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Difference between Harvard and APA Referencing style

Assignments like essays, research papers, dissertations etc. are an integral part of the academic life of students anywhere in the world. For completing assignments in most cases like at higher academic levels, students are required to complete assignments by including references as well.

References are basically used to appreciate and recognize the owner of information that you are using in your work. References are also used to provide proof to support the arguments and claims that you make in your assignments. It provides the reader with an insight which just shows how much hard work and research you have put in completing your assignments and other written work. References are used whenever you are using any piece of information that belongs to or is written by someone else. It helps to avoid plagiarism which in simple terms means copying the work of others and using it as your own work.

Referencing usually consists of two parts namely, in-text citations and the list of references.

Assignment HelpThe in-text citations are incomplete references that are used after each piece of information taken from different sources. The in-text citations provide the readers with just enough information so that they can find the complete reference information in the list of references. The list of references, on the other hand, is located at the end of the assignments or other written work. The list of references provides readers with all the information of the sources used such as author’s name, title, chapter, page number, etc which the reader can easily use to find the particular source if needed. It is important that each in-text citation has its own reference along with the complete information of the source in the list of references.


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There are a number of referencing styles used but the APA (American Psychological Association) and Harvard are the most commonly used referencing styles. These two referencing styles are quite similar but they do have differences and some of them are mentioned below:


  1. List of References:

In the Harvard style, the list of references is called the “Reference List” whereas in the APA style it is just called “References”.


  1. Page number citation:

There is also a difference in the style of citing page numbers. In the Harvard style, it is cited as (year, number) whereas in the APA style it looks something like (year: page number).


  1. Edit citation:

Whenever any change is made in the work or is edited in the Harvard referencing style, it is cited by using the term “ed[s]” or “edited by” with the editor name mentioned after the title of the work. In the APA referencing style, the term “(Ed[s])” is used to cite the edited work with the author name mentioned before the title of the work.


  1. Website references:

In the Harvard referencing style, the website sources are referenced in the list of references as

Last name, First name initial. (Year published). Page title. [online] Website name. Available at: Website link [Accessed Day Month. Year].

The website sources in the APA referencing style are referenced as

Last name, First initial. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Retrieved from URL.


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