Asa Essay Format Sample

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The ASA citation style is intended for composing university and college research papers in the sphere of sociology. As a rule, it focuses on the organization of bibliographies together with footnotes. The ASA Guide defines standards for the given style published for the American Sociological Association, which is one of the main organizations for academic sociologists within the United States of America. The ASA research paper format is meant to assist writers and authors in writing manuscripts for the ASA publications.

To write a good and well-organized paper on Sociology, it is necessary to meet all general formatting instructions mentioned below:

  • Use 12-point font (it may be Times New Roman, Arial, etc.) for your double-spaced paper; note that only black color can be used.
  • Set 1-inch margins on all sides. In some other cases, margins may reach 1 ¼ at most.
  • Pages should be numbered.
  • Do not forget to divide the text into paragraphs.
  • Keep in mind that your paper has to include the title.
  • Usually, your name needs to be present at the cover page, though it will be the best to put it on every single page.
  • When your paper is partitioned into separate parts, every part has to be provided with a title typed in bold.
  • Introduce the quotation consisting of one or two lines in the body as any other sentence, but applying quotation marks.
  • Should you be expected to hand in your paper in the electronic format, it has to be presented in either .pdf, .doc, .rtf, or .html depending on the requirements of your instructor.
  • In general, it is better to avoid using endnotes alongside with footnotes.
  • Every single source that has been used to prepare the paper needs to be indicated on a separate page titled “References.” Here, your task is to put all sources in an alphabetical order with the surname of an author going first. When a source has several authors, organize references by publication dates. Sources cited need to be formatted with the usage of hanging indent.

When it is hard to understand how to complete the cover page in a correct way, ask your instructor or professor to give you the ASA title page example, or find it yourself online.

Remember that those quotations, which comprise more than three lines, should be organized as a block quote. It is not necessary to make corrections concerning spelling or grammar in quotes unless there are no other options. In instances when it is required to do just that, point out with brackets what has been changed by you. When bad grammar concerns you, it is always allowed to leave the quote, but you should follow it with sic meaning "it is no different from the original." If you want to assure yourself that you are going through all steps correctly when it comes to quoting, try looking for the ASA style guide sample paper and see how the quotes are structured there.

Getting back to endnotes and footnotes, it is worthy to keep in mind that they can be useful to introduce supporting and explanatory materials and facts. In accordance with the ASA citation guide, if you are going to apply them, assure yourself that they are numbered in a proper way. Endnotes are placed at the closure of the whole text. You can place footnotes on every page’s bottom in small type. Pick one style and adhere to it; remember that endnotes together with footnotes are, in general, not applied to regular citations.

ASA Citation Style Recommendations

The given style is considered a parenthetical style of citation, which takes over an author-date system of documents. Such format tends to be very convenient for sociologists as they are not distracted by confusing footnotes. This format includes:

  • In-text citations put close to sources; such citations cover the date of publication together with the surname of an author embraced with parentheses
  • Section titled “References” that enumerates all sources referred to in the essay or paper, including complete publication data for every single source

All in-text citations have to be linked to the reference list entry. The purpose of such citations lies in directing your audience to the list of sources used. Therefore, the given list needs to be organized in alphabetical order and give all the necessary pieces of information for readers to find the initial source easily. If you are not sure whether the list of references was prepared correctly, it is better to address the ASA citation creator and check the whole list.

The given format has a lot of similar features with Chicago and APA formatting styles. At the same time, all mentioned styles possess several considerable differences; for this reason, it is quite significant to go by the official ASA manual guide.


ASA citation format is quite similar to the author-date system accepted by Chicago formatting style. Every single in-text citation comprises such elements as the surname of a writer or author and year of publication in parentheses. In general, the given citation is put at the end of the sentence. Thus, it is extremely important to refer to every source accurately and completely to get rid of plagiarism.

When your ASA in-text citation is done, it is recommended to check it, looking through examples below:

  • When the name of an author is indicated in the body, add a parenthetical citation, pointing out the publication year

    When Chu (1975) studied…

  • When the author’s names are not pointed out in the body, mention the author’s surname together with the year of publication in parentheses

    When the study was completed… (Snow 1991).

  • Add page numbers when you are going to quote directly from a source

    …as reported by Chavez (1971:82).

  • If this or that source has three writers, refer to all three surnames in your first in-text citation; in all other cases, apply et al.

    This was reinforced by recent research on the topic (Johnson, Smith, and Marcus 1998)

    Later: (Johnson et al. 1998)

  • When one of the sources has five authors or even more, apply et al. in every citation

  • In compliance with the ASA style citation briefing notes, in case you refer to a few sources when writing the same statement, dates of publication and surnames of authors need to be differentiated from others with a semicolon.

    Recent studies confirmed this belief (Thompson 2011; Brown 2012; Stark 2017).

  • In case a source has been reprinted once or several times, point out the latest version

    (Marwell 1997/2010).


A correct reference list is of great importance as it gives an opportunity to the audience to find and verify materials applied by you within the work. ASA format citation tips pointed out below will definitely assist you in arranging the list of references:

  • A reference list always starts with a new page titled "References."
  • Enumerate all citations by the surname of an author; remember that citations have to be enumerated in alphabetical order.
  • Avoid including initials but indicate the first names.
  • In accordance with the ASA reference format rules, citations have to be double-spaced; apply a double line in order to make the space between entries.
  • When adding two names together in one citation, “&” is not an acceptable option, as “and” should be used instead.
  • Put a comma when pointing out more than two names of writers.
  • Your task is to capitalize all words, excluding prepositions, conjunctions, and articles; you can capitalize the above-mentioned exceptions only when starting titles or subtitles.
  • When adding several works composed by the same writer(s), first add their complete names to each citation in accordance with the ASA writing style guide. After that, you have to organize these citations chronologically,
  • starting from the earliest piece of work.
  • It can be a case when an author emerges as the first one in a citation with multiple writers or a single-authored citation; then, you need to put all citations with a single writer foremost.

  • Gladwell, Malcolm. 2002. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. New York, NY: Back Bay Books.

    Gladwell, Malcolm and Friedrich, Malte. 2016. Tipping Point: Wie kleine Dinge Grosses bewirken können. München, Deutschland: Goldmann Verlag.

  • For several authors, change the first names of authors (Horovitz, Alan V., Hoge, Dean R., and James Brown) – enumerating them by the surnames in alphabetical order.
  • Differentiate books composed in the same year and by the same author(s) by means of adding various letters to the date (1998a, 1998b, 1998c) – enumerate these works by titles alphabetically.

The ASA style paper example for the references:

Ehrenreich, Barbara. 2009a. Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. New York: Metropolitan Books.

Ehrenreich, Barbara. 2009b. Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything. New York: Twelve.

  • Place a state abbreviation only in case a city of publication is not widely known. For instance, Los Angeles does not require abbreviations of the state. Nevertheless, Cambridge has to have an appropriate state abbreviation.
  • As it can be seen from any ASA format template, in the case when there is no date, you should apply N.d. instead of the date. If the referred material is unpublished yet, you may point out Forthcoming instead of the year and add the publisher title.

In agreement with your publisher or professor’s preferences, it can be necessary to add a reference list together with a page of bibliography. Therefore, the next examples will introduce ways of the common usage of various source types:

  • Book with one author

    Author’s full name (place the last name out front). Publication Date. Italicized Publication Name. Location of a publisher, state or province postal code: Name of the publisher.

    Welch, Kathleen E. 1999. Electric Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric, Oralism, and a New Literacy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Book with two or more authors

    Author 1 (change the surname), Author 2 (add a full surname), and Author 3. Date of publication. Italicized Name of the Publication. Publisher’s location, postal code of state or province: Name of publisher.

    ASA book citation example:

    Kayakami, Julie, Maria Rodriquez, and Francine Depardue. 2001. Learning Gender. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Articles Printed in Journals

    Author 1 (invert the surname), Author 2 (add a complete surname, which, as a rule, is not inverted), and Author 3. Year of publication. “Name of Article.” Name of Publication in italics Volume Number (Issue Number): article’s pagination.

    Bianciardi, Roberto. 2002. “Italian Immigrants in New York.” Sociology of Immigration 12(4): 123-45.

    Goodman, Leo A. 1947a. “The Analysis of Systems of Qualitative Variables When Some of the Variables Are Unobservable. Part I-A Modified Latent Structure Approach.” American Journal of Sociology 79: 1179-1259.

    Please draw your attention to the first example, and you will see that it contains the issue number indicated after volume number; you have to add issue numbers there to assure that a source can be located easily.

  • Books’ Chapters

    Author 1 (invert the surname), Author 2 (add a complete surname without inverting the surname), and Author 3. Publication year. "Article’s Title.” Pp. in Italicized Name of Publication, edited by Editor 1, Editor 2, and Editor 3 (do not invert names and apply editors’ initials for first and middle names). Publisher’s location, postal code of state or province; Name of publisher.

    The ASA format sample paper citation: Wells, Ida B. 1995. “Lynch Law in All Its Phases.” Pp. 80-89 in With Pen and Voice: A Critical Anthology of Nineteenth-Century African-American Women, edited by S.W. Logan. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Are you going to cite the other source types? If yes, you may check the Section in the official ASA Style Guide for a great number of examples that will show you how to refer to other documents. It may be dissertations, magazine articles, major reference books, government documents, presentations, etc.

More often than not, students tend to leave the task to create the reference list until the very last second. Of course, when doing so, one should mind possible consequences. To avoid the problems, it is better to look for a good ASA citation maker online. Such citation maker will be able to compose your whole list in just a few minutes.

Citing Electronic Sources

Across all disciplines in the field of sociology, researchers and students use a large number of online source types in order to back up ideas and thoughts from social media channels to websites, blogs, machine-readable data files, DVDs, and so on. There are several points to remember when referring to electronic sources:

  • Add all basic elements concerning a source to give readers a possibility to access the material easily. If you want to be sure that you have created a correct citation, you can find the ASA format example paper with the list of references.
  • Sources that will not be changed, in most cases have to be referred to in the print form.
  • Whenever possible, you need to add an address (DOI or URL), year of publication, document’s name, and the name of the author.


A URL is considered a very important element when one needs to locate an online document. Nevertheless, websites are often updated or modified, so it is necessary to mind the steps mentioned below when adding a URL to a citation.

  • Be sure that a source may be easily identified; to do that, check the URL spelling
  • Do not cite a source with the URL that does not exist anymore
  • Avoid typing the URL address; instead of that, copy and paste it from your browser
  • It may be useful to print and save all the data obtained from the website as the information can be lost when the URL is modified.

Below, you may familiarize yourself with a list of examples of how to cite electronic sources in a correct way.


  • In case you have used an e-book online, avoid adding numbers of pages and access date.
  • If an e-book can be used in several formats, list these formats as well (Also available at: [URL]).

The ASA writing style example of citation: Torres, Carlos Alberto and Theodore R. Mitchell, eds. 1998. Sociology of Education: Emerging Perspectives. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Retrieved April 26, 2005 (

Printed edition of a book that has been accessed through online library

Welch, Kathleen E. 1999. Electric Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric, Oralism, and a New Literacy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Retrieved October 21, 2004 (

Online periodicals available in both online & print form

Ferrell, Robert H. 1990. “Truman’s Place in History.” Reviews in American History 18 (1): 1-9.

E-journals with DOI

In case you include DOI, cut it and paste directly from the article

Sweeten, Gary, Shown D. Bushway, and Raymond Paternoster. 2009. “Does Dropping Out of School Mean Dropping Into Delinquency?” Criminology 47 (1): 47-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2009.00139.x.


In general, when being engaged in the ASA website citation indication procedure, remember that any essential data from the website has to be formally cited with the date of access or URL. Therefore, always pay close attention to your citations in the reference list.

The ASA citation website example:

Bird Studies Canada. 2004. “Avibase: The World Bird Database.” Retrieved July 15, 2005 (http://www.

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The History Behind ASA Format

Regarded as the chief method of citation amongst scholars and academics, ASA (or American Sociological Association) is most often found in works created by those studying, or working in, the field of sociology.

ASA writing format is intended for use by those who author manuscripts to be published in ASA journals.

Similar to other styles of citation, ASA format citation changes depending on the originating source material.

What is ASA Format?

For college students studying in the field of sociology, collecting and compiling information from multiple sources, to be used in their own manuscripts or articles that they wish to submit to sociology journals or publications requires some semblance of an understanding for ASA citation principles.  Failing to properly cite work not only has the potential to discredit an author, but, in the case of students, it could have disastrous effects on post-secondary careers.

ASA Citation Format

Depending on the source material referenced, the method for citation may differ. While it is true that there are generators and machines available to help to automate the citation process, it is in good practice to have at least a basic understanding of the guidelines that exist for the ASA citation model.

For example, the manuscript format dictates that:

  • All text must be double-spaced and in a font of 12 points; this includes all footnotes and references.
  • Margins must be no less than one inch from all sides of the paper.
  • There must be a separate title page, that includes the paper title, the names of all authors, the complete word count (including references and footnotes), the title footnote (including author names, addresses, credits, grants and acknowledgements)
  • If necessary, there should be a 200 word abstract on a separate page. This should be headed with the title.
  • The text of the paper should start on a separate page, headed with the title of the manuscript.

In-Text ASA citations are a little different.

  • The general form of in-text citations include the author’s surname and the publication year. This should also include specific page numbers if there are direct quotes.
  • Whenever an author’s name appears in text, it should be followed up with the year of publication in parenthesis.
  • Whenever an author’s name does not appear in text, the author’s surname and year of publication should be together in parenthesis.
  • Whenever page numbers are included, the page number will follow the publication year, a colon will separate the two.
  • Whenever there are three authors, the surnames of all of them should appear in the first citation, afterwards it is acceptable to use the first name of one and the words ‘et al.’
  • Quotes must begin and end with quotation marks.

It is often advised to, wherever possible, avoid the use of footnotes. However, if necessary, footnotes can be used to cite material that might be limitedly available or whenever it is needed to add information presented in a table.

When using footnotes, they must be numbers, in consecutive order, using superscript and also included in an endnote.

References, or a Bibliography as we learn to call it in high school English class, follows a similar set of guidelines.

  • References must follow the corresponding text and / or footnotes in a section titled ‘References’
  • Anything that is referenced and cited in the body of the text must be listed in the reference page and anything that is listed in the reference page must be cited in the body of the text
  • Unlike AMA format, ASA style requires references to be double spaced
  • References are always listed in alphabetical order, using the surnames of the authors
  • Hanging indents should be used on each reference
  • The author’s name always appears last name first.
  • Multiple citations from the same author are listed in order of publication, starting with the earliest publication year.
  • It is acceptable to use six hyphens and a period in place of an author’s name for repeated materials.
  • Book and periodical titles should be italicized. If italic font is not available, these may be underlined.
  • Both the city and state should be used for publication. Foreign cities should include the country name.

You can find out more regarding Paragraph Guide.

ASA Format Title Page

There are several things to keep in mind when ASA title page format. Harvard Business School offers the following tips for ASA paper format.

ASA writing format

  1. Use a good word processor, like Microsoft Word.
  2. Stick with a 12-point font, Arial or Times New Roman are most widely used.
  3. Print your ASA paper on 8 ½ by 11 white paper
  4. Ensure that all margins are no less than 1 inch from the edge, 1 ¼ is better
  5. All text, including the references, must be double spaced
  6. Book and periodical titles should be in italic (this can be done by pressing CTRL I)
  7. There should be a separate title page that not only has the full title of the manuscript, but also includes the author’s name and the name of the professor or class, if needed.
  8. There should be a separate page that includes a brief 200 word abstract or overview about the paper.
  9. The text should commence on a separate page, and be headed with the title of the paper
  10. The approved format for section headers looks like this:

(Caps, centered)

I am a Second Level Header
(Italics, Upper / Lower Case, Centered)

  1. The start of the paper should not have a heading, this means that you should not use the word INTRODUCTION to signify the start of your paper.
  2. Citations should be used in text. This includes the surnames of all contributing authors and the publication year. Page numbers should be used when relevant, and to identify direct quotes. Page numbers must follow publication years and be separated using colons.

ASA Heading Format

As previously touched upon, there may be times when it is necessary to use headings in your writing. Headings are only acceptable when they do not signify the start of the paper. For example:


Unlike other essays or thesis papers, ASA style writings do not make use of headers at the start of a paper.  It does, however, make use of sub-headings to organize the body paragraphs of a manuscript. Typically, three levels of headings will suffice.


  • First level headings should be in all caps and can be either left justified or centered.
  • Refrain from using bold font
  • Remember not to begin with INTRODUCTION

This is a Second Level Heading

  • Second level headings should be in italics
  • Do not use bold font
  • Use title case (or Capital and Small letters)
  • Either left justify or centered are acceptable

This is a third level heading

  • Again, use italic font
  • Do not use bold font
  • Either left justify or centered are acceptable
  • Capitalize only the first word.

Helpful resource about Formal Business Letter.

ASA Format Example

ASA citation format is strikingly similar to the Chicago method. Each in-text citation includes items like the surname of the contributing author and the year of publication. Generally speaking, the citation is delivered at the end of the sentence. There are also key guidelines that must be followed in order to properly format the entire manuscript.

The following is a complete guide to style for an ASA (American Sociological Association) paper.

Minimum Formatting Requirements

  1. Times New Roman Font, 12-point type
  2. A minimum of 1 inch margin on all four sides
  3. Double space everything, including the references. The first line of each paragraph must be indented.

Example: This is what the font of your manuscript should look like

  1. Font should never be right justified, and words at the end of a line should not be hyphenated.
  2. The first page is always the Title Page. The title should be centered and the paper title and your name should be about one third from the top of the paper. If this paper is for school, remember to include the name of the teacher, the course name and the date.
  3. You should also include a running head – or an abbreviated title – in the upper left corner of all pages. The running head is always fewer than 60 characters.



The Social Influence of Nursery Rhymes in Children’s Books

Kyle A. Man

SOC315: Society and Change

  1. You should include a brief summary of the paper, titled “Abstract” on page two. A summary is less than 200 words.
  2. The body of the paper starts on page three. Unless there is no Abstract, in which it will start on page two.
  3. The titles of all published source materials must be in italics. This includes books, journals, films, blogs, etc.

Whenever you are incorporating someone else’s material into your own work, there are special rules that must be followed as well. Any and all citations will appear in the body of the paper. Footnotes are only used when long notes might distract or confuse the reader. Following the ‘author-date’ method, ASA citations stipulate that the writer will include, at minimum, the surname of the author and the publication year. This is applicable both when using direct quotes and paraphrasing someone else.

When quoting someone else word for word, you must use quotation marks to start and end the quote, and also include the relevant page number (or paragraph number).

Example: “We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.” (Lombardi, 1979:101)

The very last page of your manuscript is what is referred to as the References (or the Bibliography). This page includes a comprehensive list of the sources that were cited in the paper. Unlike styles of citation that require sources to be listed in the order they appear in the paper, ASA style asks that sources be listed alphabetically, based on the surname of each author. The first line will start at the left margin, and all subsequent lines will be indented by an average of five to seven spaces. Whenever possible, try to include the complete name of the author, keeping only the first author’s name inverted. All of the words in a title or journal title should be capitalized, the exception being prepositions (between, at, of, etc.), articles (an, a, the), and conjunctions (but, for, and, yet, so). The titles of books and journals are always in italics, and chapter titles will appear inside quotation marks.

Here is an example of the format for a book with more than one author.

Smith, John. 2011. Man of War. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Jones, Beverly and Kate Smith. 2007. The Guide to Societal Change: Bridging the Gap. Berkeley,
CA: University of California Press.

Journal articles are cited in the same manner, regardless of whether they are found online or in print. The ASA format prefers the inclusion of the Digital Object Identifier, or DOI, from all sources, at the end of the citation.

Here is an example:

Smith, John. 2005. “The Rise of Poverty in Middle America: The Wage Crisis.” Global Economic
8(3): 193-207. Doi:11.1006/s13212-011-34

Following the above mentioned style guide will enable you to create a manuscript that is not only properly formatted, but also adheres to the rules of the ASA style.

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