Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

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.
  • This online guide recommends how to cite and reference according to BU’s version of the Harvard style for 2020/21 academic year, starting 21st September 2020.
  • List of edits made to the 2020 edition (bottom of the Welcome page).

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.

Purpose of this guide

  • This online guide recommends how to cite and reference according to BU’s version of the Harvard style for 2020/21 academic year, starting 21st September 2020.
  • 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.

Referencing at BU: Video

Contact us

Chat is currently unavailable - please telephone us.

For IT support:
tel. +44 (0) 1202 965515
available 24x7

facebook logo twitter logo instagram logo

Usage and Attribution of this Guide

Creative Commons License:

Attribution - Noncommercial - Sharealike

Creative Commons logo

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, 2020. 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:

Edits made to the 2020 edition

Section in Introduction page:

  • Guidance on Personal Communications was duplicated in online guide on Introduction page and Citing in the main text of your work, part n. Removed from Introduction page.
  • Link to video added: recording of Librarian's BU Harvard Referencing Workshop.

Sections in Citing in the Main Text of Your Work (pages 4 – 8 of PDF guide):

  • Personal communications guidance re-written and clarified in this online guide: Citing in the main text of your work, part n (or section 2.1 n page 6 of PDF guide): now recommends “You may consider adding personal communications to an Appendix section (check with the academic setting your assignment before including Appendices).”
  • ‘Unpublished sources (e.g. lectures, internal documents, leaflets, posters etc.)’ re-written in this online guide: Citing in the main text of your work, part o (or section 2.1 o page 7 of PDF guide). Point about lectures now states: “University lectures are not published sources to be used as academic evidence in your work (except when an academic grants permission to do so). The purpose of an academic's lecture (e.g. recordings, slides and notes posted on Brightspace units) is to aid your learning and direct you to sources for independent study and revision.”

Pages in Reference List at the End of Your Work – Examples (pages 8 to 14 of PDF guide):

  • Mis-match (that was spotted during the 19/20 academic year) between online Mintel report example in PDF and online guide corrected. URL removed from Mintel source example in this online guide: Report example page.
  • Removed this instruction from referencing legislation in BU’s Harvard style: “Legislation should appear in a separate list after the main list of references (in alphabetical order).” Legislation can now appear alphabetically listed in the Reference List at the end of work, there is no need to list legislation separately.
  • In Jan’ 2020 ‘Data (for PG Researchers and Academics)’ page was re-titled ‘Data / Data Sets’ in this online guide.

Plagiarism page: