ASA Format Guide

By EssayTank | 20-Feb-2021 | 5 likes

A Guide on ASA Citation and Writing Format

American Sociological Association (ASA) is a formatting style that is quite popular among students. Notably, this style has been implemented widely by the group of publishers, researchers, writers, and students; evident in the scholarly papers contributed to the sociology discipline. As sociology students, a reference guide to the ASA citation and writing format will be instrumental in improving your overall grade and success rate in school. A few tips from EssayTank writers are all you need to stand out and excel.

What is ASA?

The English American Sociological Association style or ASA presentation is the accepted approach used in Sociology in the design of academic or research documentation. The majority of sociologists use this citation style to acknowledge other people’s ideas, views, beliefs, theories, and beliefs adopted in their written work in a systematic format. In this regard, the ASA style embraces the author-date documentation structure. It is a recommended approach for many sociologists since the absence of footnotes makes it an effective and economical way of making citations.

With the ASA citation style, the focus should be primarily on certain aspects of the paper, such as the title, heading, abstract, in-text citations, references, and the formatting basics. It has several similarities to the Chicago style and the American Psychological Association style (APA). This is why a good grasp of the ASA citation and writing style will make all the difference. 

Basics of ASA Citation and Writing Style

1.    The paper needs to have a running head; the shorter version of the paper’s full title. It should be written in capital letters; right-aligned, and is less than 50 characters.

2.    All paper’s text, including of references and footnotes, should double spaced, and the font size should be 12point.

3.    Margins are required to be set at 1 inch on all sides.

4.    Figures, tables, endnotes, footnotes, and pages are numbered appropriately. For instance, Table 1, Table 2) or (1, 2, 3).

Title Page

The title page should be placed separately. It should consist of the author’s paper title, name (s), manuscript word count inclusive of references and footnotes. Moreover, the title footnote should be included, as well. The title footnote is characterized by names, authors’ addresses, credits, grants, and acknowledgements. The asterisk (*) by the title is the title footnote found at the end of the page.


It is recommended that the work has an abstract after the title page. An abstract summarizes of the paper details and the terms that have stood out. It contains approximately 150-200 words.

ASA Subheadings

  • Subheadings are integral in organizing the presentation of the manuscript.
  • First Level Subheading
  • Capital letters and aligned on the left
  • Avoid bold fonts
  • Second Level Subheading
  • Use title case
  • Avoid bold fonts
  • talicize and left-align
  • Third Level Head
  • Italicize and left-align
  • Only capitalize the first word of the subheading.
  • Indented at the beginning of the paragraph…accompanied by a period.

ASA In-Text Citations

The basic form of in-text citations includes the author’s surname and the year of publication. The page number should be included when quoted directly from the work or when you refer to specific passages.  

·      When the author’s name is in the text, follow it with the year of publication in brackets.


“When Fremon (2014) conducted a research on….”

·      When the author’s name is not in text, insert the last name and year in brackets.


“When the study was conducted (Brown 2014)”

·      If the page number needs to be included, it follows the publication year after a colon:


“Poston (2018: 24)…”

·      In instances where there are three authors, all three names should be included in the first citation. For the subsequent citations, use the first name followed by et al. With more than three authors use the surname and et al.


(Jiang, Li and Feldman 2013); (Chang et al. 2005)

·      Quotations within the text to start and end with the quotation marks. The citation should be placed at the end of the quote.


“This policy's objective was to limit population growth to 1.2 billion. The government was keen on achieving this target since it devised various methods to ensure the techniques were successful” (Walther 2005: 16).

·      For multiple authors, include both surnames and the publication year.


(Smith and Hansen, 2008)

·      For reprinted work published earlier and re-released, include both publication years from the earliest to the latest.


(Smith and Gordon 1992/2016)

·      Unpublished works that will be published soon use the forthcoming in place of a date. When the date is unclear, use n.d.


McKibben (n.d.) conducted a survey on youth cultures.

Reference Page

All the references cited within the text should be listed once the paper is completed. They should be double-spaced, hanging indentation, and listed alphabetically based on the author’s last name.

·      Multiple aspects by the same author should be indicated by the year of publication with the earliest first.

·      Use six hyphens and a period (------.) in lieu of names for repeated authors.

·      Differentiate works by the same authors work in the same year using letters (2016a, 2016b).

·      Italics should be used for periodical titles and books.

·      N.d. should be used if the date is unavailable.

Basic Types of References


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

Example: Fremon, D. K. (2014). The Jim Crow laws and racism in United States history. Boston: Enslow Publishing, LLC.

Journal Articles

Author (Last, First). PublicationYear. “Title (Italicized).” Journal Name #: inclusive of the page numbers.

Example: Jiang, Q. (2013). “China’s population policy at the crossroads social impacts and prospects.” Asian Journal of Social Science #: 193-218. 41(2)

Magazine Articles

Author (Last, First). Publication Date. “Title (itacilized).” Magazine Name, Month Year, pp.

Example: Scott, Linda. (2019). “Surprised That Women Are Still Struggling For Equal Pay? You Shouldn’t Be.” The Guardian, March 2019. n.p.

Web Page

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

Example: Robinson, B. 10.09.2010. HINDUISM: The world's third- largest religion. Retrieved 19.05.2020. {} 

Endnotes and Footnotes

Footnotes are used primarily to add details to a table or to cite materials of limited accessibility. It should be numbered consistently throughout the text with superscript Arabic numerals. Further footnotes should be inserted at the end of the paper or in a separate area termed “Endnotes.” The general rule is to use one or the other throughout the text and not mix them.



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