Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Learning Harvard Style

I am currently working with some colleagues in writing a research article for a journal which none of us have attempted publication in previously. We are all learning new things as a result.

One of the things I am struggling to get my head around is the fine nuances of Harvard Style citations and referencing, as there is an apparent paucity of handbooks which illustrate the intricacies. I am used to APA. I have written previous articles using APA. I know how to cite, how to quote, and how to reference all the tricky little things that we hardly ever need to think about.

I understand that arcane elements like white papers, multiple authors, and pre-press book chapters. But I don't even know where to go to find out with Harvard Style. I am reluctant to use MS Word's built-in referencing function, because I may rely too much upon it, and therefore not see rookie mistakes, and therefore jeopardise the acceptance of our article.

After a day of looking, I have finally found a Palgrave handbook called "Cite them Right" (Pears & Sheilds, 2019), which I hope may help me. Once I have digested the relevant chapters within the book, then I will be able to go forth and translate all our references into Harvard style from APA.

There are small things that catch us, such as no ampersand for multiple authors inside a bracket, but the use of an 'and' both inside and outside. "no date" is written in full instead of being abbreviated. "et al." is italicised. Book chapter citations include the page range in the citation bracket, even when not a quote. If quoting a webpage, we should include the paragraph number. URL home pages may be used as an author name instead of the actual author. 

Article titles are in single quote marks in the reference list. References contain stub DOIs, and are preceded by "doi:". References have no full stops up until the page range with articles, or the end of the title with books. A page range is indicated with a "pp.". The publishing house location is included. There is no space between the author initials and the full stops. 

Many elements look similar, which is good, but there are enough differences for me to need to be hyper-alert. This feels a little like attempting a new language: sometimes elements are so similar we can build off what we already know. And others are so different that they will make what we say incomprehensible.

Ah, well. Learning is learning: and no learning is ever wasted.



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