1. Fundamental Principles

In this chapter:  
Harvard AGPS Referencing Style Formatting your Harvard AGPS paper
Key terms In-text citation
When to cite Formatting the reference list
Reference components Where do I find the information?
Abbreviations Additional help

Harvard AGPS Referencing Style

Academic conventions and copyright law require that you acknowledge when you use the ideas of others. In most cases, this means stating where (i.e. which book, journal article, website, etc.) you sourced the idea or quotation.

As a university student, you are expected to read within your subject area/s, and to refer to such writings within your assessment tasks. Referring to the writings of researchers in your subject area shows your course examiner that:

  • You have studied the topic
  • You are aware of current knowledge within the topic, and
  • You can use the ideas of others to develop and support an argument or point of view.

It also allows your reader to locate the source should they wish to access it themselves.

To clearly differentiate your own thoughts from those of the experts whose work you are referring to, you need to provide a reference when you refer to the ideas or work of others. The reference, or citation, must follow the conventions of the referencing style stipulated by your course examiner.

Most UniSQ courses require you to use APA, Harvard AGPS, or AGLC. Your course materials should direct you to which one you need to use. If not, check with your course examiner.

This guide draws from:

Harvard referencing guides from other institutions are likely to differ to this guide. University policy mandates the use of the Harvard AGPS Style defined by this referencing guide.

Key terms

  • Bibliography

A bibliography is similar to a reference list, however, it can include resources used during research that are not cited in the assignment. At UniSQ, you are required to document your sources in a reference list when submitting work in Harvard AGPS style (unless you are specifically asked to include your sources in a bibliography).

  • Creative Commons (CC)

Creative Commons (CC) is an organisation that provides alternatives to standard copyright licenses. A CC license allows creative work to be shared within specified parameters. Always check what the specific CC license allows.

  • DOI

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique name assigned by the International DOI Foundation that provides a persistent link to a resource’s location on the Internet. When a DOI is available, no further retrieval information is needed to locate the content.  Harvard AGPS style does not use DOIs.

  • et al.

An abbreviation for ‘et alii’ which means and others.

  • In-text

Brief information about the source of your ideas. The in-text citation is provided where you used the idea, usually in the same sentence. Harvard AGPS Style in-text citations include the author and date of publication. Sometimes called ‘citation’ or ‘in-text reference.’

  • Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is the expression of ideas and information in your own words. It involves completely altering the sentence or paragraph structure. You must acknowledge the source/s when you paraphrase.

  • Periodical

A publication that is published at regular intervals, such as a journal, magazine, or newspaper.

  • Reference list

The reference list is where you provide the information necessary for your reader to identify and retrieve the sources you used for your assignment. To format your reference list, follow the guidelines under the heading ‘Formatting the reference list’ in this guide.

  • Secondary citation

A secondary citation is used when you cite a work that you found cited in another source, AND you cannot locate the original work. For guidelines on how to create a secondary citation see ‘Authors citing other authors’ under the heading ‘Variations in authors/creators’ in this guide.

  • URL

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a website address.

When to Cite

You need to include a citation every time you:

  • Quote directly from someone else’s work
  • Paraphrase someone else’s ideas
  • Quote directly or paraphrase from your own previous work, including an assignment
  • Use an image
  • Use numerical data or datasets

Citing your sources not only demonstrates that you are using the ideas from others in your field of study – and hence reading in that area – but also allows the reader to identify and locate that source for themselves.

Reference components

Harvard AGPS citations include four components: who, when, what, and where. These components enable the reader to locate the source.

Reference components


The following abbreviations may be used when referencing in Harvard AGPS Style (Snooks & Co. 2002, p. 191).

Abbreviation Book or publication part
edn edition
rev. edn revised edition
2nd edn second edition
ed. (eds) editor (editors)
trans translated by
dir. director
n.d. no date
n.p. no place
p. (pp.) page (pages)
vol. (vols) volume (volumes)
ser. series
no. (nos) number (numbers)
ch. chapter
MS, MSS manuscript(s)
suppl. supplement
c. circa
cf. compare (from Latin confer)
para. (paras) paragraph (paragraphs)
ellipses: use in place of omitted word/s
Sr, Jr Senior, Junior (include only in reference list, not in-text)
et al. and others
[square brackets] use to indicate changes or additional information for clarity


Paraphrasing is when you summarise the ideas, concepts or words from the work of someone else, or from your own previous work. Changing only a few words from someone else’s work does not constitute paraphrasing. Paraphrasing involves completely altering the sentence structure and rewriting the information in your own words.

When to include page numbers

Page numbers are recommended when paraphrasing or referring to information or an idea that can be located on a particular page or series of pages. Page numbers are not required in-text when you are referring to the general theme of a work.

Page numbers should appear after the year of publication, as shown in the following examples:

  • Soil layers below the well tip contribute relatively little water (Kozeny 1988, pp. 223-4).
  • Kozeny (1988, p. 223-4) found soil layers below the well tip contributed little.

Direct quotes

Quotations or quotes are when you use the exact words of someone else, or from your own published or unpublished work. Quotations must be referenced with page numbers. For sources that do not provide page numbers, use the paragraph number, if possible, preceded by the abbreviation ‘para.’ (e.g. Broome & Davies 1999, para. 5).

  • Quotations of less than 30 words (approximately) should form part of the text and be designated with single quotation marks.
    • e.g. Students receiving ‘additional information literacy training achieved higher grades than students who did not attend any skills’ sessions’ (Capel 2002, p. 323).
  • With quotations of 30 or more words, DO NOT use quotation marks. Indent the quote from the margin (about a half inch) and set in smaller type.

Block quotation example:

A number of studies have explored the relationship between personality and culture.

Doi (1973) has postulated amae as a core concept of the Japanese personality.  The root of this word means “sweet,” and loosely translated, amae refers to the passive, childlike dependence of one person on another.  It is said to be rooted in mother-child relationships. (Matsumoto & Juang 2008, p. 278)

  • Do not omit or alter citations embedded within the quote.
  • A citation within the direct quote is not included in your Reference list unless cited elsewhere in your work. In the example above, the 2008 publication (the source of the quote) is included in the list of references but the 1973 work mentioned within the quote is not, unless it is used as a source elsewhere in the work.

Formatting your Harvard AGPS paper

The Style Manual for authors, editors and printers (6th edn) provides guidance of a very general nature regarding font, font size and line spacing for Harvard AGPS publications (i.e. it recommends that formatting decisions should be based on factors such as the reading level of the audience and whether the work will be published in print or electronic format).  Therefore, it is recommended that UniSQ students consult their course materials and course examiner for any specific requirements relating to font, font size and line spacing when submitting work in Harvard AGPS style (including the Reference List).

In-text citation

For works with more than one author, list the author names in the order they appear in the source.

When including two or more references in the same parenthesis in a sentence, list all citations chronologically, separated by a semicolon (;) E.g. (Larsen 1969; Haddon 1971; Dendy 1975).

Use the author-date style method of citation for quotations (exact words of another author/creator) and paraphrasing (summarising the words and ideas of someone else). Note: Page numbers have been included in in-text citations for paraphrased material in this UniSQ Harvard AGPS referencing guide.

Formatting the reference list

  • The reference list should include only the sources you cite in your submission.
  • Harvard AGPS Style requires reference lists, not bibliographies.
  • The reference list begins on a new page with the heading – References.
  • Arrange entries in alphabetical order by the surname of the first author as the letters appear (e.g. M, Mac, MacD, Mc).
  • For works with more than one author, list the author names in the order they appear in the source.
  • If more than one work by an author is cited, list these by earliest publication date first.
  • If the list contains more than one item published by the same author(s) in the same year, add lower case letters immediately after the year to distinguish them (e.g. 1983a, 1983b).
  • If the place of publication contains a state, spell out the state or use a standard abbreviation.
  • The expression n.p. can be used if no place of publication is apparent for print materials. Online sources include a URL.
  • When you are unsure of the publisher’s location, cite only the place/city listed first, or use the location of the main editorial offices.

Source information is presented in the following order, with each item separated by a comma.

  • Author
  • Publication Date
  • Title of publication
  • Any of the following that apply
    • Title of series
    • Description of work (format)
    • Edition
    • Editor, compiler, reviser, translator
    • Volume and/or issue details
  • Publisher
  • Place of publication
  • Page number/s, if applicable.

Refer to the Sample Reference List at the end of this guide to see a reference list formatted in Harvard AGPS style.

Where do I find the information?

If you choose to download a citation for the source you are using (e.g. from databases or software such as Endnote) be careful to check the accuracy of the citation before including it in your assignment because errors in downloaded citations are common.


  • The title page of a book should provide:
    • The title
    • Subtitle
    • Name of the author/s (or creator, editor, etc.)
    • Publisher’s imprint (publisher’s name and location).
  • The reverse of the title page (also known as verso-title, imprint or reverse-title page) provides a lot more information, including:
    • Publisher’s name and address
    • Name of the editor, designer, photographer, etc., as appropriate
    • Copyright notice (including the year of copyright)
    • A list of editions and reprints
    • Details of other volumes in a multi-volume work.


  • The front page of a journal article should provide the information required for your citation but you may also need to look in the database entry or journal table of contents. Look for:
    • Title of the article
    • Title of the journal
    • Author/s
    • When the article was published, including the year, volume and issue numbers
  • Make a note of the URL for articles viewed online.
  • You also need the page range: the first and last page numbers.
  • Make a note of the date you viewed/saved/printed the article.

Internet sources

  • The goals of a citation to an online source are to credit the author/creator and to enable the reader to find the material.
    • You are looking for the ‘who’ (author), ‘when’ (date) and ‘what’ (title) elements. There is no standard place on a website to locate this information.
    • For the ‘where’ element, direct readers as closely as possible to the information; whenever possible, use the URL for the exact page.
    • When referring to an item located within a subscription site, use the home page URL.
    • A ‘viewed Day Month Year’ statement followed by the URL (in < >) replaces the location and name of the publisher typically provided for physical sources. This is particularly important for websites where information may be updated regularly.
    • If the source undergoes regular revision, the date for the most recent update should be used.
    • It is often appropriate to include additional information after the title of the work (similar to including an edition number for a book). Sometimes this is included as part of the title (e.g. a report number). This may include the format of the source.
    • For sources that do not provide page numbers, use the paragraph number, if possible, preceded by the abbreviation ‘para.’ (e.g. Broome & Davies 1999, para. 5).
  • To provide specific information from a website or web document within the text of an assignment, you must provide both an in-text citation and an entry in the reference list. Use the exact URL for the web page that has the information you are citing.
  • The only time you provide the URL of the home page of a website is:
    • When you mention it in passing (e.g. Comprehensive information about the University can be found at www.unisq.edu.au). In this instance, you include an in-text citation only.
    • When the specific information you are citing is on the home page. In this instance, follow the guidelines for how to cite and reference a web page or web document.
  • When citing specific information, create a reference following the guidelines for how to cite and reference a web page or web document.

What if I can’t find an example of the source type I want to reference?

This referencing guide includes examples for a wide range of source types. However it does not provide an example for every different source type that you may need to reference. If you are unable to find an example for the source type, you need to:

  • Think about your source type. Are there a few different types it might possibly be but you’re not sure which of those it actually is? If so, have a look at the guidelines for each of the different types it might be. The guidelines for creating the citation might be the same.
    • I.e. The guidelines for how to reference a web page and how to reference a web document are the same.
    • Consider combining different elements from more than one example within the guide.
      • E.g. To cite a newspaper article where you do not know who the author is, you will have to follow guidelines for both of the following:
        • No author, in the Author Variations section
        • Newspaper article.

Additional help

Contact the Library or consult the following:

Call number 808.02 STY

Call number 808.02 FAC

While the Library is not responsible for checking lists of references we can refer you to our referencing guides and the published manuals listed to help you ensure the accuracy of your referencing.


USQ Harvard AGPS Referencing Guide Copyright © by University of Southern Queensland. All Rights Reserved.

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