ASA (American Sociological Association) Documentation Style

      The following are guidelines for the documentation style recommended by the American Sociological Association. ASA style may be required for certain sociology courses. However, some instructors may require a different style. Please check with your instructor for specific instructions.

In-Text Citation

In the ASA format, the author’s name and the year of publication are cited for each use of borrowed information, whether a direct quotation or a paraphrase. For direct quotation and specific claims of evidence, page number should also be cited.

      If the author’s name appears in your text, it should be followed by the publication date in parentheses. The page number, preceded by a colon, follows the date. In the case of direct quotation, the page number appears following the quotation.

      Goffman (1981: 180) disputes the notion that mentally ill patients are hospitalized primarily for treatment. Instead, he believes that they are institutionalized so that they can be controlled.

      Goffman (1981) claims that the goal of hospitalization “is not to cure the patient but to contain him in a niche in free society where he can be tolerated” (p. 180).

      If the author’s name doesn’t appear in your text, enclose the last name before the publication date and page numbers in parentheses.

      The treatment of the mentally ill in this country can give the impression that the goal of hospitalization “is not to cure the patient but to contain him in a niche in free society where he can be tolerated” (Goffman 1981: 180).
      For sources with more than one author, give last names of both authors if there are two; for sources with more than two authors, give the names of all authors for the first citation. In subsequent citations and for sources with six or more authors, give the last name of the primary author, followed by et al.
      Krain et al. (1977) hypothesized that “stratified prestige structures [do] exist to differentiate Greek organizations from each other” (p. 555)
      For authors with more than one publication in the same year, use letter designations, e.g., a, b, c..., to differentiate each source.
      Individuals’ subjective estimates of their life expectancy influence their morale (Mirowsky 1999a).
      If more than one reference is made to a particular work, the date of the work should be indicated when the work is first mentioned. The date need not be repeated for each subsequent reference, but the page number should be indicated for each quotation or specific claim of evidence.

(1st mention)

      Durkheim (1951) claims that suicide is not only an individual event but also a social phenomenon.
(subsequent mention)
      Durkheim (p. 44) defines suicide in such a way that leaves all animal deaths out of his study.
      If you wish to cite several authors who discuss a single idea, you should enclose the full series of citations within one set of parentheses. For ASA, list the citations alphabetically by the first author and separate them with semi colons.
      Family researchers have discovered that within the first year of divorce, mothers and children undergo as much as a 30 percent decrease in family income, whereas men experience up to a 10 percent increase (Bianchi and McArthur 1991; Bianchi, Subaiya, and Kahn 1999; Espenshade 1979; Hoffman and Duncan 1988; Peterson 1996).

Bibliography and Reference Lists

      Some instructors may require you to provide a list of all sources consulted, whether you cite them in your text or not. Such a list is called a bibliography. More commonly, you will be asked to list only those sources cited in your paper. This is called a list of references.

      The heading for a bibliography or reference section appears in the upper left-hand margin and is all in caps. Skip three lines before the first listed source.

      List sources alphabetically by author’s last name, or, for an edited volume, by editor’s last name. For authors with more than one publication, list works according to year of publication, beginning with the earliest.

      If there is more than one author, all authors’ names should be included, with the first author listed last name first, and the remaining authors listed first name first.

Sample Reference Listings


Book titles are underlined or italicized. If a work was originally published many years ago, include the original publication date in brackets before the newer publication date. The basic publication information (City, State: Publisher) should also be included.

Durkheim, Emile. [1897] 1997. Suicide. Translated by J. S. Spaulding and G. Simpson.
      Glencoe, IL: Free Press.

Elias, Norbert. [1939] 1978a. The Civilizing Process. Vol. 1, A History of Manners.
      Translated by E. Jephcott. New York: Urizen.
---. 1978b. What Is Sociology? Translated by S. Mennell and G. Morrissey. New York:
      Columbia University Press.
---. [1939] 1982. The Civilizing Process. Vol. 2, Power and Civility. Translated by
      E. Jephcott. New York: Pantheon.

Honeycutt, James M. and James G. Cantrill. 2001. Cognition, Communication, and
      Romantic Relationships. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Satow, Roberta, ed. 2001. Gender and Social Life. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, Inc.

Journal Articles

The title of an article appearing in a journal should be in quotation marks. The title of a journal is italicized or underlined. Following the journal title, information about volume and issue number appear. At the end of the entry comes the page numbers of the article in the journal.

Krain, Mark, Drew Cannon, and Jeffery Bagford. 1977. “Rating-Dating or Simply Prestige
      Homogamy.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 39: 663-674.

Reiss, Ira L. 1965. “Social Class and Campus Dating.” Social Problems 12(2): 193-205.

Walker, Willard. 1937. “The Rating-Dating Complex.” American Sociological Review 2: 727-735.

A Work in an Edited Collection or Anthology

List works by the author of the article. The entry should include information about page number, title of the collection, and editors as well as the basic publication information (City, State: Publisher).

Aureli, Filippo and Darlene Smucny. 2000. “The Role of Emotion in Conflict and Conflict
      Resolution.” Pp.199-244 in Natural Conflict Resolution, edited by F. Aureli and F. B.
      M. de Waal. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

. For more information, please consult Writing Center Handout: “Writing about Sociology.”

Materials adapted from The Sociology Writing Group. A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers, 5th ed. New York: Worth Publishers.

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