How to Cite a Code of Ethics in Harvard Referencing
  • 3-minute read
  • 6th March 2023

How to Cite a Code of Ethics in Harvard Referencing

Most businesses and professions have their own code of ethics, so you’re likely to encounter one when researching your essay. If you need to refer to such a code in your work but are unsure how to in Harvard referencing, this post will provide all you need to know.

Citing a Code of Ethics Within the Body of Your Essay

The Harvard style uses a parenthetical author–date method of citation within the body of an essay. To cite a work, you need to give two pieces of information: the author’s surname and the year of publication.

With a code of ethics, the author is most likely to be an organization, not an individual, in which case you should use the name of the organization.

Let’s imagine that the Ministry of Silly Walks wrote and published its code of ethics, the Silly Walks Code, in 1970. You could present the information in two ways:

●  Parenthetical: If you don’t give the author’s name in the text, put both pieces of information, separated by a comma and within one set of parentheses, after the text they refer to:

The desire not to do harm was a prime motivation for the Silly Walks Code (Ministry of Silly Walks, 1970).

●  Narrative: If you do use the author’s name in the text, add the year in parentheses immediately after the name:

The code devised by the Ministry of Silly Walks (1970) addressed the desire not to do harm.

In-text citations are brief, so full information for the source of the code will need to go in the reference list.

Adding a Code of Ethics to a Harvard Reference List

Because the purpose of the reference list is to allow your reader to locate the works you’ve cited, it requires much more detail than the citation. In Harvard referencing, the format for a code of ethics is:

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Author Organization (year). Title of code. Place of Publication: Publisher, code or guideline number if given.

Applying this to the imagined Silly Walks Code, you would get:

Ministry of Silly Walks (1970). Silly walks code. London: Ministry of Silly Walks.

If you read the code online, the entry in the reference list would be:

Author Organization (year). Title of code [Online]. Available at: URL (Accessed date).

Abandoning the silliness of walks for a more serious code (and one that exists), you might have:

Nursing and Midwifery Council (2008). The code: standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 1 March 2023).

Harvard Variations and Proofreading

The Harvard style varies in many ways, although the differences relate more to reference list entries than in-text citations. Although this post aims to give you a simple and clear way of presenting the necessary information, you should always check your institution’s style guide.

Whatever the style guide, it’s always a good idea to have your writing, including references, proofread. Just let our expert editors know which style guide you’ve followed for your referencing, and we can check that all your citations and references are in line with it. To see how we can help you, submit a sample for a free trial today.

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