The American Psychological Association (APA) and the Harvard referencing style are among the most common format style of writing you are going to use in your college papers. As such, you may be thinking, what are the differences between APA and Harvard? Failing to have proper information on the differences can result into confusion in presentation and as a result, scoring poorly. The amount of work that you may be presented with may leave you thinking about whether there is academic research sites that writes students papers online.

similarities between apa and harvard referencing style

pen and paperGenerally, both apa and harvard referencing and citation are rather similar and have little difference in usage. The following are some of the similarities of apa reference and Harvard style format;

  • APA and Harvard format are based on author-date format in the in text citations
  • Harvard and apa employ the use of author’s surname when making an in-text citation.
  • All references must be listed in alphabetical order by author or initiation ie regardless of whether the books, website or journal article and so on.
  • Where there are multiple works from one writer or source they ought to be listed together but in date chronology with the latest work recorded first.

Difference between Harvard referencing and apa referencing

Both apa formatting style and harvard references are different in a number of ways.

  • Usage

Harvard is mostly used for source materials relating to natural science research. Moreover it is the most preferred stytem of referencing in most of scientific writing. On the other hand, apa style of writing is used for the writing educational social and behavioral sciences.

  • In text citation

It is basically placing an acknowledgement of source within your document and recognizing where you got the information from both Harvard and apa allow for in text citations with different detailing.This include:

  1. In-text citation in harvard follow the author-date format and bracketed within the writing or as footnotes below each page.The authors surname is usually followed by the date or year of publication and the page number if the quoted text refers to the particular page. Preferred punctuation vary from books, journal and website.

Harvard book in-text.“The hills trembled as the galloping warhorses came closer” (Bradley, 2006). Citing with a page number :Bradley notes that the hills trembled as the galloping horses drew nearer(2006:2).

APA referencing on the other hand, only the last name of the author is used followed by the year of publication and in instances where there are no author, the initials 2 or 3 of the words of the articles are used instead of page numbers.

How to cite a direct quote in apa

Benson (2006) notes, “The hills trembled as the galloping warhorses came closer”.

  • The reference page /reference list

The reference pages for Harvard and APA styles respectively contain a list of the sources that you have used within your work. Both Harvard and APA follow a uniform formatting style for different types of sources with slight differences as demonstrated.

apa referencing paper

The alphabetically list of sources that are directly mentioned within the paper is referred to as the References. The list comes immediately after the end of the document and contains only  data that can be recovered and not personal communications such as emails. When the sources are used but not directly mentioned in the paper, it is referred to as a Bibliography.

journal article apa reference

Journals in APA style follows the format shown below:

Author, A.A.. (Publication Year). Article title. Periodical Title, Volume (Issue), pp.-pp.

apa journal article example

Loevinsohn, B. P. (1990). Health education interventions in developing countries: a methodological review of published articles. International journal of epidemiology, 19(4), 788-794.

apa book referencing

Books take the following format:

Author, A.A.. (Year of Publication). Title of work. Publisher City , State: Publisher..

apa example:

Chetley, A. (1990). A healthy business?: world health and the pharmaceutical industry. London: Zed Books.

apa website citation

Author, A.A.. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Retrieved from URL.

For example:

Paul, S. (2014, 20 May) Facebook mobile ads boost Ikea in-store foot traffic claim EE and Facebook. Retrieved from https://internetretailing.net/themes/themes/facebook-mobile-ads-boost-ikea-in-store-foot-traffic-claim-ee-and-facebook-11771

harvard referencing style

The alphabetical list of sources that are directly mentioned within the paper is referred to as the References List. This comes at the end of the document and will contain a detailed list of all the sources used in the work. Below is  how to do harvard referencing.

journal article harvard referencing

Journal articles referenced in Harvard style follow the following format:

AUTHOR(S) SURNAME, First Name or Initials, Publication Year. Title of Article. Journal Title [online]. Volume number (Part or Issue or Month), Page Number(s). [viewed date]. Available from:

For example:

LOEVINSOHN, B. P., 1990. Health education interventions in developing countries: a methodological review of published articles. International journal of epidemiology [online]. 19(4), pp.788-794.

[Viewed 15 March 2019]. Available from:

Books harvard referencing

You should care to take the information for your reference from the title within the book. Ensure your work has the same spelling and wording as the book. The format should be as follows:

AUTHOR SURNAME, First Name or Initials., Year of Publication. Title. Edition (if not the 1st). Place: Publisher.

For example:

CHETLEY, A., 1990. A healthy business?: world health and the pharmaceutical industry. London: Zed Books.

Websites harvard referencing

AUTHOR SURNAME, First Name or Initials. or ORGANISATION NAME., Year of page creation or last updated. Title of page [online]. Organisation. [viewed date]. Available from: web address.

For example:

Skeldon, P., 2014, 20 May. Facebook mobile ads boost Ikea in-store foot traffic claim EE and Facebook. [online] Internet Retailing. [viewed 15 March 2019] Available from: https://internetretailing.net/themes/themes/facebook-mobile-ads-boost-ikea-in-store-foot-traffic-claim-ee-and-facebook-11771

To cap it off, perhaps the most important part of any work expected from writers is the standard courtesy of being able to properly and sufficiently reference and cite your research paper, article, essay or term paper in instances where you borrow ideas, thoughts and information from external sources to complete your text. This guide developed by nacopapers.com intends to provide a simplified guide to help you distinguish between harvard style referencing and cite a paper apa style and to know where to methodically apply each. As a student, I would be looking for the best custom writing to do my assignment cheap without breaking the bank and the best way to ensure you are getting value for your money is by ensuring you know how to cross check with your institution on the proper referencing mechanisms.