Credit: Professional Academy

One of the most important tenets of essay writing is avoiding plagiarism. A list of references helps build on the credibility of the text provided in the composition. Perfect essays should have a list of references which comprise of the sources used to give them meaning. Writers should acknowledge where they get their excerpts from and remember to include them in the list of references (van Aswegen, 2010, 1). Nevertheless, there are other distinct elements such as the structure, organization, style, and clarity that one needs to look into to understand how to discern between these forms of writing. The objective of this article is to provide writers with a guide to writing perfectly using Harvard citation. It suggests the essential essay writing skills that perfect essays demand from their authors.

Body and Structure

All articles written in Harvard use a standard font of Times New Roman, of size 12. The entire paper should be double spaced with smooth left margins and jagged right margins. The structure of a Harvard written essay should include a cover page, an introduction, and a conclusion. The first thing that writers need to have in place is a cover page which should be separate from the rest of the paper. On it, a capitalized title of the essay appears halfway down the page, followed by the author’s name, class, facilitator, school, state, and the date, each given a line of their own by pressing Enter on the keyboard. Before heading to the essay writing part, the author can use the header to give the reader a short description of the article’s main argument. The header appears at the top right-hand corner of each page and a sub-sequential page number separated by five spaces in the following form (header     1). The essay title is written in capital and needs to be centered and written in italics. The beginning of the piece is the most challenging of all essay writing skills as it is responsible for hooking the reader. It may make or break the reader’s interest in going further with the article. Also, at the end of this introduction should be brief thesis statements. All perfect essays should have a central idea which is what the writer supports or opposes throughout the paper.

Writers who find themselves with longer articles should break them down into succinct sections that their audiences can comprehend. Centered headings can help break up the body of the text. Format all subsections and subheadings that introduce new subtopics in italics. Each of the paragraphs explains a different point which supports the main idea of the topic. Ensure that there is a smooth flow of ideas from one section to the other. Also include a summary at the end, describing the key elements of the argument. All facts, paraphrase, quotations, or summaries, should be cited using in-text citations using the author’s last name, year, and the page number like (Clark, C. 2006, 12) for an excerpt on page 12 from Christopher Clark’s book. At the end of the essay, a conclusion restates the thesis statement to remind the reader what the objective of the essay and what it has proved. Following the conclusion is a list of all sources used as references which should be on a separate page. A reference list needs to be ordered in alphabetical order using the author’s last name, double spaced, with a hanging indent.


Claiming to be proficient in the essay writing skills of this particular style of writing requires an understanding of these general tips. From here on, essay writing gets easier with such information at one’s fingertips.



Van Aswegen, L., 2010. Harvard for beginners. Cape Town: CPUT.