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ASA Format Complete Guide

ASA Format Complete Guide

Throughout college years, you face multiple academic assignments, each of which has particular guidelines. You need to follow a certain formatting style that is a list of requirements on how to write the paper, what fonts to use, how to cite sources, and much more.

There are many various formats, one of which is ASA (American Sociological Association). Although it is not very difficult, many students find it quite challenging to master.

ASA paper format is mainly used by academics and students, who learn sociology. If you want your work to be published by a publishing house, you will also need to apply this style. ASA is constantly changing, so as not to make mistakes, you need to remain up-to-date and follow the latest editions.

What is ASA Format?

If you want to find out how to cite in ASA format, it is necessary to understand what type of a format it is.

First of all, it is used by sociological departments both at colleges and universities. For example, you were asked to write a sociology essay. You need to start looking for relevant sources and analyzing obtained information. However, all of the data you find should not be inserted into your text unless you cite it properly.

That is when ASA style steps in. It helps students to refer sources based on the accepted requirements. This style is quite similar to APA, one of the most common formatting styles. The quotation rules are rather simple: you need to indicate the author’s name and year of publication.

However, this general rule can be changed depending on the source type you use and how many times you have already mentioned it. Below are all the details you need to know when applying ASA formatting to your paper.

Paper Structure in ASA Format

ASA citations formatting is quite similar to the APA one: they both have similar requirements considering references and citation. In addition, the reference page is situated at the end of the paper after all of the sections.

All of the entries must be mention in the references in alphabetical order. ASA is easy to recognize due to the ‘author-year’ outlook of citations. The date of publication must be placed after the names of the authors.

Here are the elements you need to include to your paper when using ASA format:

  • Title page

Your paper should contain a title page, where the following information is provided: full name of your work, names of the author, title of the institution (if there are several of them, you need to list them vertically), shortened name in a form of a running head (maximum 60 symbols) and the word count of the whole document (including additional notes).

There should also be a title footnote, which includes the address of the author, who will receive any correspondence about your article, funding, and any other acknowledgements. The last one is optional, and in most of the cases is not required for sociology students. If you need to include the title footnote, don’t forget to place an asterisk by the name of the work.

  • Abstract

If your tutor requires an abstract, it should also be situated on a separate page right after the title. You don’t need to include the author’s name.

The abstract should be a maximum of 200 words long and consist of a single paragraph. The language should be professional and simple. If you are not sure how to work on this section, read press releases to understand what language to use and what details to include to your abstract.

  • Pages of paper

You need to start every new section on a brand new page, placing its title first.

  • References page

As already mentioned above, it is a page with all of the used sources. You should indicate the name of the author(s), year of publication, and the publisher. Don’t forget to stick to a particular order of presented information.

ASA Writing Format – Main Features

Text Formatting, Margins, and Page Numbering

If you don’t have any requirements from your teacher, all of the pages in your paper should be double spaced and written in a 12pt Arial font. The minimum margins must be 1 ¼ on every side if else is not indicated by your instructor.

Make sure you listen to all of the guidelines attentively, because sometimes teachers have their own vision and demands when it comes to fonts or margins. There is no general rule when instructors step in.

ASA Heading Format

In most of the cases, you will need to use headings in your work. Remember, they can be used only in situations when they don’t indicate the beginning of the paper. Below are the most common examples.

Unlike other text citations styles, ASA is not using headers for the beginning of the paper. However, it widely uses multiple sub-headers in order to organize the text of your essay. Usually, three heading levels should be applied.

Heading of a First Level

  • Such headings should come in Caps letters and be situated either to the level or on the center of your page;
  • Do not use bold for your headings;
  • Always remember to avoid using the word ‘Introduction’. The full title is the best option.

Heading of a Second Level

  • They should be written in Italics;
  • Never use bold;
  • Every word should start with a capital letter;
  • It is both acceptable to place the header to the left or right in the center.

Heading of a Third Level

  • Stick to using Italics;
  • Avoid bold again;
  • Only the first word of your heading should be capitalized;
  • The header could start from the left or be centered.

Footnotes and Endnotes

Now, when you already know about fonts, margins, level head, and separate pages, it is the right time to talk about a foot- and endnotes. They are used when you need to site a source of limited accessibility, to give more detailed information on the text or to add details to tables, charts, and other visual materials.

Endnotes are more popular and are used more often. However, both of them come hand in hand, so you need to know how to use both of them. Basically, you need to use them throughout the text separately. The only exception is to use footnotes for tables and a title page, and endnotes for the rest of the paper. This rule is even more crucial for those who want to be published in sociology journals. Try to limit those notes to maximum 100 words (they are also included to the total word count).

When you use endnotes and footnotes in the text, you need to give them consecutive Arabic numerals. If you refer to a footnote along with the text, it is necessary to use parentheses.

Footnotes should be placed at the bottom of the same page, where the reference appears. When you are using endnotes, you need to include them into a corresponding section at the end of your paper. This section should follow the references and consist of numerals. All of the entries must be double-spaced.  Start every note with the number that you have used in your manuscript. This will help you to avoid confusion and mistakes.

Tables and Figures

The common format for tables is: Table 1, Table 2,3, etc. The format for figures is the same: Figure 1, Figure 2,3, etc.

Every figure or table you want to include to the text must be situated on a new page at the end and should contain a clear title that gives enough information. The reader must understand what the figure or table has to do with your essay or paper.

Every row and column of your table should contain a full name without abbreviations. The same rule applies to the word percent.

ASA Citation Format Examples

As any other formatting style, ASA places credibility and authorship first, so proper usage of sources throughout the text and in the reference list is the priority of any student.

Based on the ASA Code of Ethics, any student, teacher, or sociologist must give credit and properly reference another author, when including parts of presentations, publications or any other works in their own papers. It doesn’t matter whether such sources are published or available only online.

In cases, if someone else’s works are not directly quoted or paraphrased, students, teachers, and sociologists should still give credit to the authors by properly citing their works not depending on the type of the paper and the way it is published.

You bear full responsibility for your work, so it is important to properly cite and refer every thought and idea, every publication or book that contributed to the creation of your own paper even if you are not citing it directly. Below we have collected examples for in-text citations, multiple authored references, articles, books, and electronic sources.

Text Citations

In case name of the author is not included in the text, you need to place the last name and year of publication in parentheses any time it appears. For example, (Smith 2009). Page numbering in-text should go after the publication year using a colon without any spaces. Like Johnson (1987:56). Keep in mind the most common and correct way of in-text citing using ASA format. The older style is no longer acceptable. For example, it is incorrect to write (Johnson 1987, p. 56).

Reference Lists

Here is how you need to include the sources you use to the list of references (situated at the end of the text document):

Smith, Johnson C. and Williams J. Gordon. 2008. ‘How to Master Acryl Painting.’ Journal of Arts 12(2). Retrieved October 19, 2010 (http://eustat.org/publications/joa/m12b4/smith.html)

Dowson, Emerson K., ed. 2004. Role of Women in the Modern World of Politics. New York: Sociological Society. Retrieved February 11, 2008 (http://www.ssny.com/APJ/Roleofwomen.html)


Jobs, Landon R. and Wilfred S. Graham. 2008. Impact of Teenage Pregnancy on Country’s Wellbeing. Washington DC: Williams Books: Smith, Anna and Cody O. Bryan, eds. 2009. Pregnancy and Wellbeing. Harvard: Harvard University Press.

Journal Articles

Armstrong, Robert S. and Rooney J. Cassidy, 1999. ‘Increasing Rates of Depression and Suicides Among 20-30-year-olds.’ Journal of Sociology and Psychology 27 (2): 159-65.

Ameed, Swen, Michael Strong. 2001 ‘Quality of Higher Education in the United States.’ American Press Review 34(3): 157-77.


Smith, Johnson C. and Williams J. Gordon. 2008. ‘How to Master Acryl Painting.’ Journal of Arts 12(2). Retrieved October 19, 2010 (http://eustat.org/publications/joa/m12b4/smith.html)

Dowson, Emerson K., ed. 2004. Role of Women in the Modern World of Politics. New York: Sociological Society. Retrieved February 11, 2008 (http://www.ssny.com/APJ/Roleofwomen.html)


If you want to cite the website in-text, you just need to write it as follows (APA 2009). If you include it to the list of references:

American Psychological Association 2009.

‘Refugees status’. New York, NY: Modern Society. Retrieved August 23, 2009 (http://www/nyms.org/st/root/status).

ASA Format Essay Help

ASA citation style is not the most popular one, so students may have some difficulties with it. Luckily, we live in a world of Internet and it is quite simple to get help.

If you are completely new to manuscript formatting, it is better to get familiar with work samples online. On our website, you will find ASA examples, written by professional authors. Simply choose an example that suits your needs and subject, and get inspired.

Moreover, we are always here to support you and to provide with comprehensive assistance. If you already have an essay but need to tailor it according to ASA demands, no problem! We are also ready to write your paper from scratch if you don’t have time or motivation. In addition, you can always use a citation generator.

Finally, our proofreaders and editors are always here to correct your draft to make sure it contains no mistakes, typos, or errors. Based on the tips we provide, in the future, you will format papers on your own without anyone’s assistance!

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ASA Format - Detailed ASA Style Guide for Students
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ASA Format - Detailed ASA Style Guide for Students
What is ASA format? How to cite in ASA format? How to format abstract, references or cover page in ASA style. Answers on these and other question here.
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