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Citing Sources: ASA

Getting Started with ASA Style

Currently, in its 6th edition (2019), The ASA Style Guide is designed for use by scholars preparing manuscripts for publication in American Sociological Association journals. 

ASA format or English American Sociological Association style is the generally accepted style used to design research/academic papers in Sociology. Just like APA or MLA, this style has specific requirements to arrange content, citations, footnotes, and bibliography in academic works.


What's New in ASA Style, 6th ed. (Sept. 2019)

official logo of the american sociological association

Follow this link to the Purdue OWL ASA page (5th ed.)  which has many useful examples.  HOWEVER, PLEASE NOTE that  the 6th ed. had a number of significant changes: (note many changes follow CMOS 2017, on which it is based)


  • use of the singular 'they' as a generic pronoun
  • use of black and white to refer to ethnicity


  • pluralization of appendix, index
  • capitalization/hyphens
  • foreign language word usage


  • abbreviated institutional/organizational authors in refs
  • article posted ahead of publication
  • table headings: % or 'percent'
  • leading zeros before a decimal in a table
  • italics and abbreviations in text and tables

ch.5 (electronic sources) -- substantial revision including:

  • terms and examples of citations to different formats
  • caps/hyphens in email, internet
  • self-reporting access dates for online resources

ch.6: most up-to-date guidelines for ASA journal submissions


Style Guides in the Library or Online

Formatting your References List

REMEMBER to provide complete references (corresponding to your in-text citations) at the end of your paper in the References List section.   All references should have corresponding in-text citations (and vice versa)  & reference lists should be double-spaced.

  • List references in alphabetical order by first authors’ last names.
  • Include first names and last names for all authors. Use initials only if they appear in the original publication. Do not use et al. for multiple authors unless authored by a Committee.
  • Use title case for all titles
  • References should be double spaced with a hanging indent )not shown here).
  • Remember: All references cited in the text must be listed in the References List section, and vice versa.

Format Your Paper

  •  Use at least 1" margins  on all four sides
  •  12pt serif  font, double-spaced; block quotes may be single-spaced; do not right-justify text
  •  Number all pages sequentially, beginning with the title page
  •  Create a separate title page including your paper title and name, institution, and include word count of document on title page.
  •  Below title page, create separate page for abstract (if required).
  •   Main headings are in CAPS, left-aligned; sub-headings use sentence-style capitalization and align left.

[when in doubt, consult ch.4 in the ASA style guide]

How do I cite my sources in the text of my paper? (In-text citation examples)

An in-text or parenthetical citation refers to the practice of giving credit to an author by citing their words and ideas in your paper. Citations in-text include the last name of the author(s) and year of publication (see Ch.4.3.1)

With author in sentence
Naomi Wolf (1991) argues that women's magazines have instilled a message that women have to look a certain way to experience happiness and excitement.

Without author in sentence
It has been argued that women's magazines have instilled a message that women have to look a certain way to experience happiness and excitement (Wolf 1991).

With author in sentence, using direct quote
Naomi Wolf (1991:71) argues that “a girl learns that stories happen to 'beautiful' women, whether they are interesting or not.“

Note:  [If a work has 3 authors, cite all 3 last names in the first citation in the text; thereafter use et al.; if a work has more than 3 authors, use et al. in the 1st citation and in all subsequent citations]

How do I cite my sources at the end of my paper? (References page examples)

[Note: In your References list, use double-spacing and a hanging indent (not shown here) and pay close attention to punctuation, placement of dates and formatting of authors' names]  See ch. 4.3.2 for other Reference List examples [Note: color coding is only for instructional purposes]




Author (Last Name, First Name M.I.). Year of publication. Name of Publication. Publisher’s city and state: Publisher’s name. 

  • Lambert, Stephen E. 2009. Great Jobs for Sociology Majors. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Palmisano, Joseph M. 2001. World of Sociology. Detroit, MI: Gale Group.


Author1 (Last Name, First Name M.I.), and Author2 (First Name M.I. Last Name)Year of publicationName of Publication. Publisher’s city and state: Publisher’s name. 

  • Jaynes, Gerald D., and Robin M. Williams, Jr. 1989. A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Washington, DC: National  Academy Press.

*NOTE: For works with 3 -10 authors, list all authors. Don't use et al. in the References section unless the work was authored by a committee.*


Author1 (Last Name, First Name M.I.). Year of publication. "Title of chapter." Pp. page numbers in Name of Publication, edited by, (First Name M.I. Last Name). Publisher's city and state: Publisher's name. 

  • Clausen, John. 1972. "The Life Course of Individuals." Pp. 457-514 in Aging and Society. Vol. 3, A Sociology of Stratification, edited by M.W. Riley, M. Johnson, and A. Foner. New York: Russell Sage.



Author1 (Last Name, First Name M.I.), and Author2 (First Name M.I. Last Name). Year of publication. Title of Article." Name of Publication Volume Number (Issue Number): page numbers of the article.

  • Aseltine, Robert H., Jr., and Ronald C. Kessler. 1993. “Marital Disruption and Depression in a Community Sample.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 34(3):237-51.



The format for online articles is the same as for print periodicals; however, if there is a DOI, copy and paste it from the article to the end of your citation. Books or articles obtained from websites follow the same pattern as those previously mentioned, with the exception that the page numbers are omitted and the URL and date of access (If necessary) are included.


Journal Article from a Website:

Author1 (Last Name, First Name M.I.), and Author2 (First Name M.I. Last Name). Year of publication. Title of Article.” Name of Journal Volume Number (Issue Number). URL.

Journal article with a DOI (use the format for print journals as above but copy and paste DOIs from the article, if available):

Author1 (Last Name, First Name M.I.), and Author2 (First Name M.I. Last Name). Year of publication. Title of Article.” Name of Journal Volume Number (Issue Number). doi.

  • Persell, Caroline Hodges, Kathryn M. Pfeiffer, and Ali Syed. 2008. “How Sociological Leaders Teach: Some Key Principles.” Teaching Sociology 36 (2): 108–24.  doi:10.1177/0092055X0803600202.


E-book from an online database:

Author (Last Name, First Name M.I.)  Year of publication. Name of Publication. Publisher’s city and state: Publisher’s name. URL.



Authors. Date of Publication. Title: Edition or version [object type]Publisher (Archival Distributor). URL or doi.

  • Ruggles, Steven, Katie Ganadek, Ronald Goeken, Josiah Grover, and Matthew Sobek. 2017. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 7.0 [dataset].  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. doi:10.18128/D010.V7.0.


  • United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017. "Occupational Employment Statistics, Illinois May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, 15-0000 Computer and Mathematical Occupations."


Table in a PDF


<Authors, if available>. <Dataset Title: Edition or version>. <Date of Publication><Title of table>. <URL or doi>


[For more examples, be sure to see the ASA Style Guide, 6th ed. Appendix]


Do you Have other questions about citing data?  See this guide from ICPSR: - see the section on Citing Data & Statistics and visit the ICPSR web site to search for surveys & dataset:

How to Cite Online Media in ASA Style

[Note: some examples adapted from & Purdue OWL References list examples, as well as ASA Style Guide, 6th ed. Appendix  & ch. 5]


Creator (Last Name, First Name M..I). Date. "Title." Site (or organization/producer). Date of release or posting. Format, duration in min.:secURL.



Author. Year. "Title of work." Medium (format). Title of collection. URL.


IMAGE from website w/ creator listed 

Creator (Last Name, First Name M..I). Date created. "Title of Image." From Site TitleURL.


[for more examples, visit the ASA Style Guide, 6th ed.]