Using ASA Style for Papers
This page is a style guide for using the American Sociological Association standards to format your writing assignments for sociology. All citations use imaginary books and articles.

Table of Contents:
I. General Formatting Instructions
II. When to Cite
III. In-Text Citations
IV. Bibliographies/Works Cited
    a. Books
    b. Articles
    c. Websites
    d. Visual Media

General Formatting Instructions
  • Your paper should be double-spaced and in a standard 12-point font (suggested fonts are Times, Times New Roman, Ariel, Helvetica, or Garamond) in black ink.
  • Margins should be no less than one inch and no more than 1 1/4 inch on all sides.
  • You should number your pages.
  • Be sure to use paragraphs.
  • Your paper must have a title, preferably not just the name of the assignment.
  • Your name should appear on at least the first page of the paper and preferably on all pages.
  • If your paper has multiple sections, each section should be given a section title in bold.
  • Quotations of less than three lines should appear in the text just like any other sentance, but with quotation marks. Quotations of more than three lines should be set off as a block quote. Do not correct grammar or spelling in a quote unless you see no other option. If you must do so, clearly indicate with [brackets] what you have changed. Note any excisions from the quote with three dots (...). If you are concerned about bad grammar, you can leave the quote as originally worded but follow it with the notation sic, which roughly means "it was like this in the original."
  • If you submit your paper electronically, it should be in *.doc (Microsoft Word), *.rtf (Rich Text Format), *.pdf (Portable Document Format), or *.html (HTML/Web) to ensure compatability.
  • You should, in general, avoid footnotes/endnotes. However, sometimes these are necesary for providing extra explanitory materials. When you do use them, be sure they are numbered correctly. Footnotes appear in small type on the bottom of the page. Endnotes appear at the end of the text but before the bibliography. Choose one style and stick with it, and do not use these for regular citations.
  • Citations appear in the text, as outlined below. All materials you consulted should appear in a seperate section at the end of the text, titled "Bibliography," "Works Cited," or "References." These should be in alphabetical order by the author's last name. If more than one work is by the same author, order them by publication date. Bibliographies should be formated with a "hanging indent." For more information on bibliographies, see the bibliography section of this document.
When to Cite
One of the things that new writers often struggle with is the decision of when and what they must cite. First, if you are worried about making the wrong decision, it is better to err on the side of caution and cite everything and always. But in general, a good rule is that whenever sources you consulted influenced your thinking in any way or whenever you present ideas you got from a source, that source should be cited. All of these sources should appear in your bibliography/works cited/references section.

In-text citations are a little more complicated. For in-text citations, you should present a citation whenever the idea you are discussing was drawn wholy or in part from a text or group of texts. Remember that you can always present more than one citation in the same portion of text. In addition, whenever you paraphrase an idea or comment,you must use an in-text citation. I encourage you to not try too hard to paraphrase, since all ideas need attribution and citations anyway. If paraphrasing comes easily, do it and provide a citation. If it does not, do it and provide a quotation. Quotations require quotation marks or block quotes, in-text citations, and page numbers.

In-Text Citations
In ASA style, in-text citations appear in parenthesis. The general format is: (Author Year). In this format, "Author" refers to the author's last name and year refers to the four-digit year of publication.
Example: (Berger 1999)

If the author's name is used as part of a sentance, the citation should read (Year).
Example: Berger (1999) writes that...

If you are using a direct quote, use a colon (:) followed by the page number. For quotes that travel across multiple pages, be sure to indicate the starting and ending papges. The citation follows the close-quote mark.
Examples: (Berger 1999: 14) (Berger 1999: 133-4) Berger (1999: 23) writes that...

If there are two or three authors, present all author's last names. If there are more than three authors, use the first author's last name and then et al.
: (Berger & Smith 1976) (Berger, Lee, & Mbuti 1984) (Berger et al. 1993)

If there is no author, use the title (in italics if it is a book, in "quotation marks" if it is an article or website) in place of the author. If there is no date, use n.d. in place of the date.
Examples: (My Favorite Book 2003) (Berger & Mukherjee n.d.)

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Bibliographies/References/Works Cited
As noted above, at the end of your paper you should have a complete list of all of the works that you consulted in researching and preparing your paper. There are many formats references appear in. This page just contains a few of the most common: Books, Articles, Book Sections/Chapters, Websites & other electronic documents, and Visual Media. If you need to consult works in other formats, like music recordings, government documents, dissertations, or archival manuscripts, contact your professor for help in citing these materials.

In general, the format for citing book is "Author. Year. Title. Place Published: Publisher"
Example: Kayakani, Julie. 1994. Sociology for All. New York: New Press.

For two or three authors, list all authors, but only invert the name of the first author.
Example: Kayakani, Julie, Maria Rodriquez, and Francine Depardue. 2001. Learning Gender. Oxford: 
                        Oxford University Press.

For more than three authors, list the first author and then et al. (which basically means "and others").
Example: Kayakani, Jule et al. 1997. Gender Studies. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

When no author appears, use the title in place of the author. List these works alphabetically by the first significant word in the title (i.e. not by "the" "a" or "an")
ExampleCreating Great Websites. 2005. New York: New Technologies Press.

For edited volumes like article collections or course readers, follow the editor's name with (Ed.).
Example: Kayakani, Jule (Ed.) 2004. Women's Voices in Sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

In general, the format for citing articles is "Author. Year. "Title" Publication Volume (issue):pages". Use the same rules about multiple or missing authors as noted above.
Example: Bianciardi, Roberto. 2002. "Italian Immigrants in New York." Sociology of Immigration 12(4): 123-45.

Many magazines and newspapers do not follow the volume-issue format that scholarly journals do. For these sources, replace the volume and issue with the publication date.
Example: Bianciardi, Roberto. 2004. "New Data on Immigration." La Italiana Queens. August 14, pp. 56.

If you use an article which appeared in print, but which you downloaded in electronic format from a website, you must indicate this after your citation.
Example: Bianciardi, Roberto. 1999. "Do Immigrants' Children Still Speak Italian?" Language Studies Monthly. 4(2).
                                Retrevied May 2, 2005 from

If you are using a chapter from a book, you should site it using a special format: "Article Author. Date. "Chapter/Section Title." From Book Author. Book Title. Place Published: Publisher. Pages.
Example: Bianciardi, Roberto. 1997. "Growing Up Italian in New York City." From Relles, Ana. Adult Narratives of
                                  Immigrant Childhoods
. Rose Hill, PA: Narrative Press. 213-179.

In general, the format for citing electronic sources is "Author. Year. "Title of page" Title of Source. TYPE OF SOURCE Date accessed complete url. You must provide the date accessed as electronic sources change frequently. The page title is for the specific page you used, while the source title is the broader set of pages. The date is the copyright date, which is often found at the bottom of the page (a good place to find the author, as well).
Example: Ng, Maya. 2005. "Doing Sociological Research" Guides for Sociology Students. WEBSITE accessed
                                  March 23, 2005.

If the author does not appear, replace the author with the page title. If the date does not appear, replace it with n.d. If you can't figure out the difference between the page title and the source title, they may be the same.
Example: "Great Titles for Papers." n.d. Great Titles for Papers. WEBSITE accessed April 2, 2005.

If you use a movie or a television show as a source, you must cite this source as well.

The general style for citing a movie or film is "Director. Year. Title. Studio."
Example: Frankonovic, Frankie. 1996. Urban Poverty: A Documentary in Teen's Voices. New Media Films."

The general style for citing a TV eposiode is "Director. Year originally aired. "Episode Title" Series Title. Production Company. Date aired when you saw it.
Example: Frankonovic, Frankie. 1999. "Teens in the Projects" The Evening News WPIX New Jersey. February 20, 2005.