Here’s the Guide to Differences Between Harvard, APA, or MLA Referencing Styles

“The research paper must use the MLA referencing style with proper in-text citations.” You might be acquainted with some of these words while unfamiliar with some, isn’t it? Whether you’re being assigned with an essay, assignment, dissertation or research paper, referencing of the credible resources is necessary. Moreover, failure in the proper accreditation of the credible resources inevitably leads to an unethical copyright infringement act also known as Plagiarism. If you’re producing an essay pertaining to a certain institution or departments then, you should ensure that you’re well aware of the referencing style used by the system. As mentioned above, there are many referencing styles used in the academic papers as follows: APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), Chicago, Harvard, and Vancouver. Despite the fact that all of the styles are mutually aimed at rendering a professional formal format to the writing piece, there are differences in the styles. Do you want to know more about these styles? Let’s delve into them and explore:

Domain: The major difference between the referencing styles is through its domain. The MLA citation format as depicted by the name is predominantly used in the realms of arts and humanities. The APA style is frequently used within the social sciences. However, the Harvard referencing style is used in the humanities and natural or social sciences.

In-text Citations: The MLA system makes use of the in-text citations rather than the endnotes or footnotes. The core elements involved in the parenthetical system or the in-text citations of MLA are written in the following order: Author’s surname followed by the page number you’re referring to, for example (Kennedy, p.15). Moreover, the references are separated by the semi-colon if you intend to quote reference of more than one author. On the other hand, the parenthetical system of APA involves the author’s surname and the year of the publication for example (Kennedy, 2015). Moreover, the parenthetical system of Harvard is the same as the APA style. In addition to that, the APA makes use of the commas to separate the material in the in-text citations, whereas, the MLA format doesn’t use the commas. Let’s give a detailed look to citing the authors in the different formats:

  • APA: If there is one author then the last name of the author with the publication year is inserted. Similarly, if two authors then link the names with an ampersand (&) followed by the publication year. However, if more than three authors are involved then only the first author is cited followed by the et al. (which means and others) and year. Moreover, more than one work is cited within the single parenthesis with the semi-colons.
  • MLA: If the work with multiple authors is cited, the author’s last name is included in the parenthetical citation. However, if it has three or more authors then, the name of the first author is followed by
  • Harvard: When a work of 2 to 3 authors is cited, the names appear in the same order as that of reference. However, the word “and” is used instead of an ampersand. Similar to the APA style, if the work has 4 or more authors, the surname of the first author is cited along with the et al.


Source Page: In the APA Referencing System, the listing of the references is indicated by the term “References”, whereas, in the Harvard referencing system, it is referred to as “References List”. On the other hand, the “Works Cited” page is used to list the references down in MLA format. If you’re encountering difficulties in generating the references, you can avail the assistance of the online reference generators. The examples of referencing styles are given below:

  • MLA: “Bolman, Lee G., and Terrence E. Deal. Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. John Wiley & Sons, 2017.”
  • APA: “Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2017). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. John Wiley & Sons.”
  • Harvard:Bolman, L.G. and Deal, T.E., 2017. Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. John Wiley & Sons.”

Capitalization: In the APA style of referencing, the first word of the subtitle, title and the proper nouns are only capitalized. Moreover, the title is also written in the italics. On the other hand, all the major words in the title of the source are capitalized in MLA style.

Author’s name: The author’s last name is only written in the APA style and the first name is written as the initials, whereas, the author’s complete first and last name is written in the MLA referencing. The Harvard referencing style is similar to that of APA.

Do you also encounter problems in differentiating between similar looking Harvard and MLA referencing style? Alleviate your worries! You aren’t alone facing that confusion. If you’re facing difficulties in creating the top quality assignments with the referencing according to the requirements, don’t worry! You can easily hire the assignment writing help and avail their assistance to pass with flying grades. These writing services have professional and dexterous writers possessing the ability to handle difficult topics and apply any referencing style. Moreover, they work according to the requirements stipulated in the order. Hire them and ease your life!

It's only fair to share...Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin