How to harvard reference a documentary

Harvard referencing is a widely used citation style that is used in academic writing to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in an article, thesis, or research paper. It follows a specific format, which includes the author’s name, publication year, title of the work, and other relevant details. When referencing a documentary, it is essential to follow the Harvard referencing style to give proper credit to the original source.

To properly Harvard reference a documentary, begin with the author’s last name, followed by a comma and their first initial. If the documentary does not have an author, use the name of the production company or the director. Enclose the author’s name in parentheses and follow it with the year of release in parentheses as well. Then, italicize the title of the documentary and write it in sentence case. If there is a subtitle, place it in plain text after a colon. Finally, include the type of medium in square brackets, such as “Film” or “Documentary.”

For example:

Author’s name or Production Company/Director. (Year of release).

Title of the documentary: Subtitle [Type of medium].

It is also crucial to mention the name of the streaming platform or DVD distributor in the reference if applicable. Additionally, if specific scenes or information from the documentary are being referenced, a timestamp or range of timestamps can be included. This helps the reader locate the exact portion of the film being referenced. Following these guidelines will help ensure that the documentary is properly cited in the Harvard referencing style.

What is a documentary?

A documentary is a non-fiction film or television program that presents real-life events, people, or issues. It is an important genre that aims to inform, educate, and entertain viewers while providing them with a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

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Documentaries are often used as a means of exploring and documenting social, political, historical, or cultural topics. They can be investigative in nature, presenting facts, evidence, and interviews to shed light on important issues or current events. Documentaries can also be biographical, delving into the life and achievements of a specific individual.

One distinctive feature of documentaries is the use of primary sources such as interviews, archival footage, photographs, and documents to support their claims and provide evidence. These sources help to authenticate the information presented in the documentary and give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the subject matter.

Documentaries vary in style and structure depending on the filmmaker’s artistic vision and personal approach. Some documentaries are observational, presenting events as they unfold without commentary or narration. Others are more reflective, using interviews and voiceovers to provide context and insights.

Types of Documentaries

There are several different types of documentaries, each with its own purpose and style:

Type Description
Observational These documentaries aim to capture real life without interference or manipulation from the filmmaker. They let events unfold naturally and present an unbiased perspective.
Expository Expository documentaries often employ voiceovers, interviews, and narration to provide context and analysis. They aim to inform and educate viewers on a specific topic.
Participatory In participatory documentaries, the filmmakers are actively involved in the subject matter, interacting with the people and events being documented. These documentaries often explore personal experiences and subjective perspectives.
Poetic Poetic documentaries use imagery, visuals, and sound to create a mood or evoke emotions. They focus on capturing moments of beauty or reflection rather than presenting a factual analysis.
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Documentaries play a vital role in bringing real-life stories, events, and issues to the audience’s attention. By presenting facts, evidence, and personal narratives, documentaries have the power to inform, educate, and inspire viewers to see the world from different perspectives.

Why is referencing important?

Referencing is a critical component of academic writing and research. It serves several key purposes:

1. Academic Integrity

Referencing allows you to clearly acknowledge the sources you have used in your work, giving credit to the original authors or creators. It demonstrates your integrity and honesty as a researcher or writer by showing that you have respected the intellectual property of others.

2. Avoiding Plagiarism

Referencing helps you avoid plagiarism, which is a serious academic offence. Plagiarism occurs when you present someone else’s work, ideas, or words as your own without proper acknowledgement. By properly citing your sources, you give credit where it is due and avoid unintentionally passing off someone else’s work as your own.

3. Building on Existing Knowledge

Referencing allows you to situate your work within the broader academic community by acknowledging the contributions of other researchers and scholars in the field. By referencing their work, you demonstrate how your research builds upon existing knowledge, contributes to the ongoing academic conversation, and helps to advance your chosen discipline.

4. Providing Evidence and Supporting Claims

Referencing is crucial for providing evidence and supporting claims in your writing. By citing relevant sources, you provide readers with the opportunity to verify the information and arguments you present. Referencing adds credibility to your work, strengthens your arguments, and enables others to evaluate and engage with your ideas.

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Reference Journal Article
Author(s) LastName, FirstInitial(s). (Year). Title of article. Title of Journal, Volume(Issue), Page(s).
In-text citation (LastName, Year)

Examples of Harvard Referencing for Documentaries

When referencing a documentary using the Harvard referencing system, you need to provide information about the documentary, including the director, release year, title, and any relevant production details. Below are examples of how to format a Harvard reference for different types of documentaries:

Example 1: Single Director Documentary

Director: LastName, FirstName.

Year: YYYY.

Title of Documentary.


Place of production: Production Company.

For example:

Smith, Jane. (2019). The Hidden World of Dolphins. [DVD].

London: Ocean Films.

Example 2: Multiple Directors Documentary

Directors: LastName1, FirstName1 and LastName2, FirstName2.

Year: YYYY.

Title of Documentary.


Place of production: Production Company.

For example:

Johnson, Adam and Anderson, Emily. (2020). The Power of Community Gardens. [Online video].

New York: GreenThumb Studios.

Example 3: Documentary without a Specific Director

Title of Documentary.

Year: YYYY.


Place of production: Production Company.

For example:

Climate Change: The Reality.

(2021). [Streaming].

Los Angeles: Global Films.

Remember to alphabetize your reference list by the author’s last name or the title if no author is specified. Additionally, include a hanging indent for each reference.

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