Citing and referencing is a key part of academic literacy and shows that you have researched your topic. If you don't reference sources that you have used, this is plagiarism as you are passing off another author's ideas as your own. Citing and referencing allows your reader to trace the provenance of your arguments and find and read your source materials if they wish to. Proper citing and referencing also demonstrates to your lecturer that you understand academic writing conventions.
You should include a citation when you use someone else’s idea to support a point made in your work. This use of another's ideas can take the form of
The Harvard style comprises a brief citation at the relevant point in your text (surname, year) and the full reference in your reference list at the end of your text. Have a look at the style guides below for examples of the different ways you can include an in-text citation.
"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants"
attributed to Sir Isaac Newton
Academic knowledge is expanded and developed by building on existing knowledge, and in academia it is customary and ethically necessary for you to acknowledge sources through proper and accurate citation. You should consider citing when you want to
These were among 15 reasons for citing listed by Garfield (1996).
Garfield, E. (1996). When to cite. The Library Quarterly, 66(4): 449-458.
A Note about Formatting
Harvard is one of the most popular referencing styles and, over time, many variants of the Harvard style have emerged - just comparing the resources above will expose subtle variations. Your reference list must be formatted consistently so if you are using a reference generator you may still need to do some minor editing to ensure consistency of formatting.
The content of a reference depends on the format of the source being cited. Here are a couple of key examples of reference list entries from our Harvard style guide. Spot the differences; why do you think these are important?