ASA is the abbreviation for American Sociological Association. The ASA essay formatting style gives guidelines on paper formatting, in-text citations, and references. The style is largely used by authors preparing publications in ASA journals.

General manuscript format

  • All the text in the manuscript ought to be double spaced, 12 point font size and a standard font such as Calibri or Times New Roman.
  • The margins in the ASA format should be about one and a quarter inches all round.
  • A title page is necessary, separate from the other pages. The title page should indicate the title of the manuscript, the names of the authors, the institution as well as a word count for the entire document including the footnotes and references.
  • When required, the abstract ought to be presented on a different page, usually after the page with the title. Also, the manuscript’s title is the heading given the abstract. Further, the abstract ought to be a one paragraph section with 150 to 200 words.
  • Within the abstract, it is important to give a list of keywords which indicate the themes in the manuscript.
  • The pages should be numbered consecutively and broken into logical paragraphs where necessary.
  • If the paper contains multiple sections, then each section should be clearly indicated by a subtitle in bold.
  • Footnotes in ASA paper formats are made at the end of a page. They are important since their purpose is to provide an extra explanation on a given text, cite materials with limited availability or add-on information presented in a table.
  • Endnotes ought to appear at the end of the They require a separate section after the references, they should be typed in a numerical order and should be double spaced.
  • The numbering of figures and tables follows a consecutive order i.e. table one, table two, figure one, figure two etc.
  • Each figure or table has to be presented on a different page. Each of them should have a descriptive title which gives enough information on the table of a figure such that the reader need not refer to the rest of the article.

Citations in an ASA style

A writer using ASA style must ensure that whenever they consult a source or a source influences the ideas presented within a paper, the source is cited. The cited sources should then appear in the bibliography, references or works cited. For in-text citations, one ought to give a citation if an idea in discussed was drawn partly or wholly from a text. The idea discussed may be paraphrased or quoted directly. Directly quoted texts however unlike paraphrased texts should be in quotation marks or block quotes.

How to cite in ASA style

  • The in-text citations should be in parenthesis. The citations should be in the (Author, Year) format.
  • The author name can also be used as part of the sentence. As; Author (Year) writes that…
  • In the case of direct quotes writers using the ASA style should indicate the page number while using a colon as; (Author, Year: page).
  • A reference where authors are two or three, indicate their last names and the year of publication, and for cases where authors are three and above, write the last name of the 1st author followed by et al.

Bibliographies, works cited or references

At the end of the text,  the author ought to indicate a list of all works that he or she consulted in preparing the paper. Authors are most likely to consult books, articles, book sections or even websites in their works. Each of these materials has different formats in their reference page.

How to give references in ASA style

  • When citing books authors will indicate the “Author. Year. Title. Place published. Publisher”. The name of the 1st author is inverted where the authors are two or three. Where the authors exceed three, write the name of the first author followed by et al. Use the title if no author is available.
  • When giving references, the list is written The author ought to take into consideration the first significant word in the bibliography, ignore words such as the, a or an when determining the rank alphabetically.
  • When citing articles in the references section, the author ought to take into account the following format: “Author. Year. “Title” Publication Volume (Issue): ” The rules of citing authors in books apply to citing authors in articles.
  • If an article appeared in print but was obtained from a website in an electronic format, then the author ought to indicate the source after the citation.