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School of Education

FAQ APA referencing

This frequently asked question help sheet is based on actual queries received with regards to APA referencing.  Your query may be listed here as a help to other students.   

  1. Do authors names need to be written in alphabetical order in each individual reference? Authors names should be written in the order they are given in the source.   

  1. My article has no issue number? Don’t worry, miss this information out. 

  1. Brown is the author in a government report, how do I reference this? If there is an individual author for an official government report (like a webpage with an individual author) the government department is included after the title.   

Brown, R. (2018). Mental health and wellbeing provision in schools: review of published policies and information. Department for Education. 

  1. How do I reference this law? Children and Families Act 2014.  There is a special section on Acts of Parliament.  They each have a c. number or chapter number which needs to be included. 

Children and Families Act 2014, c.6.  


If you are required to state which section of the Act you have used, you can do this in the text - e.g. Section 30 of the Sexual Offences Act (2003) states that.....  You do not include this in the reference list entry, only as part of the in text citation.


  1.  In my assignment, I have referred to Piaget, having used information from a book by Linda Pound.  Who do I reference?  Piaget or Pound?  You need to find the original text by Piaget and reference this, as it is his theory you are referring to.  Otherwise this is a secondary reference.   Academics prefer you not to use secondary references but find the original source.  However If you are using the ideas/ comments or thoughts of Pound who is discussing Piaget, then reference Pound. 

  1. How do I lay out my references?  The title References - needs to be centred and bold and between the references double line spacing, except if you have been told to do this as 1.5 or double line spacing by your academic or in the module handbook. 

  1. How do I reference the Warnock report?  It has a CM number.  This is a command paper: 

Department for Education & Science. (1978). Warnock Report (1978) Special educational needs. Report of the Committee of Enquiry into the education of handicapped Children and young people. CM7212. HMSO. 

  1. Remember 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines are hanging indents in the reference list.  In word it is in the paragraph section that allows you to create hanging indents.  Highlight the text you wish to indent.  Go to the ... 3 dots for paragraph, choose special indent and hanging indent, this will indent the section you have highlighted. 

  1. My article doesn’t have page numbers, what do I do?  Page numbers are often missing on open access articles which are only published online. The APA does have a section about these within their article guidelines 

  1. What do I do when I cannot find a DOI number?  To find a DOI use cross.ref:  Click- search metadata and search either for the article or book author or title, or both.  

  2. How do I reference school policies to ensure anonymity and confidentiality?

    1. The in-text citation can be School A (year) or (School A, year). 

    2. The reference list is School A. (year). School policy or Ofsted report in italics.  Do not add in a web address or name the school in the policy.  If the school policy gives your school details or doesn't ensure confidentiality for example: Special school behaviour policy please just use the policy name Behaviour policy and keep it as simple as possible.

  3. Referencing an image, table or figure, please use these instructions. It is complicated - take your time following the instructions.


Please refer to the APA handbook for your referencing 

For queries please consult: 

 APA style  

or the APA blog