Format and Citation Guide for ASA Paper Example

By: Tasha Kolesnikova

13 min



Format and Citation Guide for ASA Paper Example

How Do You Define ASA?

The question that comes to your mind about ASA style is what it is. Many authors, writers, researchers, and students gravitated to research and studies in sociological sciences in the past few decades. By observing the growing number of scholarly publications in sociology, the American Sociological Association issued standard formatting guidelines for sociology journals and articles. You find the citation details easily on their website that is constantly updated to keep aligned with the community's modern transformations. You should know that Contemporary Sociology (CS) and American Sociological Review (ASR) associations release various publications annually in this domain.

Why do you use this style? Remember, the citation is essential to avoid plagiarism and help you write, submit, and publish papers skillfully. Besides, a standard format allows your work to appear professional.

What Is the Story Behind ASA Format?

The story began in the 19th century when the American Sociological Association (ASA) founded a platform to support sociological studies as the scientific discipline and profession. Sociologists at educational institutes and researchers contribute great effort to advance this discipline by promoting the specified format and citation for ASA documents. People from government, non-profit organizations, and other agencies also participated in sociology by exploring communities under this institution.

You must highlight the vision of the institution while discussing its history. The mission is to serve sociologists, advance a particular discipline as a profession and subject, and promote the research in a specific field. With emerging contributions in sociological research, the institution launched ASA format specifically for sociology discipline to meet the quality standard at a potential level.

Is There Any Similarity Between APA And ASA Format?

Are you confused about different writing formats? So are we because each layout and citation demands distinct fonts, size, margins, and title. Here, one more question appears. Do you find APA and ASA similar? In sociology, researchers potentially utilize the two set-ups for writing academic papers. ASA style resembles APA citation in terms of function and appearance. For example, you use parenthetical referencing while quoting APA references and refer to Author-Date information. The ASA style features this pattern of citation.

Guidelines to Write ASA Document Professionally

Professionals emphasize bibliographic styling to improve communication with the reader as it aligns each heading logically. Students and professionals under respective disciplines share various examples of the ASA manuscript. You make sure that you follow the guidelines with appropriate in-text citations and references included. Before putting down the ASA style, you should look out three points. Specifications relating to title page, abstract, and references make ASA stand apart from other formats. A few primary considerations include:

  • Utilize ASA when you write under sociology discipline;
  • Margin set at one and font need to be 12pt;
  • The overall text must be double spaced;
  • The paper contains a running head with a short title in all-caps on the right of the first page;
  • The page number should be flush left on the first page.

The guideline for each step in the ASA manuscript helps you make your paper stand out.

What Do You Consider In a Title Page?

You require a separate title page to outline the necessary information (your name, university name, course, etc.) and the study's topic. Remember, everything needs to be center-aligned except for the running head. The title of the term paper, author’s name, institute’s name, your name, and date must be in the center and vertically aligned. Don’t forget about running head as it creates an impression on the reviewer while examining the research write-ups. Ensure that the title is less than 60 characters and on the left corner, whereas the page number is on the top-right corner of the first page.

How is it distinct from other formatting styles? The ASA title page has a footnote title and the author’s information, grants, credits, and acknowledgment.

Abstract on Second Page

After designing a title, you move to the abstract that outlines the paper summary is written 150 to 200 words. The abstract should be on a separate page with a center-aligned header. An ideal abstract succinctly summarizes each component of your paper. The abstract is an art, and it has its voice, let it speak for you!

You need to list four to five words from the paper in the last line.

Follow the Subheadings’ Rules

Headings or subheadings make your text look appealing. Don’t you think the same? ASA style structure comes in three different patterns, with variations in font size and alignment.

First Level Heading

In ASA style, you never start with a heading. The introduction begins with a paragraph right after the title page (or an abstract) without a header. Afterward, you place the first heading with capital letters and left-justified without bolding.

Second Level Heading

The second heading under the first one is Italicized and left-justified. Here, you can use the title case but don’t boldface it.

Third Level Heading

The heading at level three isn’t boldfaced but italicized and left-justified. You keep it in sentence-case, which involves capitalizing the only first word of the heading. You assure that you start the next paragraph with an indent followed by a period.

Assure to Follow ASA Citation Guidelines

To become proficient in the ASA, you should be an expert at citing and referencing the supported articles. The general citation rules to track in respective formatting are as follows.

  • Remember to cite the author’s last name with the year of publication;
  • When quoting a paper, remember to do in-text citation with the number from where the section abstracted;
  • There are two different types of citations: (i) narrative and (ii) in-text. In narrative citations, the author’s last name is followed by the year of publication in parenthesis, e.g., David (2019). In-text citations usually fit at the end of a sentence just before a coma period containing the author's last name followed by year both parenthesized, e.g. (David, 2019).

ASA In-Text Citations

While writing a paper with ASA structure, make sure you will not violate the ethical codes of attribution and authorship credit with citations and references. In teaching practice, presentation, and publication under the sociology discipline, you must avoid plagiarism. For this, don’t forget to acknowledge the author’s work where you borrow any piece of information from. Students and professionals have to reference and allude to the sources appropriately by following the ASA style's general guidelines.

Do You Know When And How to Do In-text Citations?

To gain good marks in university paper and grab the reviewers' attention, you should know where and how to do ASA in text citation accurately. When will you do in-text citation, and how?

Reprinted and Unpublished Work

Authors from various universities and schools guide students to do in-text citations of the reprinted and unpublished work. Both of these works are cited differently. You make sure to quote the earliest date and then-recent date like (John 1996/2010) for reprinted work. Researchers further emphasize to mention the unpublished work with not dated (N.D). For example, you refer to this as Michael (n.d) indicated in his report.

Follow Guidelines to Cite Others

Be conscious while quoting information from multiple authors. You separate the last name of the two authors with ‘and’ like (Luther and Emily 2020). For three authors, you use the last names of the three authors and cite them as Smith, John, and Emily (2019) proposed that. For more than three authors, you use the last name of the first writer, followed by “et al.” which refers to all other writers (Brown et al. 2018).

Citing Quotes is Interesting

Quotations in writing add to the paper's quality if used and cited correctly, e.g., short quotations in manuscript with quotation marks on both ends. You add readings in your write-up with single spacing and up to 40 words only by separating it with the main text or information.

Blockquotes don’t have quotation marks, but the short quotations have. The citations that follow the quotation marks, such as (Kate 2002:52) don’t have space between publication year and the page number.

ASA Reference Page

Referencing the right sources in the right way is crucial while writing an academic paper. It would help if you considered general guidelines of references to gain good marks. The follow up for references:

  • References need to be in ascending order and hanging;
  • Use title case for the title of the journal except for prepositions, conjunctions, articles, and other connecting words;
  • Never use et al. in references and write each author’s name.

You can improve references write-up with the understanding of the differences in referencing style as guided you below.

Book Reference with Chapter

Referring to a book seems complicated for students. So let’s discuss how to cite a book in the paper? You separate the author’s name with commas and then the year of publication. The book's name must be italicized with a full stop to end. Then, the book edition is mentioned in the sentence case, along with the publisher's name. For example:

“Steve, John, and Michael. 2020. Strategic Management. 4th ed. Harvard Business Review.”

For adding a chapter in the reference, you mention the chapter title with quotation marks. Following the title, you include page number to designate chapter with Pp symbol and only utilize initial names for an editor with the publisher’s location. The example below helps you write the book name with the chapter and the page number.

Steve, Biden. 2019. “Strategic Management”.” Pp. 345-515 in Human Resource Management. Vol.4, International Sociology, edited by S.Y, Robin, K, Messy, and A. Danlock. Beijing: Sage.

How Do You Reference Journal Articles?

The majority of universities and professional institutions emphasize utilizing journal articles as supporting evidence in a paper to maximize your work's credibility. This way, you should understand how to refer to a journal article accurately. Here is the list of a few essential rules:

  • The last name appears first along with the year of publication;
  • Use title case for the title enclosed in quotation marks;
  • Always remember that volume number and journal-title must be italic;
  • You shouldn’t create space between the volume number and page colon;
  • Separate two or three authors with a comma in between.

For example:

Maria, John. 2018. “The Positive Vibes in Society.” International Journal of Sociology 54:559-1109.

Referencing Magazine and Newspaper

Students excessively use magazines and newspapers papers because of authenticity. For magazines, you mention the title as a quote with date and month information and the magazine name. You don’t quote the newspaper title, but the publishing month must be there in reference.

For example,

Kim, Rand. 2020. “Issue in K-Town,” Times Magazine, January 13, pp. 20-22. 2015. Newspaper editorial. July 22, p. A-8.

Citing Public Sources on Reference Page

For secondary research, students use public sources. We have shared a few essential guidelines as follow to help you get a hold of it:

You refer to the report by italicizing the title with the city name, law with section information, and constitution with Article and section detail. For example:

International Department of Sociology, 2019. Annual Report: City, Fiscal Year 2018 (BLMI Report, No. 21), International Department of Sociology.

New York Revised Code Annotated, Section 525 (West 2005)

U.S. Constitution, Article 4, Section 8.

Legislative reports are legal publishers. You write an act and case initially with the volume number, abbreviated title, and publication date for the case. Make sure to mention Arabic numerals date in parenthesis and cases in italic. For example:

Eden v. Board of Labor, 425 U.S. 529 (1983).

You mention author, year, and title of presentation for unpublished material. For example:

John, Michael, 2019. “Survey Report.” The report presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, December 18, Ohio.

Let’s Do a Reference for Dissertation and Archival Sources

Researchers majorly use archival sources and dissertations for thematic analysis. In a qualitative report, both of these sources have exceptional significance. Why don’t we focus on those references? These are included in public sources, and we cite them by sticking to the following guidelines:

For the dissertation, you use the title case for the writing title, and it must be enclosed in quotation marks along with department, university, and country information. See the example below.

John, Steve M., 2016. “Law of Society Roles: History and Contemporary Affairs.” Master’s Dissertation, Department of Psychology, University of New York, US.

For archival citation, you mention, date, month, and file number before highlighting the title. Likewise:

Lean Archives, MCF, Box 9, June 12, 2019. File 05. The memo, conference with Janes Current, Director of Organization, National Institute of Socio-cultural Development.

Distinct Citation and Referencing Rules Apply to Electronic Sources

Educational institutes and research institutions actively use internet sources and digital channels to extract data. For writing a professional manuscript, you need to refer to sources from electronic channels.

  • For referencing websites, you make sure that the title must be title case with quotation marks at both ends along with retrieval date and URL of the website in the reference;
  • For E-journal articles, you follow the same instruction for the title, but here you add page number, volume in the end;
  • You don’t cite social media sources on the reference page but in footnotes with its URL and title page.

Don’t Forget Footnotes and Endnotes

In ASA style, instructors ask you to use endnotes or footnotes to provide additional information on presented tables and cite less available materials to expand writing. It would help if you used footnotes on the title page and tables. Endnotes appear mainly in the sociological journal. Don’t mix footnotes with endnotes in the paper.

You use superscript numbers to cite footnotes or endnotes in the text. Repeat the process for all other footnotes. Every page has the footnotes referring to the citations on it.

For the endnote, you adopt a slightly different strategy. Endnote appears at the end of the manuscript in numerical order with double spacing. This portion must be separated from References.

Here, the Bonus Tips for You

The tips highlighted above are not enough. Let us unfold bonus tips for you to excel in the ASA style.

  • Make sure you don’t use the passive voice in writing and avoid common expressions, slangs, and jargons in the essay;
  • Never use the first person unless it is a reflection;
  • Work with facts and cite each source accurately with authentic references. Don’t share your general opinions;
  • While using acronyms, mention the full name and acronym in parentheses for once;
  • Adding tables and graphs containing enhance the value of write-up
  • Evade biased facts and opinions in the paper;
  • Follow the format, style, font size, sub-heading guidelines, citing information, and references to create a professional manuscript in the ASA style.

With a thorough guide, we hope you know how to create an outstanding paper with ASA writing format.

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I studied sociology and marketing at Europa-Universität Viadrina (Germany) and Universidade da Beira Interior (Portugal). When I was a sophomore, back in 2018, I decided to put what I've learned into practice, so I got my first job in digital marketing. I currently work in the content marketing department at Studybay, building strong, effective, and respectful communication between the platform and our clients.

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