Guide to ASA Format and ASA Citation

A Guide to ASA Format and ASA Citation
Table of Contents

In the realm of sociology, the ASA format, also known as manuscript format, holds significant sway. For sociology students, having a grasp of ASA citation, often provided by seasoned essay writers, is invaluable. So, let's first delve into the ASA definition to understand its importance better.

What Is ASA

ASA is a citation style used in the field of sociology. ASA, as an abbreviation, stands for the “American Sociological Association”. ASA format citation is mostly used by scholars, academics, and students of sociology in their manuscripts or articles that they submit to the sociology department or field of sociology overall. If the ASA citation format is not used correctly, it might put the work in the position of being discredited or, perhaps, it might lead to its acknowledgements being postponed along with its writer’s career development.

While using ASA citation format, it is necessary to pay close attention to the certain parts of the paper the format affects, such as the title page, abstract, heading format, in-text citations, reference list, and its formatting specifics.

ASA citation style bears a close resemblance to the widely used APA style. The biggest similarity is that both styles use parenthetical references. These appear at the end of the paper in the “References” section. MLA style papers, for instance, call that section “Works Cited” and format it in a different way. Another noticeable feature of the ASA citation format is its emphasis on the date. It always follows the author’s name.

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Basics of ASA Citation

There are a few general formatting requirements from the ASA Style Guide that need to be applied when using the ASA citation format.

Formatting Title Page Subheadings
Font: 12-pt, double-spaced.
Margins: 1 ¼ inches.
Title of the paper.
Author's name.
Institutional affiliation.
  • Letters in caps signify the first-level subheading
  • Do not use bold font
Italics: Italicize titles of longer works like books and journals.
Page numbers: in the header, flush right.
Section headings: in bold, aligned left.
Running head (a shortened version of the title). Second-Level Subheading
  • Italicized
  • Title case (the first letter of each word is capitalized except for articles and prepositions)
  • Do not use bold font
Third-level subheading
  • Italicized
  • Only first word is capitalized
  • Should be followed by a period
  • Should be indented in the beginning of the paragraph

ASA Title Page

The title page is the first thing one sees when picking up a paper. It is your job to make it look sharp and to create it in accordance with all of the rules so that it looks presentable and professional.

The ASA citation format title page usually contains the following information:

  • ASA header, which is also the full title of the work
  • Names and institutions of the writers
  • A total word count
  • Address of the author, or one who receives communication and feedback regarding the work
  • Credits or acknowledgments of all contributors or sponsors
  • Grants/funding of the research or the paper

ASA Abstract

The abstract appears on a separate page between the title page and the beginning of the essay. It usually contains about 150-200 words. If an abstract page is included, it often lists several keywords that help identify the essay’s main points of study.


The ASA citation format uses subheadings to organize body paragraphs. They do not serve to simply name the paragraphs of the document; using “Introduction” in a subheading wouldn’t be a great choice.

There are three levels of subheadings. Subheadings in ASA formatting are always left-aligned and are never written in the bold letters. Note that the editing style of the following subheadings correspond with the way they should appear in the text:

  • Letters in caps signify the first-level subheading
  • Do not use bold font
  • Do not begin with a heading such as Introduction
  1. Second-Level Subheading
  • Italicized
  • Title case (the first letter of each word is capitalized except for articles and prepositions)
  • Do not use bold font
  1. Third-level subheading
  • Italicized
  • Only first word is capitalized
  • Should be followed by a period
  • Should be indented in the beginning of the paragraph

General ASA Citation Rules

asa citation example

There are a few simple rules when it comes to the ASA writing style:

  • This type of work avoids using the first-person, unless instructed otherwise.
  • Since the paper will be heavily referenced, it is best to avoid giving opinions—unless the essay is argumentative.
  • The writing must be straightforward and written in the active voice. Jargon, common expressions, slang, and superlatives are always best avoided.
  • Words like ”percent” and “verses” are always spelled and not abbreviated, unless they appear as data in tables or graphs.
  • Gendered terms are only used if they are crucial in the specific analysis. Otherwise, avoid using references such as “mankind” and instead use non-gendered terms such as “humanity” or “the global population”, etc.
  • Racial and ethnic stereotyping is another thing to be cautious of. Be specific when describing a race or ethnicity. Use Japanese instead of Asian; Mexican instead of Latino.
  • If the text requires acronym usage, provide the full name with the acronym in parentheses. After this, you can stick to the acronym:
    (first time) Based on a report conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)...
    (later in the text) The CIA report concludes…

ASA In-Text Citations

How and When to Use In-Text Citations

The ASA citation format is similar to APA when it comes to in-text citations and they are used when presenting information from any source. The general rule for American Sociological Association citations is to state the last name of the author and the initial publishing date of the referenced material. Here are some in-text citation examples:

  • If the author's name is in the sentence, simply include the year:
ASA in text citation example: When Vasari (1550) studied the renaissance painters…
  • If not - put the author’s last name inside the parentheses:
ASA in text citation example: When the renaissance painters were studied (Vasari 1550)...
  • When citing reprinted work with several publish dates, list the first date and then the most recent one, separated with a slash.
ASA in text citation example: (Reed and Christgau 1978/2013)

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ASA Citation for Multiple Authors

Below are a few examples of using ASA in-text citations for multiple authors.

  • For two, write both their surnames, followed by the year of publication.

ASA citation example:

(Bockris and Malanga 2003)

  • For three or more, include all last names in the first citation. In later citations, include the first name and ‘et al.’ along with the year of publication.
ASA citation example: (Breton, Magritte, and Dali 1961) — first citation
(Breton et al. 1961) — later citations
  • If the work does not provide the writer’s name, give enough information to find the work in the reference list.
ASA citation example: (U.S. Department of Justice 1977:82)
  • For multiple citations, separate the references with a semicolon and place them sequentially.
ASA citation example: (Rutt 1950; Smith 1952)
(Kenway et al. 1934; Stewart 1981)
  • For a citation of reprinted work that had been published earlier and was released again, include both years of publication. First the earliest, followed by a slash and the later year.
ASA citation example: (Smith and Greyjoy 1995/2019)
  • For unpublished work that is to be published soon, use forthcoming in lieu of a date. If the date has not been determined, use n.d.
ASA citation example: Cramer (n.d.) conducted research on interracial relationships of the twentieth century.

Citing Quotes

Short quotations in the body of the text should have quotation marks. Quotations of more than 40 words are called block quotations and should be offset from the rest of the text with a single space. When using block quotes in ASA citation format, omit quotation marks. The works are cited as usual, although besides the year of the publication, the page number should also be included. The year is separated from the pagination with a semicolon.

Example: In his studies, Newton (1704:21) discovered that…

ASA Reference Page

The ASA citation reference page should start with the word REFERENCES. All references are double-spaced and are placed using a hanging indent. Capitalize the first letter of everything except for prepositions, articles, and conjunctions—although you should capitalize them if they are in the beginning of the reference’s title or subtitle.
References are listed in alphabetical order based on the authors’ last names.

  • First and middle names are included for all authors unless they used initials in the publication.
  • If the author repeats, still include their full name on all the references. In that case, arrange the work in chronological order from oldest to newest.
  • If the same author is in both a single-authored reference as the first author and in a multi-authored reference, you should place single-authored references first.
  • When you are including multiple works by the same author(s) from the same year, include letters after the year and list all of the references from one author alphabetically.
  • Make sure to include all of the authors of the publications. You may not use et al in the REFERENCES section.

The ASA reference page looks similar to APA with a few deviations. Here is how to cite the most common types of references, like writers of our graduate paper writing service do:

How to Cite Books:
Author [Last, First]. Year of Publication. Title (italicized). Place of Publishing: Publisher.

Example of an ASA reference: James, Henry. 2003. The Turn of the Screw. New York: Barns & Noble Books.

How to Cite E-Books:
Author [Last, First]. Year of Publication. Title (italicized). Place of Publishing: Publisher. Retrieved Month Day, Year {link}.

Example of an ASA reference: James, Henry. 2003. The Turn of the Screw. New York: Penguin Books Kindle Version. Retrieved January 18, 2017. {link}

How to Cite a Journal Article:
Author [Last, First]. Year of Publication. "Title (italicized).” Journal Name issue #: inclusive page numbers.

Example of an ASA reference: Feekins, Bo. 2008. “Chasing Tree Frogs.” National Geographic #182. 6-10

How to Cite a Magazine Article:
Author [Last, First]. Year of Pub. "Title (italicized).” Magazine Name, Month Year, pp. Inclusive page numbers.

Example of an ASA reference: Geary, Rachel. 2012. “The Issue with Mastery Learning.” New York Times, April 2002. Pp. 15-23.

How to Cite a Web Page ASA Style:
Author [Last, First]. Date of Publishing. Title. Publisher. Retrieved Month Day, Year {link}.

Example of an ASA reference: Lee, Bruce. 03.09.2004. Birth of a Nation. Retrieved 18.01.2017. {link}

Footnotes and Endnotes

Footnotes and endnotes come into play when you need to expand the text, add or explain information from the table, or cite materials with limited access.

Endnotes are more likely than footnotes to be used. It is better to choose whether you will be using endnotes or footnotes in your ASA format paper and then use one or the other consistently throughout the paper. Each entry should not exceed 100 words. They are usually placed at the bottom of the page that the reference is on.

Footnotes appear on the same page as the material being underlined or expanded upon. They should be numbered in the order they appear using Arabic numerals.

Endnotes are listed at the end of the paper after the ‘References’ section.
Both footnotes and endnotes are numbered for the ASA citation. There must always be some harmony in how they are utilized.

For example: If you use footnotes to define difficult vocabulary in the text, do not do the same thing in endnotes. Avoid mixing them up to give the paper stronger continuity.

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Step-by-Step Guide on How to Use ASA Style Formatting in Your Essay

Step Details
1. Page Formatting Set your document to have 1-inch margins on all sides.
Use a readable font like Times New Roman or Arial, size 12.
Double-space the entire document, including the reference list.
Number all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, starting with the title page.
2. Title Page Create a separate page with title, name, affiliation, and running head with page number.
3. Title Center a concise (<12 words) title at the top of the first page.
4. Abstract If required, summarize your paper (150-250 words) on a new page, titled "Abstract."
5. Body of the Paper Start main text after the abstract or title page, organized with section headers if needed.
6. In-text Citations Use author-date format within parentheses at the end of sentences (e.g., Jones, 2010).
7. Reference List Create a separate page titled "References" at the end, alphabetically listing all cited sources.
8. Formatting Specifics Capitalize only the first word, proper nouns, and first word after a colon in titles. Italicize longer works like books and journals.

ASA Paper Example

Now that we have covered all of the details for ASA paper formatting, let’s look at an example to get some practical experience and a better understanding of ASA format citation from our economics essay writing service.

Sociology of Immigration
Sociology of Immigration
Racial Profiling
Racial Profiling

You can also read more about APA or other essay writing format in the article prepared by our experts. Rest assured that your essay is in good hands of coursework writing services.


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Adam Jason

Adam Jason

is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

What was changed:
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  • Added a table for Basics of ASA Citation and Subheadings
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