American Sociological Association (ASA) format guide

Every text, no matter what topic and purpose it has, must include proper citation of every source used to collect information. It is very important to keep it in mind and structure citations correctly to avoid unwanted issues with plagiarism in your text.

Today, there are few main citation styles. Each of them is applied to different discipline and has different rules regarding formatting list of references.

One of popular styles in modern schools is ASA, which stands for American Sociological Association. This style is mainly used in writing footnotes or bibliographies for sociology. The style was created by American organization for sociologists, and the original Style Guide can be found on their website.

To write a good paper using ASA format, students must understand that citations play a vital role and can influence your grade if done incorrectly, so you must learn by heart the basic principles and rules that must be strictly followed.

When we talk about citations there are two things to pay attention to – quotations and list of references in the end of the paper. Note, that unlike usual “Works Cited” page, in this style it must be called “References”.

Whenever you are adding quotes into your work, it is mandatory to mention the name of the person whose work or quote has been used by you.

Secondly, when crafting a back-end page for paper you have to state every book, magazine, article and other sources from where the information has been gathered. These references need to include name of author (authors), title of source, year and place where it was published and information about publisher, number of page, and name of editor.


  • Should be double spaced and on 12-point font.
  • References should be arranged in an alphabetical order
  • Margins and abstract must be 1 ¼ inches from all sides and should not exceed 200 words

Journal Articles:

  • Important to mention the author’s name & volume issued.
  • Title of the article published with page numbers.
  • Highlight the keywords, at least 2-3 of them that eventually help to find out main theme.


  • Should contain the URL and date of access.


Apart from this, there are AMA, CSE/CBE & Harvard citation styles that are used.


One of the most popular citation styles, it’s widely used in humanities, history and social sciences. Harvard follows two styles of referencing – author–date or author–title/author–page.

AMA- American Medical Association

Used by scholar’s expertise in the field of medicine, health related topics or subjects related to sciences.

CSE/CBE – Council of Science Editors [Formerly called Council of Biology Editors]

Preferred by writers in natural sciences field such as biology, geology, chemistry, physics etc. and it follows the Name-Year system.

So we see different formats used in different fields of writing having their relevancy and importance with rules and principles that are followed strictly.

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