The basics of Harvard UniSA Referencing

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Course: Referencing
Book: The basics of Harvard UniSA Referencing
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Date: Saturday, 26 November 2022, 7:18 PM

Why reference?

Referencing is a standard practice used in academic writing to show your reader which ideas you have gathered from other sources and where those ideas came from’ (UniSA 2018, p. 2).


  • acknowledges the ideas of others
  • allows you to use these ideas to build an argument
  • shows the range of ideas and approaches you have found and thought about
  • reflects standard academic practice and values
  • emphasises that you have used expert and reliable sources
  • prevents circumstances where plagiarism can occur  

Video Icon Watch this short video for an overview




Many referencing styles exist, and different disciplines use different styles. This referencing site focuses on the Harvard UniSA Referencing style but information about other styles can be found elsewhere on this website.

How to reference using Harvard UniSA

The two components to a Harvard UniSA reference are:


In-text References

An in-text reference is provided each time you refer to ideas or information from another source, and includes:

  • the author’s family name (not given names)/authoring body or organisation
  • the year of publication
  • page numbers (when quoting word for word; summarising or paraphrasing; or referring to tables, numbers, dates or images)

There are two main ways to present an in-text reference. One way gives prominence to the information by placing the reference at the end of your sentence in brackets:

Families can draw upon different strategies for raising bilingual children (Hoffman 2014, p. 44).

The other way gives prominence to the author by placing the reference in the body of your sentence, with the author's name incorporated into the sentence structure and the date in brackets:

Hoffman (2014, p. 44) identifies different strategies that families can draw upon for raising bilingual children.


The Reference List

Hoffman, C 2014, Introduction to bilingualism, Routledge, London.

The reference list provides full bibliographic details for all the sources referred to in your assignment and each different source you have referenced to in your assignment must have a matching entry in your reference list.

The reference list is titled References and is:

  • arranged alphabetically by author’s family name (or title/sponsoring organisation where a source has no author)
  • a single list where books, journal articles and electronic sources are listed together.

The main elements required for all references are the author, year, title and publication information.

  Download The reference list quick guide for Harvard UniSA.


 For more information and more examples go to the Harvard Referencing Guide UniSA

How to quote using Harvard UniSA

Quoting is when you copy words, a phrase, sentence or passage straight from a source and incorporate them into your own writing. You must always provide a reference when you quote another source directly, and particular punctuation or formatting must be used to show where the quote begins and ends.

There are two different quoting styles used in Harvard UniSA:

Short Quotes

Short quotes (i.e. less than 30 words long) should be enclosed in single quotation marks ('...') and be accompanied by an in-text reference including a page number where possible:

Short Quote Example

Long Quotes

Longer quotes (i.e. longer than 30 words) should be presented without quotation marks, be indented on both sides, be one font size smaller than the rest of the text and be accompanied by an in-text reference including a page number where possible:

Example of a long quote

How to paraphrase using Harvard UniSA

Paraphrasing is presenting ideas and information in your own words and acknowledging where they come from. By using your own words, you demonstrate your understanding and your ability to convey this information.

Paraphrasing is not simply changing a few words from the original. The process of paraphrasing from a reading involves:

  • reading the source
  • checking your understanding
  • writing the main points down
  • using the points to write new sentences

Compare your paraphrase with the original to check that:

  • the meaning is unchanged
  • strings of words haven't been copied
  • the source has been acknowledged with a reference


Important Icon

It is important to note that if your wording is too close to the original, it can be considered plagiarism,
even if an in-text reference has been included. 


Test your knowledge icon Test your Knowledge

For many second generation Australians the use of the community language is associated primarily with interactions involving members of the first generation: parents, older relatives and family friends. In other words, it is the intergenerational language. In some families and communities, this practice continues to be influenced by the older generation’s limited competencies in English. In most cases though, it is linked to the older generation’s preference for the use of the community language in familial settings for a plethora of reasons. 

(Source: Pauwels, 2011, p. 156)

Look at the paragraph about community languages above. How would you paraphrase this? When you are ready to test your knowledge look at the three paraphrases of the paragraph in the quiz below and decide whether or not they are acceptable.  

(Note: the format used in this quiz is in APA 7.  Always check what referencing style you are required to use and refer to the appropriate guide as advised by your course lecturer or tutor)

Link iconFor more on plagiarism and what is acceptable paraphrasing, click here.