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What is Harvard Style?
What you need to know, harvard style tutorial.
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The Harvard referencing system is known as the Author-Date style . It emphasizes the name of the creator of a piece of information and the date of publication, with the list of references in alphabetical order at the end of your paper.
Unlike other citation styles, there is no single, definitive version of Harvard Style. Therefore, you may see a variation in features such as punctuation, capitalization, abbreviations, and the use of italics.
Always check with your instructor and follow the rules he or she gives you.
- Harvard Style Guidelines Your class handout
- Harvard Referencing Quick Guide From Staffordshire University
Harvard Style will affect your paper in two places:
- In-text citations in the body of your paper, and
- The reference list at the end of your paper
- All in-text citations should be listed in the reference list at the end of your paper.
- Reference list entries need to contain all the information that someone reading your paper would need in order to find your source.
- Reference lists in Harvard Style are arranged alphabetically by first author.
- Begin your Reference list on a new page after your text and number it consecutively.
Sample References List:
Click on the Links Below to See Additional Examples:
- Sample Paper Paper provided by Kurt Olson
- Harvard Citation Examples Document created by The University of Western Australia
Click on the image below to launch this tutorial that was created by the University of Leeds. The section on Citing in Text is especially useful.
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A Quick Guide to Harvard Referencing | Citation Examples
Published on 14 February 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on 15 September 2023.
Referencing is an important part of academic writing. It tells your readers what sources you’ve used and how to find them.
Harvard is the most common referencing style used in UK universities. In Harvard style, the author and year are cited in-text, and full details of the source are given in a reference list .
Harvard Reference Generator
Table of contents
Harvard in-text citation, creating a harvard reference list, harvard referencing examples, referencing sources with no author or date, frequently asked questions about harvard referencing.
A Harvard in-text citation appears in brackets beside any quotation or paraphrase of a source. It gives the last name of the author(s) and the year of publication, as well as a page number or range locating the passage referenced, if applicable:
Note that ‘p.’ is used for a single page, ‘pp.’ for multiple pages (e.g. ‘pp. 1–5’).
An in-text citation usually appears immediately after the quotation or paraphrase in question. It may also appear at the end of the relevant sentence, as long as it’s clear what it refers to.
When your sentence already mentions the name of the author, it should not be repeated in the citation:
Sources with multiple authors
When you cite a source with up to three authors, cite all authors’ names. For four or more authors, list only the first name, followed by ‘ et al. ’:
Sources with no page numbers
Some sources, such as websites , often don’t have page numbers. If the source is a short text, you can simply leave out the page number. With longer sources, you can use an alternate locator such as a subheading or paragraph number if you need to specify where to find the quote:
Multiple citations at the same point
When you need multiple citations to appear at the same point in your text – for example, when you refer to several sources with one phrase – you can present them in the same set of brackets, separated by semicolons. List them in order of publication date:
Multiple sources with the same author and date
If you cite multiple sources by the same author which were published in the same year, it’s important to distinguish between them in your citations. To do this, insert an ‘a’ after the year in the first one you reference, a ‘b’ in the second, and so on:
Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.
A bibliography or reference list appears at the end of your text. It lists all your sources in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, giving complete information so that the reader can look them up if necessary.
The reference entry starts with the author’s last name followed by initial(s). Only the first word of the title is capitalised (as well as any proper nouns).
Sources with multiple authors in the reference list
As with in-text citations, up to three authors should be listed; when there are four or more, list only the first author followed by ‘ et al. ’:
Reference list entries vary according to source type, since different information is relevant for different sources. Formats and examples for the most commonly used source types are given below.
- Entire book
- Book chapter
- Translated book
- Edition of a book
- Print journal
- Online-only journal with DOI
- Online-only journal with no DOI
- General web page
- Online article or blog
- Social media post
Sometimes you won’t have all the information you need for a reference. This section covers what to do when a source lacks a publication date or named author.
No publication date
When a source doesn’t have a clear publication date – for example, a constantly updated reference source like Wikipedia or an obscure historical document which can’t be accurately dated – you can replace it with the words ‘no date’:
Note that when you do this with an online source, you should still include an access date, as in the example.
When a source lacks a clearly identified author, there’s often an appropriate corporate source – the organisation responsible for the source – whom you can credit as author instead, as in the Google and Wikipedia examples above.
When that’s not the case, you can just replace it with the title of the source in both the in-text citation and the reference list:
Harvard referencing uses an author–date system. Sources are cited by the author’s last name and the publication year in brackets. Each Harvard in-text citation corresponds to an entry in the alphabetised reference list at the end of the paper.
Vancouver referencing uses a numerical system. Sources are cited by a number in parentheses or superscript. Each number corresponds to a full reference at the end of the paper.
A Harvard in-text citation should appear in brackets every time you quote, paraphrase, or refer to information from a source.
The citation can appear immediately after the quotation or paraphrase, or at the end of the sentence. If you’re quoting, place the citation outside of the quotation marks but before any other punctuation like a comma or full stop.
In Harvard referencing, up to three author names are included in an in-text citation or reference list entry. When there are four or more authors, include only the first, followed by ‘ et al. ’
Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference in meaning:
- A reference list only includes sources cited in the text – every entry corresponds to an in-text citation .
- A bibliography also includes other sources which were consulted during the research but not cited.
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.
Caulfield, J. (2023, September 15). A Quick Guide to Harvard Referencing | Citation Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 14 November 2023, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/referencing/harvard-style/
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Two or more works cited at one point in the text
If two or more works by different authors or authoring bodies are cited at one point in the text, use a semi-colon to separate them:
(Larsen 2000; Malinowski 1999)
The authors should be listed in alphabetical order.
Two or three authors or authoring bodies
When citing a work by two or three authors or authoring bodies, cite the names in the order in which they appear on the title page:
(Malinowski, Miller & Gupta 1995)
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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / Harvard Referencing
Harvard Referencing Style Guide
What is referencing.
Whenever you write, the writings of others will influence your work. Although it is difficult to gauge all the influences, many of your ideas can be traced back to the resources and materials that you have consulted. These might be books, images , articles, reports, or, of course, the internet. These sources help enrich your writing by giving you ideas to build on. It is important always to give credit to the original thinkers and authors.
Referencing is the method that gives credit to the sources you have used in your work. You should provide references whenever you use a direct quote, paraphrase someone else’s idea, or borrow conceptual words and phrases.
Referencing not only allows credit to be given where credit is due, but it also helps track the various influences on any original piece of writing. If you do not cite the sources of the ideas that you have used in your work, you run the risk of plagiarism. Plagiarism is not only unethical but is also an actual crime in some of its forms. But how do you reference?
Elements of Harvard referencing style
Harvard referencing is a popular method of adding citations to your work. Its appeal lies in the simplicity of the basic system it uses – the author-date structure. Along with this, in Harvard style, you only need to mention the source in two locations: in the in-text reference(s) and in the reference list. Both elements together incorporate all the necessary details about a source in the most efficient way.
So, while reading something, when you come across a citation that looks something like this:
Furley (1999) or (Furley, 1999)
it is an in-text reference that follows the author-date system.
This is an entry in the reference list for the same in-text reference.
Furley, D. (1999) Routledge history of philosophy volume II: from Aristotle to Augustine . 1st edn. London: Routledge.
These Harvard referencing examples provide details about the citation formats for different types of sources.
As is obvious from the name, Harvard in-text citations are references included within the text, that is, inside the sentences that make up its content. These can either be direct statements or quotes, or a paraphrasing of the original work. This type of reference helps in precisely pointing out which portions of the text are borrowed from or influenced by which particular source.
In his work, Furley (1999) wrote about… OR …from Aristotle’s works (Furley, 1999).
As you can see, in-text references provide the author’s surname and the year of publication. The year is provided because sometimes two or more works by the same author are referenced. In this case, the year helps in distinguishing between these works. Note that if you are citing a direct quotation, the in-text citation should also include the page number of that quote, for example (Furley, 1999, p. 2).
However, in-text citations don’t provide other important details about these resources. Rather, they are short enough that you don’t get interrupted while reading the text. Other details are presented in the reference list that you include at the end of your paper.
A reference list presents the details of all the resources cited throughout the text in the form of a list at the end of your paper. It includes detailed entries about each of the referenced sources.
Surname, Initial. (Publication year) Name of the document . Place of publication: Publisher.
Every in-text citation corresponds to an entry in the reference list. So, the reference list entry for the in-text citations discussed above would be:
Einstein, M. (2004) Media diversity: economics, ownership, and the FCC. New Jersey: Routledge.
This entry can also include other details like page numbers, editor’s name, edition, URL, access date, etc., depending upon the type of resource. A reference list allows you to provide all the necessary information without crowding your paper. With this list, you can keep track of how many materials you have consulted and even see if you need to include any more or any other kind of references in your text.
The difference between a bibliography and the Harvard referencing system
Typically, you’ll refer to multiple sources and materials for writing a text, and just using a bibliography can be confusing. You can use the Harvard referencing system to point out the exact location of all your references.
By marking the in-text reference, you can easily locate which idea or quote corresponds to which author. This makes your work easy to read and understand. This way, you and your reader can easily trace the specific portions of the work back to the original texts.
You can also show how much of your text uses source material (whether directly or indirectly) and how much of it is your own ideas and thoughts.
Format for Harvard Referencing
Typically, a paper that uses Harvard referencing has the following format:
- 2.5 cm OR 1-inch margins on all sides
- Recommended fonts: Arial 12 pt or Times New Roman, with double-spacing
- Title is in the center of the page just above the text
- Left-aligned text, with the first sentence of every paragraph indented by 0.5 inch
- Last name is at the top-right corner of the header, followed by page number
- Title page is centre-aligned
- Subheadings are in sentence case and left-aligned
- Referencing is a way of crediting the various resources consulted while writing a text. Harvard referencing is a system that allows you to include information about the source materials. It is based on the author-date system.
- It includes references: 1) as in-text citations and 2) in a reference list (which is different from a bibliography).
- In-text citations: (Author Surname, Year Published).
- Reference list entry: Author Surname, Initial. (Year Published) Title . Place of Publication: Name of Publisher.
For more help creating citations in Harvard style, try the EasyBib Harvard referencing generator !
Published October 25, 2020.
Harvard Formatting Guide
- et al Usage
- Direct Quotes
- In-text Citations
- Multiple Authors
- Page Numbers
- Writing an Outline
- View Harvard Guide
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Harvard Referencing Examples
Other Citation Styles
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Harvard referencing quick guide: Sample assignment
- General guidelines
- Citing and referencing material
- Referencing software
Citing and reference list example
The text to the right shows how citations and the reference list are typically written in the Harvard referencing style.
Note: the text itself is not designed to be a proper example of academic writing and does not use information from the sources cited; it is for illustrative purposes only.
The purpose of this assignment is to show common elements of the Harvard style of referencing in Dundalk Institute of Technology. It is not intended to be an example of good quality academic writing, and indeed may not make sense in general, but it should show you how citations and a reference list are formed in the Harvard style of referencing (Cameron 2021). If you include a “direct quotation from a book you have read” (Giddens and Sutton 2021, p.117) you should include the relevant page number.
You don’t always have to write the author and year in brackets. Cameron (2021) explains that if the author’s name occurs naturally in the text then the year follows it in brackets. If there are two authors you should include both of them in the citation (Levine and Munsch 2021). If there are three or more authors you don’t have to list all of the names in the citation but you should include them all in the reference list (Robbins et al. 2020). The reference list should appear at the end of your assignment and be in alphabetical order based on the first author’s surname (Bruen 2022) rather than the order in which they appear in your assignment ( Papagiannis 2022). If you are using a citation for a second time you do not need to include it twice in the reference list (Cameron 2021).
Referencing an academic journal that you find online requires more information in the reference list but uses the same format for citing as other sources (Tesseur 2022). If referencing a source from a library database you say from which database you found it (Mayombe 2021).
Don’t forget that websites need to be cited too (Dundalk Institute of Technology 2022). We recommend you look at the full version of DkIT’s Harvard referencing guidelines, and contact the Library if you have any questions. Good luck.
Bruen, M. (2020). River flows. In: Kelly-Quinn, M. and Reynolds, J., eds. Ireland’s rivers . Dublin: University College Dublin Press, pp.39-59.
Cameron, S. (2021). The business student's handbook: skills for study and employment . 7th ed. Harlow: Pearson.
Dundalk Institute of Technology. (2022). Research support [online]. Available from: https://www.dkit.ie/research/research-support.html [accessed 25 March 2022].
Giddens, A. and Sutton, P.W. (2021). Sociology . 9th ed. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Levine, L.E. and Munsch, J. (2021). Child development: an active learning approach [online]. 4th ed. London: SAGE Publications. Available from: https://books.google.ie/books?id=zlrZzQEACAAJ&dq [accessed 25 March 2022].
Mayombe, C. (2021). Partnership with stakeholders as innovative model of work-integrated learning for unemployed youths. Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning [online], 12(2), pp.309-327. Available from: Emerald Insight [accessed 25 March 2022].
Papagiannis, N. (2020). Effective SEO and content marketing: the ultimate guide for maximizing free web traffic [online]. Indianapolis: Wiley. Available from: EBSCOhost eBook Collection [accessed 25 March 2022].
Robbins, S.P., Coulter, M.A. and De Cenzo, D.A. (2020). Fundamentals of management . 11th ed. Harlow: Pearson.
Tesseur, W. (2022). Translation as inclusion? An analysis of international NGOs’ translation policy documents. Language Problems and Language Planning [online], 45(3), pp. 261-283. Available from: https://doras.dcu.ie/26151 [accessed 25 March 2022].
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Harvard Style & Format: A 5-Minute Guide + Samples
Table of contents
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The Harvard referencing style is a widely used system for citing and referencing sources in academic writing. It provides a consistent and standardized format for acknowledging the works of others that you have used in your research.
Struggling to remember tricky peculiarities of Harvard style referencing and formatting? Don’t worry, you have come across a helpful material. In this article, you will find the basics of Harvard style formatting which would be useful for your academic progress. This easy but detailed Harvard style guide contains all format requirements for a paper and some structural tips. Besides, it covers general rules on how to cite your sources properly in your text. Feel free to use these guidelines for your academic endeavors. Let us go through details of Harvard style referencing and formatting together!
Reference Harvard Style: Basics
Harvard style is an author-date system of referencing. It’s similar to an APA paper format in terms of general formatting of pages and text. But this style follows its own rules for bibliography and in-text citations formatting. Harvard style is typically used for essays in such academic disciplines:
- Behavioral Sciences
But this doesn’t mean you can’t use this paper format in other areas of study. The general rule is to put references to your sources in round brackets. Specify author’s name and publication year. These references should come after your quotes (direct or indirect) in the end of a respective sentence or paragraph. Full details about all sources you have used should be provided at the end of your work. This section should be named ‘Reference List’. Buy coursework or any other type of research paper that will be referenced for you by our experts.
Harvard Format: General Requirements
Let us explore some general rules for Harvard formatting:
- Font: Times New Roman or Arial
- Size: 12 pt
- Text: double-spaced and left-aligned
- Indent: first line of a paragraph has indent of 0.5 inch
- Margins: 1 inch from each side
A Harvard style citation must have a Title page, header (or running head), headings and Reference list. We will take a closer look at formatting each section down below.
Harvard Style Title Page
What are the requirements for a Harvard style cover page? Title page is otherwise known as front page. This is the first page of your paper to be observed by your reader, i.e. your teacher first of all. Therefore, it is highly important to format it properly. Formatting rules for Harvard Title page:
- Paper title is fully capitalised and centered. Should be placed at approximately 33% of your page counting from its top.
- Your name as an author, centered and placed at the middle of your page.
- Course name at approximately 66% of the page.
- Instructor’s name on a new line.
- University’s name.
- Submission date.
See the sample of a Harvard title page down below.
Formatting a Header in Harvard
An important detail: you are required to use a header in Harvard referencing format. This section is repeatedly shown on all pages of your paper except the title page. You have to configure it once. Then, headers will get automatically added on each new page. Headers in Harvard referencing format contains such information:
- Page number, right aligned
- Shortened title of your paper, not capitalized, right-aligned, to the left of page number.
It is important to use shortened title because there is not too much space in any header. Also, another requirement is putting exactly 5 spaces between your title and a page number in headers.
Harvard Style Heading
Now let us explore some rules of using subheadings in Harvard style, in detail. Typically there are 2 levels of section headings recommended for use in such papers. They have different formatting. This helps to tell one from another, without using different font sizes for them.
- Level-1 subheadings for a bigger section. They must be centered, capitalized, but at the same time not indented, not bold, not underscored, not italicized.
- Level-2 subheading for any subsection, typically 1-2 paragraphs. They must be capitalized, left-aligned, not indented. Besides, they should be italicized.
The plain text of any paragraph should go on a new line after subheadings in Harvard style, be it Level-1 or Level-2 subheading.
Harvard Reference List
Listing all sources you have used for your research in a proper order is a core element of Harvard style. Reference list should be the last part of your paper but absolutely not the least. Now let us explore some critical rules for a reference list formatting. The Harvard-style reference list section has its own subtitle, namely ‘Reference List’. Similarly to a Level-1 subheading, it should be capitalized and centered. The rest of your content in this section goes from a new line after your title. No extra empty lines are to be added. Your references in this list are numbered and sorted alphabetically. No lines are indented. Each item in this list starts from a new line. Below we will describe a format for referencing in detail.
Harvard Style Bibliography
Sometimes your professor or instructor might ask you to create a Bibliography section instead of a common Reference list. So what is the Harvard Bibliography format? Harvard style bibliography includes not only those sources you have cited in your text but also. It also includes materials which you have read to get ideas for your research and to better understand the context of a selected problem. So, such section would contain more items than a Reference list. Apart of that, the general Harvard Bibliography format is the same:
- Heading, ‘Bibliography’ is formatted the same way as a Level-1 subheading
- Sources are put into alphabetical order
- List is double-spaced
- Lines do not have any indent
- Each item of this list starts from a new line.
Harvard Style Citations: General Rules
Another crucial element of Harvard style is referring to your sources inside your essay. That’s why you should know how to cite in Harvard style. Keep in mind that the main purpose of a proper format is to ensure your paper is plagiarizm-free. Sometimes, you should cite ideas from books, magazines or newspapers. But you can only refer to such ideas, otherwise it will be considered a form of plagiarism. Below we will show you how to cite in Harvard style, providing general information about published sources. So let us proceed and learn more about shortened quotes and full references.
How to Quote in Harvard Style
Here are the rules of Harvard format in-text citation:
- Add them in parentheses, usually at the end of quotes.
- Put an author’s last name and a publication year into round brackets, add page number if needed.
- When quoting a web page, give a paragraph number instead of a page since many websites don’t divide text into pages.
- Direct citation requires quotation marks and a page number is mandatory in parenthesis
- If you have mentioned an author’s name in your quote, do not include it into brackets, just leave a year and a page numbers there.
- Sometimes you might need to quote two different sources at once. In such case include both into the same parenthesis and divide them by a semicolon.
Creating References in Harvard Style
And this is how you should be referencing in Harvard style, providing full descriptions of the sources you have used. Let us start with the general book format:
- Last name of the author followed by comma and initials
- If there are multiple authors, their names are separated with comma, except the last one which must be separated by ‘&’
- Year of publication follows, without a comma
- A full title of the book is given, italicized
- Publisher name
- City and country where this book was published are the last to be provided.
Here are several Harvarvard referencing rules for other source types:
- Refer to an edited book by putting ‘(ed.)’ or ‘(eds)’ after the editor name(s)
- If a book was translated, add ‘trans. I Lastname’
- Refer to an article in any book or journal by adding an article name in quotation marks but not italicized
- Refer to a website by adding ‘viewed’ and the date when you’ve opened it, followed by the URL in angle brackets.
In this article we have explored the Harvard referencing guide, one of the most popular ones for students in the UK. Feel free to use these tips and proceed to writing a winning essay with flawless formatting! Just keep in mind the following key concepts of the Harvard style:
- Title or cover page
- Headers and their contents
- Subheadings of two levels with different formatting
- Reference list with full-detailed description of sources
- In-text citations with lots of different forms for various quote types.
In conclusion, consider our custom term paper writing solution if you lack the time or got into writer's block.
If you have questions, please visit our FAQ section or contact our expert writers. They will gladly help you create references in line with all requirements. On top of that, our writers are highly experienced in academic writing and can assist you with any type of formatting.
FAQ About Harvard Format
1. is harvard reference style used in colleges.
The Harvard style can be used in colleges as well as in other educational institutions and even by professional researchers. While it is relatively popular in many countries for research paper referencing, Harvard style is most widespread in universities of the UK nowadays. Other styles (APA, MLA and Chicago) dominate the US educational institutions.
2. What is the difference between Harvard and Oxford referencing styles?
The Harvard style format is a typical example of an author-date system as it requires using author’s names and publication dates for in-text referencing. You should create a complete reference list as a separate section in the end of your research paper. The Oxford style on the contrary uses numbered footnotes for citing sources used on your page. In-text citations on this page consist just from numbers of respective notes.
Emma Flores knows all about formatting standards. She shares with StudyCrumb readers tips on creating academic papers that will meet high-quality standards.
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Sample paper written in Harvard style (Referencing Guide)
Last updated on: January 12, 2021 by Kenyayote Reporter Leave a Comment
Below is a Sample paper written in Harvard style of writing for Universities and Harvard referencing style guide.
What is Harvard Referencing style?
This is a type of referencing style that puts more emphasis on the author of the work being cited.
Harvard Text Citation
When you are quoting any work using the Harvard Style you must include the author’s name, year of publication and page number (if there is one) at the end of the sentence or paragraph being paraphrased. For example (Mark, 2020, p.32).
Harvard Reference List
All References used in the text should be listed at the end of the paper and arranged in alphabetical order. The name of the author (s) comes first followed by year, title, page number or url. Below are examples;
- Book Harvard Referencing
Mark, J., (2020). Research Methods. 9th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Journal Article Harvard Referencing
Mark, J., (2020). Political antagonism: Modern world. Journal of political table. 33(3), 380–384.
- Web Page Harvard Referencing
Mark, J., (2020). Harvard Stye [online]. Kenyayote. [Viewed 14 May 2020]. Available from: https://kenyayote.com/sample-paper-written-in-harvard-style/
Harvard Referencing Format Rules
Some of the rules to observe when Referencing in Harvard style include;
- Author’s name should start with last name
- Names with abbreviation like Jone Mark Jr should be cited as Mark J, Jr (2020)
- First Word in a new paragraph should be indented
Sample Paper Written in Harvard Style
Download (doc): Sample Paper written in Harvard style or Download: Sample Guide of writing in Harvard style
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Research Paper Guide
Research Paper Example
Research Paper Examples - Free Sample Papers for Different Formats!
Published on: Nov 27, 2017
Last updated on: Nov 6, 2023
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Crafting a comprehensive research paper can be daunting. Understanding diverse citation styles and various subject areas presents a challenge for many.
Without clear examples, students often feel lost and overwhelmed, unsure of how to start or which style fits their subject.
Explore our collection of expertly written research paper examples. We’ve covered various citation styles and a diverse range of subjects.
So, read on!
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Research Paper Example for Different Formats
Following a specific formatting style is essential while writing a research paper . Knowing the conventions and guidelines for each format can help you in creating a perfect paper. Here we have gathered examples of research paper for most commonly applied citation styles :
Social Media and Social Media Marketing: A Literature Review
APA Research Paper Example
APA (American Psychological Association) style is commonly used in social sciences, psychology, and education. This format is recognized for its clear and concise writing, emphasis on proper citations, and orderly presentation of ideas.
Here are some research paper examples in APA style:
Research Paper Example APA 7th Edition
Research Paper Example MLA
MLA (Modern Language Association) style is frequently employed in humanities disciplines, including literature, languages, and cultural studies. An MLA research paper might explore literature analysis, linguistic studies, or historical research within the humanities.
Here is an example:
Found Voices: Carl Sagan
Research Paper Example Chicago
Chicago style is utilized in various fields like history, arts, and social sciences. Research papers in Chicago style could delve into historical events, artistic analyses, or social science inquiries.
Here is a research paper formatted in Chicago style:
Chicago Research Paper Sample
Research Paper Example Harvard
Harvard style is widely used in business, management, and some social sciences. Research papers in Harvard style might address business strategies, case studies, or social policies.
View this sample Harvard style paper here:
Harvard Research Paper Sample
Examples for Different Research Paper Parts
A research paper has different parts. Each part is important for the overall success of the paper. Chapters in a research paper must be written correctly, using a certain format and structure.
The following are examples of how different sections of the research paper can be written.
The research proposal acts as a detailed plan or roadmap for your study, outlining the focus of your research and its significance. It's essential as it not only guides your research but also persuades others about the value of your study.
Example of Research Proposal
An abstract serves as a concise overview of your entire research paper. It provides a quick insight into the main elements of your study. It summarizes your research's purpose, methods, findings, and conclusions in a brief format.
Research Paper Example Abstract
A literature review summarizes the existing research on your study's topic, showcasing what has already been explored. This section adds credibility to your own research by analyzing and summarizing prior studies related to your topic.
Literature Review Research Paper Example
The methodology section functions as a detailed explanation of how you conducted your research. This part covers the tools, techniques, and steps used to collect and analyze data for your study.
Methods Section of Research Paper Example
How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper
The conclusion summarizes your findings, their significance and the impact of your research. This section outlines the key takeaways and the broader implications of your study's results.
Research Paper Conclusion Example
Research Paper Examples for Different Fields
Research papers can be about any subject that needs a detailed study. The following examples show research papers for different subjects.
History Research Paper Sample
Preparing a history research paper involves investigating and presenting information about past events. This may include exploring perspectives, analyzing sources, and constructing a narrative that explains the significance of historical events.
View this history research paper sample:
Many Faces of Generalissimo Fransisco Franco
Sociology Research Paper Sample
In sociology research, statistics and data are harnessed to explore societal issues within a particular region or group. These findings are thoroughly analyzed to gain an understanding of the structure and dynamics present within these communities.
Here is a sample:
A Descriptive Statistical Analysis within the State of Virginia
Science Fair Research Paper Sample
A science research paper involves explaining a scientific experiment or project. It includes outlining the purpose, procedures, observations, and results of the experiment in a clear, logical manner.
Here are some examples:
Science Fair Paper Format
What Do I Need To Do For The Science Fair?
Psychology Research Paper Sample
Writing a psychology research paper involves studying human behavior and mental processes. This process includes conducting experiments, gathering data, and analyzing results to understand the human mind, emotions, and behavior.
Here is an example psychology paper:
The Effects of Food Deprivation on Concentration and Perseverance
Art History Research Paper Sample
Studying art history includes examining artworks, understanding their historical context, and learning about the artists. This helps analyze and interpret how art has evolved over various periods and regions.
Check out this sample paper analyzing European art and impacts:
European Art History: A Primer
Research Paper Example Outline
Before you plan on writing a well-researched paper, make a rough draft. An outline can be a great help when it comes to organizing vast amounts of research material for your paper.
Here is an outline of a research paper example:
Here is a downloadable sample of a standard research paper outline:
Research Paper Outline
Want to create the perfect outline for your paper? Check out this in-depth guide on creating a research paper outline for a structured paper!
Good Research Paper Examples for Students
Here are some more samples of research paper for students to learn from:
Fiscal Research Center - Action Plan
Qualitative Research Paper Example
Research Paper Example Introduction
How to Write a Research Paper Example
Research Paper Example for High School
Now that you have explored the research paper examples, you can start working on your research project. Hopefully, these examples will help you understand the writing process for a research paper.
If you're facing challenges with your writing requirements, you can hire our essay writing service .
Our team is experienced in delivering perfectly formatted, 100% original research papers. So, whether you need help with a part of research or an entire paper, our experts are here to deliver.
So, why miss out? Place your ‘ write my research paper ’ request today and get a top-quality research paper!
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Harvard Format (With Example)
Harvard style paper guidelines, harvard style cover page.
Harvard essay format is very specific and organized unlike argumentative essay . It requires a very particular title page with the following instructions:
- The title of the paper is placed halfway down the page and written in capital letters.
- After the title, three lines down write the name of the author in small letters.
- Move four lines down and place the name of the class.
- Move one line down put the name of the professor.
- The next line entails the name of the school.
- Then move to the next and write the city and state located and the final line should have the date.
- The cover page of the Harvard essay format gives you all the information one needs to know about the author in question.
There are several key components to note when using the Harvard format. The title in a Harvard essay format is right justified. A partial title expresses the main idea in the essay between it, and the page number is exactly five spaces. The Harvard essay format cover sheet would like roughly like this:
The Harvard Essay Template
- by (Name of the author)
- Name of the Class (Course)
- Name of University
- City and State where university is located
Here are other essay formatting styles:
Paragraphs in a Harvard Format Essay
The Harvard essay format paragraphs are highly structured. The first section of the article is supposed to be captivating and entertaining. The article may begin with a lively quotation or an interesting fact and information that sheds light on the essay in question.
As in the definition essay , introduction should smoothly lead to the thesis statement. The thesis statement refers to the main idea of the sentence and a summary of what the article body entails.
The first sentence in the body paragraph should tell the reader what the paragraph is discussing. The topic sentence is followed by supporting facts that relate to it. The details in the supporting sentences can be facts, quotations or analysis.
The paragraph then concludes with a sentence that summarizes what the paragraph is about and leads into the next section smoothly. Subheadings can also be used to introduce new subtopics and are italicized.
Transition between the Paragraphs
Writing an article using the Harvard format one should show the transition from one paragraph to the next and these paragraphs should be interconnected.
The topic should gradually grow from one point to the next. A paragraph in Harvard format has three parts:
– The topic sentence
– Supporting details
– Closing sentence form
Citations in a Harvard Style Paper
One can use in-text citations. With the Harvard style, a quote uses the author’s name and first initial, year of publication and page number where the information appears. Citation for each fact is provided, if not it is considered plagiarism which is a serious offense. In-text citations for example from J. K. Rowling book published in 2004 page 45 would look like (Rowling J.K,2004,45).These quotes make the Harvard format essay easy to understand and comprehend as one read.
Harvard style uses a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial at size 12. Fancy fonts are not allowed because the Harvard format is used in writing outstanding academic and research essays. The essay should be double-spaced with smooth left margins. In the Harvard format titles of journals, newspapers or books or websites are italicized in in-text citations while that of poems and short stories is written in “quotation marks”. This helps readers know what they are referring to read quickly through an essay written in the Harvard format.
The conclusion of a Harvard format essay is vital and should be written with high accuracy understanding and mastery. The first sentence of the conclusion is used to put emphasis on the thesis statement and remind the reader what the essay has proved showed or theorized. After the first sentence provides brief information of the main points that were discussed throughout the whole piece to encourage remembrance of the most important points that were discussed. It mainly involves a summary of the main points of the article in other words. The essay should then finish with an outstanding powerful message that leaves the reader still thinking minutes or hours after they have finished reading the article.
The conclusion is followed by the reference page which consists of the reference list and is placed in its page known as the reference page.
Read more! Looke at the argumentative essay example about nutrition
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Harvard Reference Style
- Harvard in-text references
- Harvard reference list
- Films (Motion pictures)
- Government publications
- Journal articles
- Lecturer notes/handouts
- Magazine articles
- Newspaper articles
- Personal communication
- PowerPoint slides
- Proceedings from conferences
- Secondary sources
- Social media
- Television programmes
- Harvard: Reference list example
- Harvard: Examples of references
Sample Harvard reference list
Blake, S. 2017. Energising development with Jatropha curcas? Biofuel reflections from Mali in @PracticalAction briefing paper [Twitter]. 27 March. Available: https://twitter.com/SBlake [28 March 2017].
Boshoff, R. 2018. An adaptive internet management model for higher education institutions in South Africa. Thesis (D.B.A.), Nelson Mandela University.
Bothma, J.P. & Du Toit, J.G. (eds.). 2016. Game ranch management . Pretoria: Van Schaik.
Brieger, W. 2015. Lecture 3: recruitment and involvement of trainees [Lecture notes]. Available from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health OpenCourseWare website: http://ocw.jhsph.edu/courses/TrainingMethods ContinuingEducation/lectureNotes.cfm [ 3 June 2018].
Buesseler, K. 2018. This twilight zone is dark, watery, and yes, also full of intrigue. Earth right now [Blog]. 21 Aug. Available: https://climate.nasa.gov/blog/2788/this-twilight-zone-is-dark-watery-and-yes-also-full-of-intrigue/ [29 Aug 2018].
Cicmil, S., Cooke-Davies, T., Crawford, L. & Richardson, K. 2017. Exploring the complexity of projects: implications of complexity theory for project management practice . Newton Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
Desha, C. & Hargroves, K. 2014. Higher education and sustainable development: a model for curriculum renewal. London: Routledge.
Edwin, A., Anand, V. & Prasanna, K. 2017. Sustainable development through functionally graded materials: an overview. Rasayan Journal of Chemistry , 10(1):149-152. doi: 10.7324/RJC.2017.1011578
Hart, I., Jacobs, P., Ramoroka, K., Mhlula, A. & Letty, B. 2015. Innovation and the development nexus: prospects from rural enterprises in South Africa. Africanus Journal of Development Studies, 45(1):1-9.
Manson, P. & Lanier, A. 2015. Managing the virtual landscape of Oregon’s territorial sea. In D.J. Wright (ed.), Ocean solutions earth solutions. Available: http://ebookcentral.proquest.com [26 March 2018]. pp. 287-314.
McGonagall, M. 2019. Teaching transfiguration to teenagers [Webinar]. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Available: http://www.hogwarts.edu/webinars/McGonagall_4 [7 April 2020].
Meyer, D & Hyman, A. 2017. Fees must fall movement vows UCT shutdown. HeraldLive, 4 September. Available: http://www.heraldlive.co.za/news/2017/09/04/fees-must-fall-movement-vows-uct-shutdown/ [5 September 2018].
Mulvihill, P.R. & Ali, S.H. 2016. Environmental management: critical thinking and emerging practices . Available: https://www.ebscohost.com/ebooks [15 September 2018].
Ngomso, D. 2017. SA Concerned Consumer Group [Facebook]. 13 January. Available: https://www.facebook.com/groups/6814981679260616 [15 January 2017].
Parsons, J.D. 2014. Nutrition in contemporary diet. PhD thesis, Durham University. Available: http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/846 [3 June 2019].
Project Management Institute. 2017. A guide to the project management body of knowledge . [s.l.]: Author
Romm, J. 2015. Climate change: what everyone needs to know [Kindle version]. Available: http://www.amazon.com [6 April 2018].
Shuker, R. 2016. Understanding popular music culture. 5th rev. ed. London, England: Routledge.
Social policy: an introduction . 2015. Maidenhead: Oxford University Press.
South Africa. Department of Home Affairs. 2006. Annual report (RP53/2006). Pretoria: Government printer.
Supiot, A. 2010. A legal perspective on the economic crisis of 2008. International Labour Review, 149(2):151-162. Available: http://www.ilo.org/public/english/revue/ [26 July 2018].
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 2003. Managing asthma: a guide for schools (NIH Publication No. 02-2650). Available: http://www.nhlbi.nih .gov/health/prof/lung/asthma/asth_sch.pdf [5 December 2017].
Wilson, G. 2017. Two men slain, one critical in vigilante attacks. The Herald, 22 August:1, 3 .
Zalasiewicz, J. & Williams, M. 2015. Climate change through Earth's history. In T.M. Letcher (ed.), Climate change: observed impacts on planet earth . Amsterdam: Elsevier. pp.3-13
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College Info , College Essays
Aiming for the world-renowned Harvard University? As part of the application to this prestigious Ivy League school , you'll have the option to submit a supplemental essay. But what should you write about for your Harvard essay? What are the different Harvard essay prompts to choose from, and how should you answer one so you can give yourself your best shot at getting in?
In this guide, we give you advice for each Harvard essay prompt as well as tips on whether you should choose a particular prompt. But before we look at the prompts, let's go over what Harvard actually requires in terms of essays.
Feature Image: Gregor Smith /Flickr
What Essays Do You Need to Submit to Harvard?
Those applying for admission to Harvard must submit an application through either the Common Application , the Coalition Application , or the Universal College Application (UCA) . For your Harvard application, you'll need to write a personal essay in response to one of the prompts provided by the Common App, Coalition App, or UCA (depending on the system you're applying through).
This essay is required for all applicants and should typically be about 500-550 words long (and must be less than 650 words). To learn more about this essay, check out the current prompts for the Common App , Coalition App , and UCA on their official websites.
In addition to this required essay, you have the option of submitting another essay as part of the Harvard supplement. The Harvard supplement essay, as it's known, is completely optional—you may, but do not need to, write this essay and submit it with your application.
Also, this essay also has no word limit, though if you do write it, it's best to stick to a typical college essay length (i.e., somewhere around 500 words).
Harvard advises applicants to submit this supplemental essay "if [they] feel that the college application forms do not provide sufficient opportunity to convey important information about [themselves] or [their] accomplishments."
Options for essay topics are very open ended, and you have a total of 10 topics from which you can choose (11 if you include the fact that you may also "write on a topic of your choice").
Here are the 2022-2023 Harvard supplement essay prompts :
You may write on a topic of your choice, or you may choose from one of the following topics:
Unusual circumstances in your life
Travel, living, or working experiences in your own or other communities
What you would want your future college roommate to know about you
- An intellectual experience (course, project, book, discussion, paper, poetry, or research topic in engineering, mathematics, science or other modes of inquiry) that has meant the most to you
How you hope to use your college education
A list of books you have read during the past twelve months
The Harvard College Honor code declares that we "hold honesty as the foundation of our community." As you consider entering this community that is committed to honesty, please reflect on a time when you or someone you observed had to make a choice about whether to act with integrity and honesty.
The mission of Harvard College is to educate our students to be citizens and citizen-leaders for society. What would you do to contribute to the lives of your classmates in advancing this mission?
Each year a substantial number of students admitted to Harvard defer their admission for one year or take time off during college. If you decided in the future to choose either option, what would you like to do?
Harvard has long recognized the importance of student body diversity of all kinds. We welcome you to write about distinctive aspects of your background, personal development or the intellectual interests you might bring to your Harvard classmates.
As you can see, some of these topics are more specific and focused, while others are more broad and open ended. When it comes down to it, though, should you write the Harvard supplement essay, or should you skip it altogether?
Should You Do the Harvard Supplement Essay?
You're already required to submit a personal essay for your Harvard application—so do you really need to submit an extra essay? In reality, opinions are mixed on whether you should write the Harvard supplement essay or not.
While some people are under the impression that this essay is basically mandatory and that your chances of getting into Harvard without it are slim. Others believe that submitting it (especially if you don't have anything particularly impressive or interesting to write about) is simply a waste of time.
So which is it? In general, if you have the opportunity to submit something that you think will only strengthen your college application, definitely do it. By doing this essay, you'll add more flavor to your application and showcase a different side of your personality.
Indeed, in his review of his successful Harvard application , PrepScholar co-founder and Harvard alum Allen Cheng strongly recommends writing this extra essay. He also notes that it's likely that most Harvard applicants do , in fact, submit the supplemental essay (as he himself did).
But it's worth stating again: this essay is not required for admission to Harvard. Whether you submit a Harvard supplement essay is entirely up to you—though I highly recommend doing it!
If you're really struggling to decide whether to do the extra Harvard essay or not, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you consider yourself a strong writer? Are there people you trust who could edit and proofread your essay for you?
- Are you worried about other parts of your Harvard application that could negatively affect your chance of admission , such as below-average SAT/ACT scores, a low GPA, etc.?
- Do you feel that you didn't get to write about something you really wanted to for the required essay?
- Is there something you believe the admissions committee should know about you that you haven't gotten a chance to write about yet?
- Do you have enough time to dedicate to writing and polishing another essay?
- Do you think your overall Harvard application is too one-sided or too focused on one aspect of your personality and/or interests? Could your application benefit from more diversity and balance?
Hopefully, by answering these questions, you'll start to have a clearer idea as to whether you will write the Harvard supplement essay or not.
How to Write the Harvard Essay: Every Prompt Analyzed
In this section, we go through the 10 possible Harvard supplement essay prompts and offer you tips on how to write an effective, powerful essay, regardless of which prompt you choose.
Prompt 1: Unusual Circumstances
This essay prompt is all about highlighting an unusual situation or event in your life and what kind of impact it ultimately had on you. Harvard asks for this in case applicants want to discuss anything significant that has happened to them and has had a major influence on their academic accomplishments, future goals, perspectives, etc.
This is also an opportunity for applicants to discuss any major struggles they have had (that most students their age haven't had) and the way these experiences have personally affected their lives.
Should You Choose This Prompt?
If you grew up with an uncommon lifestyle or had an uncommon experience that you believe had a strong effect on you, this is a good prompt to choose for your essay. For example, perhaps you grew up speaking four languages fluently, or you were the youngest of fourteen children.
This is also an ideal prompt to choose if you want to provide more background information for a weak point in your application. For instance, say you contracted a serious illness during your sophomore year, and your many absences caused your GPA to drop. You could then write about how you approached this problem head-on, and how working with a tutor every day after school to raise your GPA ultimately revealed to you an inner strength you never knew you had.
Tips for Answering This Prompt
- Choose an experience or situation that is actually uncommon. This doesn't mean that no one else in the world could have it, but try to focus on something that's unique and has had a big impact on your personal growth. As an example, although many teenagers were raised by a single parent, only you grew up with your parent, so concentrate on how this person as well as the overall situation helped to shape your personality and goals.
- If you're writing about something that was challenging for you, don't just conclude that the experience was difficult. What specifically have you learned or taken away from it? Why is it important for the Harvard admissions committee to know this? For instance, say you had to move six times in just two years. You could write that although it was difficult adjusting to a new school each time you moved, you eventually started to enjoy meeting people and getting to explore new places. As a result of these experiences, you now have a lot more confidence when it comes to adapting to unfamiliar situations.
Prompt 2: Travel, Living, or Work Experiences
This prompt is asking you to discuss experiences you've had that involved traveling, living, and/or working in a specific community (either your own or another) and what kind of effect that experience has had on you.
Here are examples of experiences you could talk about for this essay:
- Living or traveling abroad
- Moving to a new place or living in multiple places
- Working a part-time job
- Working a temporary job or internship somewhere outside your own community
If you've had an experience that fits or mostly fits one of the examples above and it's had a big impact on how you see and define yourself as a person, this is a solid prompt for you.
On the other hand, do not choose this prompt if you've never had a significant experience while traveling or working/living somewhere.
- Choose a truly significant experience to talk about. Although your experience doesn't need to be life-changing, it should have had a noteworthy impact on you and who you've become. If, for example, you traveled to Mexico with your family but didn't really enjoy or learn much from the trip, it's better to avoid writing about this experience (and might be better to choose a different prompt altogether!).
- Make sure to talk about how this travel/living/work experience has affected you. For example, say you spent a couple of summers in high school visiting relatives in South Africa. You could write about how these trips helped you develop a stronger sense of independence and self-sufficiency—traits which have made you more assertive, especially when it comes to leading group projects and giving speeches.
- Don't be afraid to get creative with this essay. For instance, if you lived in a country where you at first didn't understand the local language, you could open your Harvard essay with an anecdote, such as a conversation you overheard or a funny miscommunication.
Prompt 3: Your Future College Roommate
Unlike some of the other more traditional Harvard essay prompts on this list, this prompt is a little more casual and really lends itself to a creative approach.
For this prompt, you're writing an essay that's more of a letter to your future college roommate (remember, however, that it's actually being read by the Harvard admissions committee!). You'll introduce who you are by going over the key traits and characteristics that make you you —in other words, personality traits, eccentricities, flaws, or strengths that you believe are critical for someone (i.e., Harvard) to know about you.
This Harvard essay prompt is all about creativity and describing yourself—not a specific event or circumstance—so it's well suited for those who are skilled at clearly and creatively expressing themselves through writing.
- Focus on your unique attributes. Since you're describing yourself in this essay, you'll need to concentrate on introducing the most unique and interesting aspects about yourself (that you also think a roommate would want or need to know). What's your daily routine? Do you have any funny or strange habits or quirks? How did you develop these characteristics?
- Be true to your voice and don't pretend to be someone you're not. Don't say that you're always telling jokes if you're normally a very serious person. Describe yourself honestly, but don't feel as though you must tell every little detail about yourself, either.
- Strike a balance: don't focus only on the positives or negatives. You want to come across as a strong applicant, but you also want to be realistic and authentic (you're human, after all!). Therefore, try to find balance by writing about not only your strengths and positive attributes but also your quirks and flaws. For instance, you could mention how you always used to run late when meeting up with friends, but how you've recently started working on getting better at this by setting an alarm on your iPhone.
Prompt 4: An Intellectual Experience
An intellectual experience (course, project, book, discussion, paper, poetry, or research topic in engineering, mathematics, science or other modes of inquiry) that has meant the most to you.
With this prompt, Harvard wants you to focus on an intellectual or learning experience that's had a big impact on you in terms of your personal growth, your academic/intellectual interests and passions, the field of study you want to pursue, etc.
This intellectual experience could be anything that's intellectually stimulating, such as an essay or book you read, a poem you analyzed, or a research project you conducted.
Note that this experience does not need to be limited to something you did for school —if you've done anything in your spare time or for an extracurricular activity that you think fits this prompt, feel free to write about that.
Should You Choose This Topic?
This is a good prompt to choose if a certain intellectual experience motivated you or triggered an interest in something you really want to study at Harvard.
For example, you could write about how you found an old copy of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species at a garage sale, and how reading this prompted you to develop an interest in biology, which you now intend to major in and eventually make a career out of.
This is also an ideal prompt to pick if you want to highlight a particular interest or passion you have that differs from the academic field you want to study in college.
For instance, perhaps you're applying for admission as a computer science major, but you're also a huge fan of poetry and often take part in local poetry readings. Writing about a poem you recently read and analyzed could illuminate to the admissions committees a different, less prominent side of your personality and intellectual interests, ultimately showing that you're open minded and invested in gaining both new skills and experiences.
- Choose an experience that had a significant impact on you. Don't talk about how reading Romeo and Juliet in eighth grade made you realize how much you enjoyed writing plays if you were already writing plays way before then! If you can't think of any memorable intellectual experience to write about, then it's best to opt for a different prompt.
- Be specific about the intellectual experience you had and clearly relate it back to your strengths and interests. In other words, what kind of impact did this experience have on you? Your academic goals? Your future plans? For example, instead of writing about how a scientific paper on climate change made you think more deeply about the environment, you could talk about how this paper prompted you to form a recycling program at your school, take a class on marine biology, and so forth.
Prompt 5: Your Future Goals
This Harvard essay prompt is pretty self-explanatory: it wants you to discuss how you intend to use your education at Harvard after you graduate —so in a future job or career, in grad school, in a particular research field, etc.
Basically, how will your college education help you achieve your future goals (whatever those may be)?
If you have a pretty clear vision for your future goals during and after college, this is a perfect prompt to choose for your Harvard essay.
If, on the other hand, you're still undecided about the field(s) you want to study or how you intend to use your major, you might want to choose a different prompt that's less focused on your future and more concentrated on how past events and experiences have shaped you as a person.
- Be careful when talking about your future goals. You don't want to come off too idealistic, but you also don't want to sound too broad or you'll come across unfocused and ambivalent. Try to strike a balance in how you discuss your future dreams so that they're both attainable and specific.
- Clearly connect your goals back to your current self and what you've accomplished up until this point. You want to make it clear that your goals are actually attainable, specifically with a Harvard education. If you say you hope to start your own interior design business after graduation but are planning to major in biology, you're only going to confuse the admissions committee!
- Emphasize any ways Harvard specifically will help you attain your academic goals. For example, is there a club you hope to join that could connect you with other students? Or is there a particular professor you want to work with? Don't just throw in names of clubs and people but specifically explain how these resources will help you reach your goals. In short, show Harvard that what they can offer you is exactly what you need to succeed.
Prompt 6: List of Books
Of all Harvard essay prompts, this one is by far the most unique.
Here, you're asked to simply list the books you've read in the past year. This essay is more than just a list, though—it's a brief overview of where your intellectual interests lie. These books may include works of fiction or nonfiction, essays, collections of poetry, etc.
Have you read a lot of diverse and interesting books in the past year? Are you an avid reader who loves dissecting books and essays? Do you enjoy a creative approach to college essays? If you answered yes to these questions, then this prompt is a perfect fit for you.
Even if you haven't read a ton of books this past year, if you were especially intrigued by some or all of what you did read, you could certainly use this prompt for your essay.
- Instead of just listing the titles of books you've read, you might want to include a short sentence or two commenting on your reaction to the book, your analysis of it, why you enjoyed or didn't enjoy it, etc., after each title. Be sure to vary up your comments so that you're highlighting different aspects of your personality. Also, don't just regurgitate analyses you've read online or that your teacher has said—try to come up with your own thoughts and interpretations.
- Don't feel the need to stick to only the most "impressive" books you read. The Harvard admissions committee wants to see your personality, not that of a pretentious applicant who claims to have only read Jane Austen and Ernest Hemingway. Be honest: if you read Twilight in a day, why not make a short joke about how addictive it was?
- Go beyond a chronological list of books. It'll be far more interesting if you list the books you read in a more unique way. For example, you could organize titles by theme or in the order of how much you enjoyed them.
Prompt 7: Honesty
As you can see with this quotation, Harvard strongly values honesty and integrity. Therefore, if you go with this prompt, you're essentially telling Harvard that you, too, embody a powerful sense of morality and honesty.
- Was there a specific time in your life when you had to make a difficult choice to be honest about something with someone?
- Could this incident be considered morally ambiguous? In other words, was the "right thing to do" somewhat of a gray area?
- If you didn't make the "right" choice at the time, how did you come to terms with or learn from this decision? What were the consequences, and what did this experience teach you about your own morals and how you value honesty?
- Be wary of the topic you choose to write about. Don't discuss a situation in which you did something obviously unethical or, worse, illegal. These types of situations are very black and white and therefore don't pose much of a moral dilemma. Additionally, talking about such an experience might make you seem dishonest and immoral, which you absolutely do not want Harvard to think about you!
- Try to find a topic that isn't black and white. Choosing "gray" incidents will help emphasize why the choice was so difficult for you and also why it's affected you in this way. For example, say your friend calls you crying right before you have to leave to take the SAT. Do you skip the test to comfort your friend, or do you hang up and leave? This kind of situation does not have an evident "right" answer, making it an ideal one to use for this essay.
- You could also discuss a time when you did not make the "right" choice—and what you learned from that mistake. As long as you look closely at why you made the "wrong" choice and what this incident taught you about integrity, your essay will be interesting and relevant.
Prompt 8: Citizens and Citizen-Leaders
This prompt might sound a little vague, but all it wants to know is how you'll have a positive impact on both your classmates and on other people after graduation. Put simply, what kind of leader/citizen will you be at Harvard? After you graduate from college and enter the real world?
This prompt is similar to Prompt 5 in that it wants to know what kind of person you'll become after you leave college and how you'll positively influence society.
If you're a natural-born leader and have had at least a few significant experiences with leading or facilitating things such as club activities, field trips, volunteer efforts, and so on, then this Harvard essay prompt would be a great fit for you.
- Focus on a time when you led others and it resulted in a positive outcome. For instance, you could write about your position as team captain on your school's soccer team and how you would gather your teammates before each game to offer words of encouragement and advice on how to improve. You could then describe how your team began to perform better in games due to clearer communication and a stronger sense of sportsmanship. Make sure to answer the critical question: how did you lead and what ultimately made your leadership style successful?
- Discuss what kind of role your leadership skills will have at both Harvard and after you graduate. The prompt is asking about your classmates, so you must specifically address how your leadership skills will contribute to the lives of your peers. How will your past experiences with leading help you approach group projects, for example? Or clubs you join?
- Make sure to mention how you'll be a good citizen, too. By "citizen," Harvard essentially means a productive member of both the school and society in general. Basically, how have you contributed to the betterment of society? This is a good place to talk about experiences in which you played a crucial supporting role; for instance, maybe you helped out with a local volunteer initiative to feed the homeless, or maybe you joined a community project to build a new park in your town.
Prompt 9: Taking Time Off
Here, you're being asked what you plan to do with your time if you decide to defer your admission to Harvard or take time off during college. For example, will you travel the world? Work a full-time job? Do an internship? Take care of a sick relative?
Obviously, Harvard doesn't want to read that all you're going to do is relax and play video games all day, so make sure to think carefully about what your actual plans are and, more importantly, how these plans will benefit you as a person and as a student.
Only choose this Harvard essay prompt if you're pretty certain you'll be taking time off from college at some point (either before or during) and you have a relatively concrete idea of what you want to do during that time.
- Be specific and honest about your plans. While many students like to take time off to travel the world, you don't just want to write, "I plan to backpack Europe and learn about cultures." Think critically about your desires: why do you want to do this and how will this experience help you grow as a person? Don't just reiterate what you think Harvard wants to hear—be transparent about why you feel you need this time off from school to accomplish this goal.
- Be clear about why you must do this at this particular time. In other words, why do you think this (i.e., before or during college) is the right time to do whatever it is you plan to do? Is it something you can (or must) do at this exact time, such as a one-time internship that won't be offered again?
Prompt 10: Diversity
This final Harvard essay prompt is all about what you can bring to campus that will positively contribute to student diversity. Though we tend to think of race/ethnicity when using the word "diversity," you can actually interpret this word in a number of ways.
As a large and prestigious institution, Harvard strongly values students who have different and unique backgrounds and experiences, so it's important for them to admit students who embody these values as well.
This prompt is essentially a version of the diversity essay , which we talk about in more detail in our guide.
The main question to ask yourself before choosing this prompt is this: do you have a unique background or interest you can write about?
Here are some key types of diversity you can discuss (note that this is not an exhaustive list!):
- Your ethnicity or race
- A unique interest, passion, hobby, or skill you have
- Your family or socioeconomic background
- Your religion
- Your cultural group
- Your sex or gender/gender identity
- Your opinions or values
- Your sexual orientation
If any of these topics stand out to you and you can easily come up with a specific characteristic or experience to discuss for your essay, then this is a solid prompt to consider answering.
- Choose a personal characteristic that's had a large impact on your identity. Don't talk about your family's religion if it's had little or no impact on how you see and define yourself. Instead, concentrate on the most significant experiences or skills in your life. If you play the theremin every day and have a passion for music because of it, this would be a great skill to write about in your essay.
- Be clear about how your unique characteristic has affected your life and growth. You don't just want to introduce the experience/skill and leave it at that. How has it molded you into the person you are today? How has it influenced your ambitions and goals?
- Be sure to tie this characteristic back to the diversity at Harvard. Basically, how will your experience/skill/trait positively influence the Harvard student body? For example, if you come from a specific cultural group, how do you believe this will positively impact other students?
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A Real Harvard Essay Example
Our resident full SAT / ACT scorer and co-founder of PrepScholar, Allen Cheng , applied to, got into, and attended Harvard—and he's posted his own Harvard supplement essay for you to look at. You can read all about Allen's essay in his analysis of his successful Harvard application .
Allen describes his essay as "probably neutral to [his Harvard] application, not a strong net positive or net negative," so it's important to note that this Harvard essay example is not representative of exactly what you should do in your own Harvard supplement essay. Rather, we're showing it to you to give you a taste of how you could approach the Harvard essay and to demonstrate the kinds of simple mistakes you should avoid.
Writing a Memorable Harvard Essay: 3 Tips
To wrap up, here are three tips to keep in mind as you write your Harvard supplement essay.
#1: Use an Authentic Voice
Having a clear, unique, and authentic voice is the key to making yourself stand apart from other applicants in your Harvard application—and to ensuring you're leaving a long-lasting impression on the admissions committee.
Therefore, write your essay in the way that comes most naturally to you, and talk about the things that actually matter to you. For example, if you love puns, throwing one or two puns into your essay will emphasize your goofier, non-academic side.
Using your voice here is important because it humanizes your application. The essay is the only chance you get to show the admissions committee who you are and what you actually sound like, so don't pretend to be someone you're not!
The only thing to look out for is using too much slang or sounding too casual. In the end, this is still a college essay, so you don't want to come off sounding rude, disrespectful, or immature.
In addition, don't exaggerate any experiences or emotions. The Harvard admissions committee is pretty good at their job—they read thousands of applications each year!—so they'll definitely be able to tell if you're making a bigger deal out of something than you should be. Skip the hyperbole and stick to what you know.
Ultimately, your goal should be to strike a balance so that you're being true to yourself while also showcasing your intelligence and talents.
#2: Get Creative
Harvard is one of the most difficult schools to get into (it only has about a 4% acceptance rate! ), so you'll need to make sure your essay is really, really attention-grabbing. In short, get creative with it!
As you write your personal essay, recall the classic saying: show, don't tell. This means that you should rely more on description and imagery than on explanation.
For example, instead of writing, "I became more confident after participating in the debate club," you might write, "The next time I went onstage for a debate, my shoulders didn't shake as much; my lips didn't quiver; and my heart only beat 100 times instead of 120 times per minute."
Remember that your essay is a story about yourself, so make sure it's interesting to read and will ultimately be memorable to your readers.
#3: Edit and Proofread a Lot
My final tip is to polish your essay by editing and proofreading it a lot. This means you should look it over not once, not twice, but several times.
Here's the trick to editing it: once you've got a rough draft of your essay finished, put it away for a few days or a week or two. Don't look at it all during this time —you want to give yourself some distance so that you can look at your essay later with a fresh perspective.
After you've waited, read over your essay again, noting any mistakes in spelling, grammar, and/or punctuation. Take care to also note any awkward wording, unclear areas, or irrelevant ideas. Ask yourself: is there anything you should add? Delete? Expand?
Once you've done this step several times and have a (nearly) final draft ready to turn in, give your essay to someone you can trust, such as a teacher, parent, or mentor. Have them look it over and offer feedback on tone, voice, theme, style, etc. In addition, make sure that they check for any glaring grammatical or technical errors.
Once all of this is done, you'll have a well-written, polished Harvard essay ready to go— one that'll hopefully get you accepted!
If you've got questions about other parts of the Harvard application, check out our top guide to learn what you'll need to submit to get into the prestigious Ivy League school .
How tough is it to get into Harvard? To other selective universities ? For answers, read our expert guide on how to get into Harvard and the Ivy League , written by an actual Harvard alum!
What's the average SAT score of admitted Harvard applicants? The average ACT score? The average GPA? Learn all this and more by visiting our Harvard admissions requirements page .
Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar.
Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges.
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Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.
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Harvard University Essay Example
Harvard University is a highly-selective school, so it’s important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we’ll share an essay a real student has submitted to Harvard. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).
Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized.
Read our Harvard essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.
Prompt: Travel, living, or working experiences in your own or other communities
A scream in the night.
In the town of Montagu, South Africa, the sun had set hours ago, leaving its place to a deep dark sky. Everything was peaceful and quiet. In a little lodge, a family of four people had just finished eating on a dimly lit terrace. The heat was so intense even the black silence seemed to suffocate – only a few crickets dared to break its density. The mother asked something to her daughter, who stood up, and bypassed the table. That’s when she screamed. An intense, long scream, that reverberated in the little town of Montagu.
How do I know that? It was me.
Me, miserable as I had fallen down the terrace… into a plantation of cacti! I couldn’t move. I felt as if each cactus thorn contained poison that spread through my back, my arms, my entire body. The plants were engulfing me into the darkness. I was suffocating, trying to grasp some of the hot, heavy air. Until I felt her hand. My mom’s.
She and my father organized this trip to South Africa. Valuing experiences more than material wealth, they liked to organize trips to foreign, far away countries. In addition to South Africa, I visited Cuba, Nepal and China. Four countries where landscapes and cities are dissimilar to France’s. Four countries that allowed me to discover numerous communities, recipes and traditions. Four countries where I met animals, plants and humans I had never seen before.
I am a city girl. As a little girl, I was never really fond of flora or fauna. However, during my trips, I was lucky to see animals in freedom and to interact with nature. A baboon broke into my car in South Africa and walked all over me – literally. I held an iguana in Cuba, did a safari in South Africa and talked with a parrot in Nepal. I saw the sun rising on the Machapuchare. I ultimately understood that all I had experienced was thanks to Nature. I realized its preciousness and its urgency to be saved. I gained proximity to the environment that I had always lacked. My blood turned green thanks to travels.
In addition to animal discoveries, travels are encounter engines. From little to aged humans, from all genders, from everywhere, travels allowed me to meet incredible people. The uncanny apparition of a mysterious little girl particularly touched me in Ghorepani, Nepal. I had walked for seven hours that day, and was waiting for dinner, sitting on a bench. She slowly advanced towards me.
“What’s your name?” I asked the white figure in the obscurity.
The little girl stopped moving. Dark curly hair, dark deep eyes, white clothes covered in mud among the deep dark night. Our eyes locked in each other’s, the sound of our breathing floating in the dense silence, everything seemed to be suspended. After what felt like dozens of hours, she looked at me and silently walked away, a star in the ink black sky.
Every person encountered made me grow. Some like the Nepalese little girl simply disrupted me, some opened my eyes on poverty, others opened my eyes on racism. Every person I met had a story to share, a fact to transmit. I visited an orphanage in a township in South Africa. The teacher, a frail and tiny woman, explained that racism was still so profound in the country that black and mixed race people were fighting to death in the neighbourhood. Centuries of abuse towards people of color, for children to pay the price, growing up parentless in the orphanage. The sound of the rain was echoing on the metal houses as the children sang their anthem. Wet furrows appeared as raindrops were racing on every cheek:
‘Let us live and strive for freedom,
In South Africa our land.’
Traveling is ultimately a chance. It is an opportunity to understand the complexity of the world by getting close to it. Traveling allowed me to realize the differences between each country and region. But beyond those dissimilarities, I saw singing, dancing and laughing everywhere in the world. Being away brought me closer to my home and my family and friends, my newspaper team, every community I’m involved in. Traveling represents a learning process. I integrated leadership and diligence in Nepal, watching children and old men transport wood on their back. Speaking foreign languages allowed me to acquire experience and put my theoretical skills to practise. I acquired a lot of adaptability through travels as part of their greatness comes from its unpredictability. Traveling truly enriches the intellect of those who have the chance to do it.
What the Essay Did Well
This is overall a delightful, very readable essay. The author starts with a dramatic hook to capture the reader’s attention, and they build on that initial story with vivid imagery like “ I felt as if each cactus thorn contained poison that spread through my back, my arms, my entire body.” In general, the language is strong throughout the entire essay. Other beautiful gems include, “The sound of the rain was echoing on the metal houses as the children sang their anthem” and, “The uncanny apparition of a mysterious little girl particularly touched me.” The author has a way with words, and they proudly demonstrate it in their response.
In addition to strong imagery, the author also does a satisfactory job at answering the prompt. The open-ended question not only means that students could answer in a variety of ways, but also that it might be easy to fall into a trap of answering in an unrelated or uninteresting manner. The author here does a good job of directly answering the prompt by providing clear examples of their travels around the world. Their response also goes beyond merely listing experiences; rather, they tell stories and describe some of the notable people they have met along the way. By telling stories and adopting a whimsical tone that evokes the wanderlust of travel, they elevate the impact of their response.
We also learn a fair amount about the author through their stories and personal reflections. We see that they are concerned about social justice through their retelling of the interactions in South Africa. We see them reflecting on the universal joys of singing and dancing: “ But beyond those dissimilarities, I saw singing, dancing and laughing everywhere in the world.” In the closing paragraph, we learn that they are adaptable and willing to undergo lifelong learning. Thus, another reason this essay shines is because it not only tells us what travels/experiences the author has engaged in, but it provides deeper introspection regarding how they have grown from these experiences.
What Could Be Improved
While the essay is beautiful, and the fast-moving pace matches the feeling of seeing unfamiliar places for the first time, the narrative runs the risk of being too wide-ranging. The introductory story of falling onto a bed of cacti could warrant an entire essay unto itself, yet the author does not return to it anywhere else in their response. They missed an opportunity to bring the response full circle by ruminating on that once more in their conclusion.
Another thing to be careful of is how the privilege inherent in international travel might cause the author to see the life through a certain lens. Although they remark upon how their family prioritizes experiences over material wealth, the fact is that extensive international travel relies on having material wealth to pay for costs like airfare and housing. It is important to demonstrate humility and awareness of privilege when responding to college essay prompts, and this is no exception.
Where to Get Your Harvard University Essays Edited
Do you want feedback on your Harvard University essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.
If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!