According to the American Psychological Association (APA), reference citations in the text are placed within parentheses, including author and publishing year. APA is the most developed and used among the reference styles that originates from the so-called Harvard system of referencing.
Even though it is sometimes referred to as the Harvard system, Harvard is not a uniform system as such, but rather a set of different styles, distinguished from each other on a detailed level. There are two main styles of the Harvard system: The Author-date style which is used by APA, and the Author-title or Author-page style, recommended by the Modern Language Association (MLA).
The following document is based on the APA manual of the American Psychological Association:
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
The APA manual is a whole style guide for writing academic texts but also offers the most detailed description of the Harvard style, or parenthetical style, of referencing.
The style is frequently used in the natural sciences, social and behavioral sciences and medicine.
The advantages with this style is that the reader does not need to jump between the text and notes.
Without interrupting the reading process, the reader is informed on what source has been used.
The notation used in the references (such as pages, chapters, editors etc.) is in concord with the language used elsewhere in the text, not the language used in the material that you refer to.
Content updated 2015-12-08