One of the most crucial aspect to consider in any academic writing is a clear presentation of information in a custom way. Your text format matters just as the content you’ve included in the text. Personal views should always be supported using outsourced research materials rather than writing obscurely. Harvard style is one of the modern writing styles and formats used in custom research papers writing. Students are expected to master how Harvard styled paper should look like regarding structure, organization, logical flow of ideas, citation and referencing. This guideline provides basics on how to write a research paper in the Harvard Style.

What is Harvard Style?

writingAlso, referred to as Author-Date Style, the Harvard style is mainly used for academic, scientific writing. Unlike other referencing styles, Harvard style has no single definitive version. The format emphasizes the author of a source and publication date, with the reference list in alphabetical order at the end of the paper. While there are critical differences between Harvard and APA writing formats, the two tend to record the same type of information, including author’s name, publication date, and the name of the book, article/journal, website, report, volume, page numbers and others.

General Paper Formatting Guidelines

General Rules
• Include cover page/Title page
• Text aligned to the left
• 1-inch margin from all sides
• Recommended fonts- Times New Roman 12 pt. or Arial 12 pt.
• Double spacing for all lines
• Indent the first line of each paragraph by 0.5″
• Center your title in the first page right before the content
• Include Headers and page numbers
• Include subheadings

Title Page

Also known as the cover page, the title page, the title page makes the first page of your paper. It should have necessary information including;
• The title of your paper-Written in caps, centered and placed about one-third way down the page.
• Write your name, centered about halfway down the page
• Write your course and course number, centered
• Include the name of your professor on the next line, then the name of your institution and finally the date.

Headers, Title and Page Numbers

• Center-align a title before the text of your paper. All the main keywords should be capitalized.
• Don’t ident, bold, underscore or italicize your title
• Insert page number in the header of the article, in the top right of the page
• Include a page number in the header of your paper, in the top right corner of a page
• Insert the title of your article in the header, just before the page number


• Use subheadings to divide your text into parts. Level 1 headings divide the paper into subsections, and level 2 headings divide the sections into subsections.
• Level 1 headings appear just like the paper title. They are capitalized and centered, but not italicized, not bolded, not indented and not underscored. Start your text on a new line on a new line right after the heading. The first line of your writing should be indented by 0.5″.
• Level 2 headings also need to be capitalized. However, they should be aligned to the left margin of the paper. They are not centered, not bolded, not italicized, not underscored, and not indented. Indent and start typing your subsection text on a new line as usual.

Harvard Referencing Format

The general format for Harvard paper referencing includes;
• Author’s last name, first initial
• Publication year
• Source title (in capital)
• Publisher or city of publication
• page number from where the information has been obtained/retrieved

In-text Citation

Harvard style in-text citation format uses the name of the author, first initial, year of publication and the page number where the information was extracted. Cite all the summary, paraphrases, quotations and summary. When a source has four or more authors, include the word ‘et al.’ after the first author to mean “and others”.

Reference List

In Harvard, list of references should be titled “Reference List.” The two words are centered and capitalized, same to level 1 headings. Your list should include bibliographical entry of all the sources used and cited in your paper and listed in alphabetical order. Conversely, each cited source in your writing should have a corresponding reference list. Though in-text citation requires that you used the word ‘et al.’ in a case where there are four or more authors, the relevant reference should include all the authors.