Skip to main content

Referencing - BU Harvard: Welcome


This Guide is not for BU students who study our Psychology course (Faculty of Science and Technology), History, or Law courses (both in Faculty of Media and Communications). Check the 'Who should use this guide' section below for more details.

Who should use this guide

  • The majority of courses at BU require you to use our Harvard style of referencing, except these courses: Law, History (both in Faculty of Media and Communications), and Psychology (in Faculty of Science and Technology).
  • Law students should follow BU’s online guides Referencing – International law and Referencing – UK & EU Law.
  • Psychology students should follow APA style.
  • History students should follow Chicago Style.
  • If you are an academic or PhD research staff writing for external publication please follow author guidelines issued to you by your publisher.

Changes made in the 2019 edition for the 19/20 academic year

Click on the headings below for information

  • This online guide has been re-designed: images added to make it more visual, clearer font size, and, pages re-structured to reduce scrolling through lengthy pages of dense text. Source types with instructions how to reference each (on the Reference List page) have been switched around, so now online examples are listed before print examples.
  • Referencing is a two part process description, and, why you need to reference clarified – page 2 of PDF guide and on the Introduction page of this online guide.
  • Separation of guidance for newspaper and magazine articles (previously merged under section titled Newspaper or Magazine article) – page 10 of PDF guide and on the Newspaper page and Magazine page of this online guide.
  • Thesis example updated to include URL and accessed date for e-thesis – page 11 of PDF guide and the Thesis page of this online guide.
  • Translated materials re-titled ‘Translated materials (non-English sources)’ and extended to cover when you translate sources into English – page 12 of PDF guide and on the Translated Materials page of this online guide.
  • Computer Program example updated – page 12 of PDF guide and on the Computer Program page of this online guide.
  • 'Online Tools & Apps' tab re-titled 'Referencing Generator Tools & Apps' page 14 of PDF guide and relevant page of this online guide.

Some extra details added to this online guide that we could not fit into the PDF guide (we're doing our best to keep the PDF document to 14 pages long maximum!):

  • Data (for Postgraduate Researchers and Academics) page added the Reference List tab's drop down menu of links this online guide.
  • Extra notes added to Images or Photographs page of this online guide recommending you choose to use copyright free / creative commons licensed, free to use images and photos. Connects to guidance how to layout figures.
  • Encyclopaedia or Dictionary example extended to instruct how to reference information found using CREDOreference in the Encyclopaedia or Dictionary page of this online guide.

URL's for two pages of this guide have been changed (under the 'Reference List' tab):

Newspaper article example page:

Now 'magazine' has been removed and it's:
  • URL was:

Dictionary or Encyclopaedia example page:

  • Tutorials: BU Harvard Referencing 
    • For all BU students except those studying Law, Psychology or History courses (who need to follow links in the 'Who should use this guide' section on this page)
    • Part one is to help improve your understanding
    • Part two gives you a chance to practise BU Harvard referencing
    • We recommend allowing up to 15 minutes to complete each part (30 minutes total). You do not have to complete all of it, or finish it in one attempt. You may dip in and out of it, choosing what you wish to learn
  • Quiz: Understanding Plagiarism as an Academic Offence

Purpose of this guide

  • This online guide recommends how to cite and reference according to BU’s version of the Harvard style for 2019/20 academic year starting 23 September 2019.
  • Use the links on the left, the tabs above, or you may use the PDF version of this guide (tab above).
  • There is no single authority that defines the 'Harvard' referencing style. There is no standard version of Harvard referencing. ‘Harvard’ is a generic term for any style that contains author-date references.
  • You should also check Faculty / Unit / Dissertation Handbooks where you may find further information and / or you may receive further instruction (e.g. about layout) from Academic Staff.

Why you need to reference

  • When writing / creating a piece of university work, you need to indicate where you have referred to sources written or produced by others.
  • Consistency and accuracy of referencing is important to verify quotations, and, enable readers to follow up and read cited author’s arguments.
  • Referencing is necessary to avoid plagiarism which is a serious academic offence (BU's webpage: How to avoid academic offences)
  • You should follow the examples in this guide every time you cite and reference.

Contact us

Chat is currently unavailable - please telephone us.

Phone help available 24x7
+44(0)1202 965959


Usage and Attribution of this Guide

Creative Commons License:

Attribution - Noncommercial - Sharealike

If you wish to cite content from this guide, please use the following notation:

If you wish to cite this document please use the following notation:

Bournemouth University, 2019. Referencing - BU Harvard [online]. Poole: Bournemouth University. Available from: [Accessed Date].

Report a broken link

If you click on any broken links in this guide, you may report it by emailing:

Referencing at BU: Video