When you quote directly from a source or paraphrase a specific passage, your in-text citation must include a page number to specify where the relevant passage is located.

Use ‘p.’ for a single page and ‘pp.’ for a page range:

  • Meanwhile, another commentator asserts that the economy is ‘on the downturn’ (Singh, 2015, p. 13).
  • Wilson (2015, pp. 12–14) makes an argument for the efficacy of the technique.

If you are summarising the general argument of a source or paraphrasing ideas that recur throughout the text, no page number is needed.

Where to place Harvard in-text citations

When incorporating citations into your text, you can either name the author directly in the text or only include the author’s name in brackets.

Naming the author in the text

When you name the author in the sentence itself, the year and (if relevant) page number are typically given in brackets straight after the name:

Jones et al. (2016, p. 155) argue that the results of this method are ‘frequently unreliable’.

Naming the author directly in your sentence is the best approach when you want to critique or comment on the source.

Naming the author in brackets

When you  you haven’t mentioned the author’s name in your sentence, include it inside the brackets. The citation is generally placed after the relevant quote or paraphrase, or at the end of the sentence, before the full stop:

The results of this method have been described as ‘frequently unreliable’ (Jones et al., 2016, p. 155).

Multiple citations can be included in one place, listed in order of publication year and separated by semicolons:

Several other researchers have corroborated this claim (Smith, 2015; Wong, 2015; Patel, 2016).

This type of citation is useful when you want to support a claim or summarise the overall findings of sources.

Common mistakes with in-text citations

In-text citations in brackets should not appear as the subject of your sentences. Anything that’s essential to the meaning of a sentence should be written outside the brackets:

  • (Smith, 2019) argues that…
  • Smith (2019) argues that…

Similarly, don’t repeat the author’s name in the bracketed citation and in the sentence itself:

  • As Caulfield (Caulfield, 2020) writes…
  • As Caulfield (2020) writes…

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Citing sources with missing information

Sometimes you won’t have access to all the source information you need for an in-text citation. Here’s what to do if you’re missing the publication date, author’s name, or page numbers for a source.

No date

If a source doesn’t list a clear publication date, as is sometimes the case with online sources or historical documents, replace the date with the words ‘no date’:

(Smith, no date)

No author

When it’s not clear who the author of a source is, you’ll sometimes be able to substitute a corporate author – the group or organisation responsible for the publication:

(Scribbr, 2019)

When there’s no corporate author to cite, you can use the title of the source in place of the author’s name:

(Lecture on republicanism, 1795)

No page numbers

If you quote from a source without page numbers, such as a website, you can just omit this information if it’s a short text – it should be easy enough to find the quote without it.

If you quote from a longer source without page numbers, it’s best to find an alternate location marker, such as a paragraph number or subheading, and include that:

(Google, 2019, para. 14)
(Scribbr, 2020, under ‘Creating a Harvard reference list’)

Frequently asked questions about Harvard in-text citations

When do I need to use a Harvard in-text citation?

A Harvard in-text citation should appear in brackets every time you quote, paraphrase, or refer to information from a source.

The citation can appear immediately after the quotation or paraphrase, or at the end of the sentence. If you’re quoting, place the citation outside of the quotation marks but before any other punctuation like a comma or full stop.

How do I cite a source with multiple authors in Harvard style?

In Harvard referencing, up to three author names are included in an in-text citation or reference list entry. When there are four or more authors, include only the first, followed by ‘et al.

In-text citation Reference list
1 author (Smith, 2014) Smith, T. (2014) …
2 authors (Smith and Jones, 2014) Smith, T. and Jones, F. (2014) …
3 authors (Smith, Jones and Davies, 2014) Smith, T., Jones, F. and Davies, S. (2014) …
4+ authors (Smith et al., 2014) Smith, T. et al. (2014) …


When should I include page numbers in a Harvard in-text citation?

In Harvard style, when you quote directly from a source that includes page numbers, your in-text citation must include a page number. For example: (Smith, 2014, p. 33).

You can also include page numbers to point the reader towards a passage that you paraphrased. If you refer to the general ideas or findings of the source as a whole, you don’t need to include a page number.

How do I cite a source I’ve only seen quoted in another source?

When you want to use a quote but can’t access the original source, you can cite it indirectly. In the in-text citation, first mention the source you want to refer to, and then the source in which you found it. For example:

Smith (1995, cited in Davies, 2005) divides the process into four steps…

It’s advisable to avoid indirect citations wherever possible, because they suggest you don’t have full knowledge of the sources you’re citing. Only use an indirect citation if you can’t reasonably gain access to the original source.

How do I cite multiple sources by the same author published in the same year?

In Harvard style referencing, to distinguish between two sources by the same author that were published in the same year, you add a different letter after the year for each source:

  • (Smith, 2019a)
  • (Smith, 2019b)

Add ‘a’ to the first one you cite, ‘b’ to the second, and so on. Do the same in your bibliography or reference list.

Is this article helpful?
Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes for Scribbr and reads a lot of books in his spare time.


20 February 2022 at 19:09

I am referencing a company website. but I am referencing multiple pages at different stages in my essay. for the in-text citing, how do I distinguish one reference from another, as they are all from the same organisation, and all from the same year?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
21 February 2022 at 12:00

Hi John,

You can check out this FAQ on what to do when you need to cite multiple sources with the same author and year.


Robin Stewart
9 January 2022 at 17:16

Hi Jack

I'm hoping you can clarify...I need to reference Joel Snyder from his essay Territorial Photography. This work is included in a book of essays by various authors titled Landscape and Power by W.J.T. Mitchell (2002).

Should I cite Snyder or Mitchell?

Thank you



Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
10 January 2022 at 12:02

Hi Rob,

For a case like this, follow the format shown here for citing a book chapter. It's the author of the essay that you mention in your in-text citation, but both names show up in the reference list entry.


8 January 2022 at 16:58

If I am citing the same source multiple times throughout a paragraph with different page numbers, how should I format that?
Federici (2014, p. 14) discusses...
This was seen as a small price to pay (Federici, 2014, p.3)...
Federici (2014, p.16) goes on to analyse...
...resulting in isolation (Federici, 2014, pp.17-19).
Thank you!


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
10 January 2022 at 12:18

Hi Lorna,

It's usually acceptable to leave out the author's name and year when you cite the same source repeatedly within one paragraph. So the first time you would mention the name and year, then subsequent citations can just consist of the page number: 'This was seen as a small price to pay (p. 3)'.

You can do this as long as it remains clear that you're still citing the same source. If you cite a different source in between, or if you've started a new paragraph, do reintroduce the full citation so that there's no possibility of confusion.


8 December 2021 at 12:45

Hi Jack, if I am citing a specific chapter from a book written by multiple historians how do I do an in-text citation. For example, the chapter is written by Esposito in a book edited by Richardson.


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
13 December 2021 at 13:40

Hi Finn,

For your bibliography entry for a chapter from a book with various authors, follow the format shown here. The in-text citation always uses the name that appears at the start of the bibliography entry, so that the reader can easily find the right entry. In this case that’s the author of the chapter. Therefore, in your example, you would use the name Esposito in your in-text citation.


18 August 2021 at 01:39

Hi, if I have already named the author in the text, i.e., Jones et al. (2016, p. 155) argue that the results of this method are ‘frequently unreliable’, do I still have to make an in-text citation at the back?

For example,
Jones et al. (2016, p. 155) argue that the results of this method are ‘frequently unreliable’ (Jones et al., 2016)

Thank you.


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
23 August 2021 at 15:48

Hi Adeline,

No, there's no need to include the citation again at the end of the sentence, since the first citation already gives all the information you need.


kedineetse Modisagae
30 June 2021 at 02:56

Hi Jack.How do I reference a source if I have used it in a different paragraph and would like to use the same source in another one.Do i in-text reference it the usually way or is there another way to do that?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
5 July 2021 at 15:51

There's no special format for citing the same source again; you should just use the same form of in-text citation as you did the first time. Hope that helps!


18 June 2021 at 22:17

Hi Jack

If I need to use multiple citations with multiple authors in one sentence, would I include et al., in them all. (they would all require et al., if they were the only reference - hope this makes sense!!


Jones, 2017; Bradshaw, 2018; Williams, 2020


Jones et al., 2017; Bradshaw et al., 2018; Williams et al., 2020

Thanks in advance!

Ps great work, much appreciated!

Ceri :)


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
23 June 2021 at 17:04

Hi Ceri,

Yes, you should always include 'et al.' where it's needed, however many citations there are in one place – otherwise it would look like each of these articles only had one author. So in your case, 'Jones et al., 2017; Bradshaw et al., 2018; Williams et al., 2020'!


Agustina Ghibaudi
26 February 2021 at 13:25

Hi, if I want to include a note following Hardvard style ... how may I do that ?

May I add the number and then at the bottom of the pag the note written ?




Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
1 March 2021 at 15:36

Hi Agustina,

Harvard style only covers how you handle your citations and references, and it does so in brackets within the text, not in footnotes.

If you want to add a footnote to provide additional information or commentary, you can certainly do so. See this article to read about how to use footnotes in this way and for an explanation of how to insert them automatically in Word.


19 February 2021 at 20:34

Hi Jack,

Is it possible to use x2 citations in one sentence?

Also, how would you achieve this if both sources share the same name and year? (e.g - Office for National Statistics, 2020)

Thank you :)


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
23 February 2021 at 14:55

Hi Emma,

You can certainly use multiple citations in one sentence. Each one can appear after the relevant quotation or paraphrase, or they can all appear together at the end of the sentence, within the same set of brackets but separated by semicolons. An example of this is shown here, under 'Naming the authors in brackets'.

See this FAQ for guidance on distinguishing between citations with the same author name and year. Basically, you distinguish citations that would otherwise be identical by adding a different letter after the year in each one.


Taslima Zannat
13 February 2021 at 17:23

It anyone have 4 part in a single name, how to write in text citation?
Name like,
Rajesh Hable Chayon Shams
or Grabriella V.K Jonh.


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
17 February 2021 at 17:44

Hi Taslima,

The rule is that only the surname is included in an in-text citation, not any first or middle names. So in your second example, you'd just list 'Jonh'. In the first example, it's slightly more difficult to decipher where the surname begins. When in doubt, just list the last name ('Shams'), unless it's hyphenated to a previous name (e.g. Phoebe Waller-Bridge's surname is 'Waller-Bridge', not just 'Bridge'). Or if you can find other citations of the same author in existing research, you can follow their way of citing the name.


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