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Textual reference according to Harvard

You need to provide a textual reference when you are using information or a line of argument from another source. The textual reference shall be placed immediately after the information you have quoted or summarized. If you have summarized another text it is enough to put a reference in the end of each paragraph. If the summary extends over several pages, you need to provide a textual reference on each page.

The textual reference consists of a parenthesis containing the authors surname, the publication year and the page. An alternative is to write the surname in the text, and just the publication year and page in the parenthesis.

One to three authorsI

If the source has three authors all three shall be included in the textual reference. If you choose to write the author's names in the text you replace the &-sign with and (see below).

  • (Liljedahl 2001, p. 20)
  • (Olofsson, Nilsson & Wahllöf 2010, p. 20-30).
  • Olofsson, Nilsson och Wahllöf (2010, p. 20-30) claim that ...

Four or more authors

If you have a source with four or more authors, you write only the first name followed by the abbreviation et al. which means and others.

  • (Eriksson et al. 2011, p. 87)
  • (Winch et al. 2011, p. 126)

Note that you in the reference list write the complete author names, i.e., also the first names. If there are more than three authors this applies for the first author.

Authors with the same surname

If two authors have the same surname, you include their initials in the textual reference, in order to keep them separated. Note that the placing of initials depends on whether they occur within or outside the parenthesis.

  • (Liljedahl, O. 2001, p. 20)
  • O. Liljedahl (2001, p. 20) consider...

Several publications by the same author

Sometimes, the same author has published several publications the same year. To separate these, you use letters a, b, c etc immediately after the publication year. You follow the alphabetic order of titles in determining which reference should be a or b.

  • (Liljedahl 2001b, p. 20)
  • (Liljedahl 2001a, p. 5)

If you refer to two publications of the same author in the same reference, you should use chronological order.

  • (Liljedahl 2001, 2002)
  • (Liljedahl 2001a, p. 5, 2001b, p. 20)

The chronological order also applies to the reference list.


If a book does not have an author, but has editors, the first editor's name is used instead. It should be evident that the textual reference refer to an editor. If the book has neither author nor editor, the publication might be published by an organization or a company. In these cases, the organization, the authority or the company should be used in the textual reference.

  • (Langford red. 2000, p. 120)
  • (Informationsteknologikommissionen 2001, p. 152

If your source lacks all of the above originators, you write the title of the publication before the year and page in the textual reference.

  • (Cyniskt om äldrevården 2002)

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