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A Guide to ASA Citation and Writing Style

A Guide to ASA Citation and Writing Style

The field of sociology is where you would most commonly find an ASA style paper or manuscript. ASA itself means ‘American Sociological Association,’ and its 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 need that section to be called “Works Cited” and formatted in a different way. Another noticeable trademark of the ASA citation format is its emphasis on the date. It always follows the author’s name.

Our essay writers have created an overall guide to the ASA citation style that you can find below. EssayPro is always thre to help!

Table Of Contents

General ASA Citation Format

There are a few general formatting requirements that need to be applied when using ASA citation. Stick to the following format, unless instructed otherwise:

  • Make sure all written text (including footnotes, etc.) is in font size 12 and double-spaced.
  • Place margins at 1 ¼ inches on each side.
  • The first page (that follows the title page and abstract) begins with the paper’s title.
  • Pages, tables, figures, footnotes, and endnotes are numbered sequentially (1,2,3…) or (Table 1, Table 2, Table 3…)

ASA Style Paper Format

Title Page

A title page is what one sees when picking up any paper. ASA format title pages usually contain the following information:

  • Full title of the work
  • Names and institutions of the writers
  • A total word count
  • Address of the author, or one who receives communication regarding the work
  • Credits or acknowledgments of all contributors or sponsors


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.


An ASA style paper uses subheadings to organize body paragraphs. They do not serve as ‘sections’ of the document. Using Introduction in a subheading wouldn’t be a great choice.
Subheadings are always left-aligned and 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

Here’s a Second-Level Subheading

  • Italicized
  • Title case (the first letter of each word is capitalized except for articles and prepositions)

Third-level subheading

  • Italicized
  • Only first word is capitalized

Footnotes And Endnotes

Footnotes appear on the same page as the material being underlined or expanded upon. Endnotes are listed at the end of the paper after the ‘References’ section. Both are numbered for the ASA style 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.

How And When To Use In-Text Citations

The ASA citation style is similar to APA when it comes to in-text citations. These are used when presenting information from any source. The general rule for the ASA in-text citation 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:

  • When Vasari (1550) studied the renaissance painters…

If not - put the author’s last name inside the parentheses:

  • 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.

  • (Reed and Christgau 1978/2013)

If you need some help citing works, head on to our essay writing service. Apart from providing custom essay writing, we can assist you with editing and polishing up any papers you wrote.

Citing Quotes

Short quotations are cited in quotation marks and include the page number after a colon. There is no space between the year number and the page number.

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

Quotations of more than 40 words (block quotations) remain separate from the main text and made single-spaced. Such quotes do not require quotation marks.

ASA Citation for Multiple Authors

Below are a few examples of using the ASA in-text citation for multiple authors. For two, write both their surnames.

  • (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.’.

  • (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.

  • (U.S. Department of Justice 1977:82)

For multiple citations, separate the references with a semicolon and place them sequentially.

  • (Rutt, 1950; Smith 1952)

  • (Kenway et al. 1934; Stewart 1981)

ASA Format Reference Page

All references are double-spaced and use a hanging indent. Title case is used in all references. Capitalize everything except for prepositions, articles, and conjunctions.

  • 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. Arrange the work in chronological order from oldest to newest.

The ASA reference page looks similar to APA with a few deviations. Here is how to cite the most common types of references:

  • How to Cite Books: Author [Last, First]. Year of Publication. Title. Country of Publisher: Publisher.

    • Example: 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. Country of Publisher: Publisher. Retrieved Month Day, Year {link}.

    • Example: 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." Journal Name issue #: inclusive page numbers.

    • Example: Feekins, Bo. 2008. “Chasing Tree Frogs.” National Geographic #182. 6-10
  • How to Cite a Magazine Article: Author Last, First. Year of Pub. "Title." Magazine Name, Month Year, pp. Inclusive page numbers.

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

ASA Writing Style

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 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 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 are another thing to be cautious about. 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 text) The CIA report concludes…

Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

ASA citation style is a very handy guide for sociology papers. However, sometimes many people confuse the ASA with the APA, as psychology could be a branch of sociology. Make sure you know which one your instructor prefers for you to use before you embark on your writing process. The ASA format, much like APA and MLA, has in-text citations. It also has a References section at the end of the paper where all of the sources are listed. As the article states, each in-text citation should be linked to an entry in the references page. Don’t let the similarities between ASA and APA catch you off guard! For example in the ASA format, an abstract is not mandatory, so if your instructor doesn’t explicitly state that you need it, clarify it with them or don’t include it, as it will be extra. In the ASA format style, you can also utilize footnotes and endnotes like in the Chicago style.

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Further ASA Format Help

An ASA paper requires a lot of attention to detail. If you are still having trouble citing ASA style papers, you can order an essay from our essay writing service. By doing so, you can receive a custom essay or request our professional writers to proofread, edit, or rewrite existing papers. Rest assured that your essay is in good hands!

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