Guide On ASA Format & Citations From Some Of The Worlds Greatest Writers!

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ASA style or format is a common occurrence in sociology, and there are high chances you’ll be told to use this format if you’re a sociology student. The ASA style guide released by the American Sociological Association specifies the rules and regulations that must be practiced in this format. This article will help you walk through the basics of the ASA citation style.

What is an ASA citation?

ASA stands for “American Sociological Association.” Scholars, academics, and sociology students use the ASA format citation in their manuscripts or articles which they submit to the sociology department or the field of sociology. If the ASA citation format is not employed properly, the paper may be discredited, or its acknowledgments may be postponed.

The ASA citation style is similar to the APA style, with the most notable similarity being that both styles use parenthetical references. The references are listed at the paper’s end in the “References” section. 

When using the ASA citation format, please focus on those parts of the paper that the format influences, like the title page, abstract, heading format, reference list, in-text citations, and its formatting specifics.

ASA citation format

When using the ASA citation format, one must follow a few general formatting rules from the style Guide.

  • Ensure every text in the paper (including footnotes) uses a 12’ font size and is double-spaced.
  • Each side of the paper must have a margin of 14-inches.
  • Add a separate title page to include the paper’s title, all the authors’ names, total word count, and a title footnote (with the author(s), addresses, credits, grants, and acknowledgments).
  • If necessary, an abstract of 200 words should be included along with a title. 
  • Pages, tables, figures, footnotes, and endnotes are numbered sequentially like (1,2,3…) or (Table 1, Table 2, Table 3…).

ASA Title Page

When you pick up a paper, you see the title page first. So, it is your responsibility to make it look sharp and follow all the rules to appear presentable and professional.

The following information is typically included on the ASA citation format title page:

  • ASA header (which is also the work’s full title)
  • Authors’ names and institutions
  • The total number of words
  • Author’s address or the address of the one who receives feedback and communication about the work
  • All contributors/sponsors are given credit or acknowledgment.
  • Grants/funding for research or publication

ASA Abstract

The abstract is placed on a separate page in between the title page and the beginning of the essay. It is typically between 150 and 200 words in length. This page typically contains a list of keywords that aid in determining the primary points of study in the essay.

What are the Subheadings used in ASA format?

Subheadings are employed to arrange body paragraphs in the ASA citation format. There are three levels of subheadings, all of which are left-aligned and never in bold letters. All three subheading-level format is as given below.

First-level Subheading

  • Use uppercase letters to signify the first-level subheading
  • Avoid bold font
  • Never start a heading with an Introduction

Second-Level Subheading

  • Use italics format
  • Use title case
  • Never use bold font

Third-level subheading

  • Use italics format
  • Capitalize the first word 
  • It should be followed by a period
  • It must be indented at the commencement of the paragraph

What are the ASA Citation Guidelines?

When using the ASA writing style, there are some simple rules to follow:

  • Avoid first-person narrative unless otherwise instructed.
  • Personal thoughts and opinions must not be used (due to references used)—unless it’s an argumentative essay, avoid opinions.
  • The writing must be direct and in an active voice. Avoid jargon, common expressions, slang, and superlatives.
  • Unless they show up as data in tables or graphs, certain words like “verses” are always spelled and not abbreviated.
  • Gendered terms are only used when they are critical to the analysis. Otherwise, avoid using terms like “mankind” and instead use non-gendered terms like “humanity” or “the global population,” for example.
  • Another thing to be wary of is racial and ethnic stereotyping. When describing a race or ethnicity, be specific. Replace Asian with Japanese and Latino with Mexican.
  • Use the full name with the acronym in parentheses if the text calls for it. Following that, you can use the acronym:

Example: (for the first time) According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report.. (later in the text) According to the WHO report…

Examples of ASA in-text citation

In relation to in-text citations, the American Sociological Association citation structure is just like APA and is employed to display any information from any resource. The general rule for ASA citations consists – of the author’s last name along with the first publication date. Here are some examples of in-text citations:

Example 1: Add the year if the author’s name is in the sentence:

When Michelangelo (1400) studied the renaissance painters…

Example 2: Else – add the author’s last name within the brackets:

When the renaissance painters were studied (Michelangelo 1400)…

Example 3: When quoting reprinted work with multiple publication dates, mention the very first and then the most recent, separated by a slash.

Reed and Christgau 1978/2013

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ASA citation for multiple authors

The examples below show how to use ASA in-text citations for multiple authors.

Write both their surnames and follow it up by the year of publication, when the two authors are concerned.

Example: Pratchett and Gaiman 1990

Encompass all last names in the first citation if there are three or more. Include the first name, ‘et al.,’ and the year of publication in subsequent citations.

Example: first citation: Carr, Smith, and Jones 1962

Later citation: Carr et al. 1962

If the work does not include the author’s name, provide sufficient information to locate the work in the reference list.

Example: U.S.A Department of Justice 1977:82

When citing multiple sources, use a semicolon to separate them and arrange them sequentially.

Example: Rutt 1950; Smith 1952

Kenway et al. 1934; Stewart 1981

Include both years of publication when citing reprinted work that was previously published and republished. The earliest publication year comes first, followed by a slash and the later year.

Example: Smith and Greyjoy 1995/2019

In the absence of a date, use forthcoming for unpublished work that will be published soon. If no date can be determined, use n.d.

Example: Cramer (n.d.) researched interracial relationships of the twentieth century.

What is an ASA reference page?

The reference page comprises the sources or references that have been used in the work. When working on this page, ensure the word REFERENCES appears at the top of the ASA citation reference page. Also, all references must be double-spaced and with a hanging indent except for prepositions, articles, and conjunctions, which should be capitalized if they appear at the start of the reference’s title or subtitle. Capitalize the first letter of everything. The references are listed alphabetically by the author’s surnames.

  • The first and middle names of all authors first are included unless they used initials in the publication.
  • If the writer repeats themselves, add their full name in all the references and arrange the work from oldest to newest in chronological order.
  • If the same author is listed as the first author in both a single-authored and a multi-authored reference, the single-authored references should come first.
  • Include letters after the year and alphabetically list all references from one author when there are multiple works by the same author(s) and from the same year.
  • Include all authors from the publications.
  • You may not use et al. in the REFERENCES section.

The ASA reference page resembles the APA reference page with a few exceptions. Here’s how essay writers online cite the most common types of references:

Book citation format:

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

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

EBook citation format:

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

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

Web page citation format:

Author [Last, First]. Date of Publishing. Title. Publisher. Retrieved Month Day, Year {link}.

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

ASA footnotes and ASA endnotes

Footnotes and endnotes help expand the text, illustrate or add information from the table, or cite materials with restricted access.

Endnotes are more common than footnotes and are usually found at the bottom of the page comprising the reference. It is preferable if you decide whether to use endnotes or footnotes in your ASA format paper and stick to one throughout. Each entry should be no more than 100 words long.

Footnotes appear on the same page as the material highlighted or expanded upon. They must be numbered in the order they appear, using Arabic numerals.

Endnotes are also listed after the ‘References section at the end of the paper.

Usually, the footnotes and endnotes are both numbered in the ASA citation. They must always be used in a harmonious manner.

For example, if you use footnotes in the text to define complex vocabulary, do not use endnotes to do the same. Also, avoid mixing them to give the paper more continuity.

A perfect ASA Paper Example (a small snippet)

Listed below is an essay example for your reference.

Inequality as a Result of Disability

A disability is a situation in which someone has a mental or physical impairment. In the case of impairment, the person is normally disadvantaged, and their ability to carry out daily activities is hampered. As a result, they are frequently excluded from formal and informal education.

People with disabilities face many injustices and forms of discrimination in almost every part of the world. They face these issues despite sharing national wealth, national borders, and federal poverty. (Richard and Baldridge, 2015)

There are many different types of disabilities, but we will focus on physical and mental disabilities for this paper.


A writer must pay attention to every detail when writing an ASA paper. You can refer to this article to get valuable information and basic details on this format. Additionally, practice this format regularly and check out the ASA paper examples and samples to get a good understanding of this format.

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