What is ASA Style Paper?

ASA is an abbreviation for the American Sociological Association. ASA style is one of common formatting styles, intended for standardizing scientific papers. When the instructor asks you to use ASA style for your work, this means that you need to present the paper using specific rules of formatting. Likely, you have already heard about such formatting styles as MLA, APA, Chicago, and Harvard. These styles are all used for certain disciplines. Those students and scientists, who study sociology, use ASA for organizing their essays and research papers.

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Complete information about ASA requirements you may find in ASA Style Guide 2010 (4th edition). This guidance provides detailed rules of citation, determines specific features of papers' sections. It also describes a specific system of in text referencing and on Reference List. Before you begin writing ASA paper, find the ASA Style Guide, which is available in public libraries, electronic libraries and bookstores.

Why do we need any formatting styles? The answer is simple - to write papers according to unified standards in order to make them readable and easy to assess. Using formatting styles we make the process of evaluation and information search faster and more efficient. For example, any reader will find any cited book using unified reference in the Reference List. ASA also helps sociologists to cite sources properly, which demonstrates credibility of their works. In such a way researchers avoid plagiarism.

ASA style demands strict compliance with copyright. For this reason, each source in your work, whether it is publication, presentation, or other type of paper, must be accurately cited. Sociologists always provide references when they use others’ works, whether they use ideas or data word for word, or paraphrase.

ASA style paper has a separate title page. It contains the title of work, author's name, names of institutions, total number of words (counted with all references and footnotes). The title page also must have a footnote with author's address, funding or grants, additional acknowledgements.

Writing abstract is optional. Place it on a separate page, right after the title page. The abstract must have a heading - the title of your paper. Write about two hundred words and do not include the author's name. Include the list of keywords (about five) on the same page.

The text of paper should be placed at least on 1.25 inch on all sides. The first page of text starts with the full title. You may use three levels of subheadings. Do not use bold font for any level. The first-level subheadings should be typed with capital letters only. The second-level subheadings should be italicized and written according to title case. The third-level subheadings should be also italicized, but only the first letter is capital. Place all subheadings should be on the left.

When you need to cite some source, it is better to use parenthetical citation. Endnotes and footnotes may be used if it is required. In this case you will need to make a special endnotes/footnotes section. If you use a parenthetical citation, you need to put it at the end of your sentence or paragraph (where the information block ends).

In-text citations commonly consist of the author’s last name and the year when the work was published. The page can be included when you need to make a direct quote.

Number the pages with arabic numbers. Start with a title page and finish on a reference page. For tables and figures write as follows: Table 1, Table 2… and Figure 1, Figure 2. Do not put tables and figures right into the text. Place them at the end of your work, each on a separate page. Give each table or figure an informative header. In tables, avoid using abbreviations if possible.

Make a separate reference list and title it "References". Prepare a draft of this list of sources together with the main body of the paper. List your sources in an alphabetical order, putting author's last name on the first place. If the author is unknown, start with the first main word in the title. Titles of sources must be italicized. Leave the first line at the level of the left margin. Indent all following lines ½ inch from the left margin. Here is an example:

Michael Mayerfeld Bell. 2011. An Invitation to Environmental Sociology. Madison: SAGE Publications.

ASA Guide explains in details how to make entries of books, journal, magazine or newspaper articles, online sources, etc.

Fulfilling any style requirements is a complex task, especially when you have to do this for the first time. You might need help and advice. Experienced writers know everything about writing styles. Our service is a team of professionals, who are experts in their fields. So you should not waste your time in attempts to master ASA or any other style.

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