CTS – Harvard Referencing System Essay

        WHAT IS REFERENCING?

In this short essay I will be discussing referencing, the origin of academic referencing as well as the use and purpose of it.

Referencing, or citation, is used to provide evidence to reinforce what you are writing. However you may also use referencing to acknowledge different points of view, as you may do in a debate, or while writing an academic paper, or to help illustrate your point with an example as well as to avoid accusations of plagiarism by showing where you got certain information from. While there are many different styles of referencing such as Harvard, Vancouver, AMA and more, I will be focusing on the Harvard system as this is what UAL use.

Harvard referencing was supposedly first used in an academic paper by Edward Laurens Mark in 1881 (Sedgwick Minot 1896), a biology professor at Harvard University, however it may have been “borrowed” from the Library of Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology (Chernin 1988).

While the name of the Harvard Referencing System is not attributed to the Harvard University institution, some claim it was coined by an English visitor,

“It is believed that an English visitor to the library of Harvard University was impressed by the system of bibliographical reference in use there, and dubbed it “the Harvard system” on return to England” (British Medical Journal, 1945)

The uses of the Harvard Referencing System are numerous but, as previously mentioned, it was originally as a form of bibliographical reference. You may use referencing for many different reasons such as, but not limited to;

  • A way of avoiding claims of plagiarism since it is a type of theft (although only illegal if it breaches copyright laws).
  • Making use of references during your work makes sure that credit is given where due for any source of information used during the writing of a body of work (such as this essay).
  • The fact you have references can help prove that research has been undertaken.
  • It also allows anyone who reads your work to check the materials themselves, either if it piques their curiosity or for verification purposes.

If you are quoting someone in a piece of written work you could write it as;

….they said “In life there are those who set the pace and those who follow the leader. Both will get you to the finish line, one will get you to the victory lane”.

However this would not be using the Harvard Referencing System. Instead, if you wanted to quote someone you might say,

““In life there are those who set the pace and those who follow the leader. Both will get you to the finish line, one will get you to the victory lane” (John Cena 2014)

Hopefully this has helped you to better understand the origin, use and purpose of the Harvard Referencing System. Please find a bibliography below for a complete list of resources used in this essay.

By John Reid

Bibliography

Cena, J. (2014) Twitter. Available from the link.

Chernin, E. (1988) British Medical Journal. United Kingdom: BMJ

Editorial Note/Anonymous (1945) British Medical Journal. United Kingdom: British Medical Journal.

Sedgwick Minot, C. (1896) Academic Paper

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