Asa Citation Format



What is ASA?

American Sociological Association (or ASA) formatting style is an instrument, which allows sociology students to collect and render information from various sources, and to use those sources in their own articles and texts that will later be published in journals or even books.

If students or other scholars fail to familiarize and understand the principles of ASA formatting style, they risk not only of being accused in plagiarism but to seem unprofessional. Such an unfavorable situation may greatly influence their future career.

There are many different formatting styles, each of which is used in a particular field. Those, who study or work in the field of sociology, need to apply the ASA formatting style. Moreover, this format is used by those, who want to publish their manuscripts in ASA journals. Similar to other formatting styles, ASA formatting requirements differ depending on the type of the original source.



ASA citation style: its format

It is not a secret that nowadays there are many tools and programs that allow to format and cite sources automatically. However, they also make mistakes, so students need to understand formatting peculiarities to polish automated formatting.

Key requirements of the ASA citation format include:

  • The manuscript must be double-spaced, using the 12pt font. This requirement also concerns references and footnotes;
  • At least one-inch margins from all sides;
  • A separate title page, which consists of paper’s title, authors names, word count and title footnote;
  • If required, there must be an abstract (200 words long) on a separate page;
  • The text should start from a new page and headed with the manuscript’s title.

Peculiarities of in-text citations include:

  • The general format of such citations includes the surname of the author and publication year. Page numbers should be used for direct quotes;
  • Any time the author’s name appears, it must be followed with the publication year in parenthesis;
  • If the author’s name doesn’t appear, surname and publication year should be placed in parentheses;
  • If page numbers are included, it should follow publication year;
  • If there are three authors, their surnames should appear in the first citation then you can use one name and words ‘et al.’;
  • Quotes should start and end with quotation marks.

It is also advisable to avoid footnotes if possible. However, they can be used when citing materials or writing essays, which are available limitedly or to add data to a table.

Bibliography or References should meet the following requirements:

  • All references should be placed in the ‘References’ section;
  • References must be double-spaced;
  • References should go in an alphabetical order starting with authors’ surnames;
  • Every reference should start with a hanging indent;
  • The last name of the author always goes first;
  • Several references of the same author are included starting with the earliest publication;
  • Periodical and book titles must be italicized. If italics are not available, it is acceptable to underline titles;
  • Publication state and city should be used. If it is a foreign city, reference should also include the country’s name.


Title page

When you are using ASA citation format, it is necessary to follow a few recommendations. Here are the tips from Harvard Business School:

  • Use a solid word processor. For example, Microsoft Word;
  • Times New Roman or Arial 12pt font;
  • At least one-inch margin on all sides;
  • The whole manuscript should be double spaced;
  • Titles should go in italics;
  • A separate title page and abstract page.

Heading format

When you work on a paper, most likely you will need to use headings of different levels. Here is how they look like:


The main difference of an ASA formatting style from others is that it doesn’t commonly use a header at the beginning of the paper. However, sub-headings are widely used (three levels would be enough).


  • All caps;
  • No bold font.

Second Level Heading

  • Italics;
  • No bold font;
  • Title case.

Third level heading

  • Italics;
  • No bold font;
  • Only the first word is capitalized.

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ASA citation format example

Basically, the ASA style is really similar to Chicago. Every in-text citation should include the surname of the author and publication year. Citation should be placed at the end of the sentence. There are also widely accepted formatting rules that can be applied to every part of the manuscript.

We have collected all the rules of the ASA formatting guide, so you can just print them out and have nearby any time you are working on a manuscript.

  1. Times New Roman, 12 pt.;
  2. 1-inch margins;
  3. Double-spaced. The first paragraph is intended;
  4. Font shouldn’t be right-justified and end-line words shouldn’t be hyphenated;
  5. Title Page is always the first page. Title of the manuscript must be centered and along with your name should be around one third from the top;
  6. There should also be a running head (or abbreviated title), placed in the upper left corner. It should be limited to 60 characters;
  7. The second page should contain Abstract, i.e. a short summary of the manuscript. The abstract must be maximum of 200 words long;
  8. Paper’s body starts on the third page (if there is an Abstract);
  9. Titles of all the sources should be italicized, including books, blogs, films, articles and so on.

Every time you are using someone else’s ideas and thoughts in your own work, you need to apply rules and requirements of a certain formatting style. Remember that all citations should appear both in the text and on the Reference page.

Footnotes should only be used if notes are too long and distract the reader. ASA uses the ‘author-date’ method, which is applied both for paraphrasing and direct quotes.

When you are using a direct quote, it should be placed in quotation marks at the beginning and end of the quote, and should also include a page or paragraph number at the end.

An example of Analytical Essay

For example: “We would achieve much more if we knew that nothing is impossible” (Carry, 2010:29)

The last page of your work is called References (or Bibliography). It contains a full list of all the sources that you have used in the manuscript. While some formatting styles require listing sources in order of their appearance in the text, ASA citation format requires to list entries in an alphabetical order starting with the surname of every author.

First-line starts with the left margin and all the rest lines are indented from five to seven spaces. If possible, include the full author’s name. All words of the entry title must be capitalized (prepositions, articles, and conjunctions are an exception). Titles of journals and books are italicized and titles of chapters should appear in quotation marks.

Journal articles should follow the same ASA citation format not depending on whether they were found in print or online. It is preferred to include the Digital Object Identifier (or simply DOI) at the end of the citation.

As you see, there is nothing difficult in the ASA formatting style. It has lots of similarities with other styles and your only task is to remember the main requirements and pay someone to write my paper to get the best manuscript. If you doubt, use built-in formatting tools of your word processor. Good luck!