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Citing Sources: ASA

Featuring the most frequently used citation styles...


The official style guide for the American Sociological Association (ASA) aims to establish uniformity and consistency in style among ASA publications, to provide an authoritative reference source on style issues for authors who are writing for ASA journals, and to summarize basic issues on effective writing for authors in general.


*In the Library

The guidelines and examples in this table are based on the ASA style guide, 4th edition. The 6th edition was published in March 2019.

Font: The preferred font of ASA is Times New Roman 12 pt.

Margins: Margins should be 1.25 inches.

Page Numbers: Page numbers should be placed in the document header, flush right.

Spacing: The entire document should be double-spaced. Block quotations, though, should be single spaced.

Title Page: This is the first page of your document.

  • Title: The title of the paper should be written in uppercase and lowercase letters. It should also appear in the upper half of the page and be centered between the left and right margins. Add an *asterisk at the end of the title, to indicate the title footnote.
  • Author's name and institutional affiliation: The author's name (first name, middle initial, last name) and institutional affiliation is normally included on the title page. Students writing research papers may be directed to include the course information also.  The author information should be located below the title by 2 or 3 returns.
  • Word Count: Indicate the full word count for the paper, including footnotes and references.
  • Running head: The running head is a shortened ( up to 60 characters) version of the official title. It should be located in the document header, flush left in all uppercase letters. On the title page only it is preceded by-  Running head:
    First page = Running head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER
    Subsequent pages = TITLE OF YOUR PAPER
  • Page numbers: The page numbers should be located in the document header, flush right. The title page is considered page 1.
  • Title Footnote: The title footnote should be found at the bottom of the title page, and should include the name and addresses of all authors, and any acknowledgements, credits, or grant numbers.

Abstract: This is the second page of your document.

  • Begin a new page. Your abstract page should already include the page header (TITLE and page number). The first line of the abstract page should repeat the title as its heading. Write a single paragraph of no more than 200 words summarizing the main contributions of your paper to the field. Press enter and add "Keywords:" followed by three to five keywords that can be used for indexing purposes. These keywords should indicate the main concepts of your study.

In-text citations should ALWAYS include the author's last name and the item's publication date. A page (print) or paragraph number (website) must be included if it's a direct quotation.

There are three ways to cite in-text: quoting, summarizing, and/or paraphrasing.

Consider the following example passage and consult with the table below:

Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes.

from pages 46-47 of:

Lester, James D. 1976. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman.

  What? Why? How? Example:
Paraphrase Restating, in your own words, the author’s words or ideas

-To simplify or clarify the original text

-To demonstrate comprehension of original source

-Reflect on what the author has written, then rewrite it using your own words and sentence structure

-Be sure to accurately represent the author

In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 1976).

Quote Using the author’s exact words

-To support or add credibility to your arguments.

-When the original is difficult to rephrase

-When the author's original wording is succinct and needs no improvement.

-Use “quotation marks” to mark someone else’s words

-Ensure the quote is identical to the original

-In his book, Writing Research Papers, James Lester (1976:46-47) asserts that "students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes" which leads them to then use too many quotations in their papers.

-Students tend to use too many quotations in their research papers because they "frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes" (Lester 1976:46-47).

Summarize Condensed/distilled version of the author’s words or ideas

-To include only main points of the original text

-To give a broad overview of the source material

-A summary is shorter than a paraphrase and covers main points only.

-Students should take just a few notes in direct quotation from sources to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester 1976).

-To minimize the amount of quoted material in research papers, Lester (1976) suggests that students avoid utilizing direct quotations when taking notes.

Each of your in-text citations should then point to the item's full citation in your Reference list or Bibliography. Review the guidelines for the citation style you're required to use. More information about the various citation styles can be found in the box below.

Multiple Authors
  • 1 or 2 authors: always include both the names
    • Examples:
      • "The network form is on the rise in a big way, and because of this, societies are entering a new epoch" (Arquilla and Ronfelt 1996:43).
      • Arquilla and Ronfelt (1996:43) report that “the network form is on the rise in a big way, and because of this, societies are entering a new epoch”.
  • 3 authors: always include all the authors for the first in-text citation. For subsequent in-text citations, list the first author followed by et al.
    • Example:
      • First - According to Adams, Bush, and Carlisle (2015)...
        ...revealed at the conclusion of their study (Adams, Bush, and Carlisle 2015).
      • Subsequent - Adams et al. (2015) assert that...
        ...shocking assertion (Adams et al. 2015).
  • 3+ authors: list the first author followed by et al. 
    • Examples:
      • ...students citing sources (Perry et al. 2015).
      • When citing sources, Perry et al. (2015) discovered that students...

Your list of references should go at the end of your paper, immediately following the text with the title "REFERENCES" centered at the top of the page. There should be no special formatting or quotations. Remember that all of the items in your reference list should be cited in-text at some point.

Indents: Indent after the first line of each entry.


  • Alphabetize by the first authors' last names.
  • If using multiple works by the same author, arrange from the earliest publication to the most recent publication. All single author references in these situations precede references with multiple authors, even if it is published earlier. References with multiple authors are arranged in alphabetical order according to the authors' last names.


  • For titles of books and articles: capitalize the first word in the title (and subtitle) and all the words EXCEPT for prepositions (of, onto, into, between, as, to, against), articles (a, an, the), and coordinating conjunctions (and, or, but, for, or, no, so, yet).
Multiple Authors
  • List the first author with the last name first, followed by their first name, and middle initial (if indicated).
    • Example: Smith, James D.
      but if the author used initials in the original publication, follow their lead
    • Example: Smith, J. D.
  • Two authors - only the first author's name is inverted; it is separated from the second author's name with the word "and"
    • Example: Smith, James D. and Rebecca L. Jones
  • Three or more authors
    • Example: Smith, James D., Rebecca L. Jones, and Sam G. Harper.
Editor(s) if using the entire book, not a chapter within a book
  • One editor
    • Example: Smith, James D., ed.
  • Two authors
    • Example: Smith, James D. and Rebecca L. Jones, eds.

Print Books:

Author(s). Year of Publication. Title of book. edition. Location of Publication: Publisher.

Shotton, Margaret A. 1989. Computer Addiction? A Study of Computer Dependency. London: Taylor & Francis.

Sternberg, Elaine. 2000. Just Business: Business Ethics in Action. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.


Author(s). Year of Publication. Title of book. edition. Retrieved date (full url)

Hess, Edward D. 2010. Smart Growth : Building an Enduring Business by Managing the Risks of Growth. New York:Columbia University Press. Retrieved December 20, 2018 (

Book Chapter:

Author(s). Year of Publication. "Title of chapter."  Pp. (include page numbers) in Title of book, edited by Editor 1 and Editor 2. Location of Publication: Publisher.

Note: use initials for the editors' first and middle names

Haybron, Dan M. 2008. "Philosophy and the Science of Subjective Well-Being." Pp. 17-43 in The Science of Subjective Well-Being, edited by M. Eid and R. J. Larsen. New York: Guilford Press.

Electronic Journal Article with a DOI

*try to utilize the DOI if it is available

Author(s). Year of Publication. "Title of Article." Name of Journal, volume(issue):page numbers. doi:xx.xxxxxxxxxx

Gaudio, Jennifer L. and Charles T. Snowdon. 2008. "Spatial Cues More Salient Than Color Cues in Cotton-top Tamarins(Saguinus Oedipus) Reversal Learning." Journal of Comparative Psychology 122(4):441-444. doi:10.1037/0735-7036.122.4.441.

Herbst-Damm, Kathryn L. and James A. Kulik. 2005. "Volunteer Support, Marital Status, and the Survival Times of Terminally Ill Patients." Health Psychology 24(2):225-229. doi:10.1037/0278-6133.24.2.225.

Electronic Journal Article without a DOI

Author(s). Year of Publication. "Title of Article." Name of Journal, volume(issue):page numbers. Retrieved date (full URL)

Atwater, Mary M., Tonjua B. Freeman, Malcolm B. Butler, and Jessie Draper-Morris. 2010. "A Case Study of Science Teacher Candidates' Understandings and Actions Related to the Culturally Responsive Teaching of 'Other' Students." International Journal of Environmental and Science Education 5(3):287-318. Retrieved December 21, 2017 (

Print Journal Article

Author(s). Year of Publication. "Title of Article." Name of Journal, volume(issue):page numbers. doi:xx.xxxxxxxxxx

Agodini, Roberto and Barbara Harris. 2010. "An Experimental Evaluation of Four Elementary School Math Curricula." Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness 3(3):199-253.

Bolick, Cheryl M., Reid Adams, and Lara Willox. 2010. "The Marginalization of Elementary Social Studies in Teacher Education." Social Studies Research and Practice 5(2):1-22.

Tables in PDF or XLS Spreadsheet Format

Data System or Source. Year of Publication. "Title of Table." Retrieval date (full URL).

Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT). 2006. "Table B-1: U.S. Scientists and Engineers, by Detailed Field and Level of Highest Degree Attained: 1999." Retrieved July 10, 2010 (

Search for what you need in any of the "resources" located to the left. The official manual guide is always your best bet.