Cathy A.
Cathy A.

Learn How to Write the Research Paper in ASA Format

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Published on: Jan 6, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 19, 2023

ASA Format

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The ASA format or English American Sociological Association style is a commonly accepted way to design research papers. However, it has specific requirements for arranging content, citations, footnotes, and a bibliography found within academic works.

Writing papers in sociology requires that you have proper references. ASA format is specifically designed to help you properly reference papers in sociology. Like other styles of citations, it has different formatting rules that must follow for the perfect paper.

Many students are unaware of the ASA format, so continue reading this blog and get complete information about it.

What is ASA Format?

The ASA format was developed to format academic papers in sociological sciences. The ASA citation format is introduced and managed by the American Association of Sociologists as they constantly update it to make sure that it’s appropriate for your work.

This citation style has its own set of guidelines, different from those used in APA and MLA formats.

The main elements of a paper in ASA format are:

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Reference page

Moreover, the correct ASA citation format is essential for a writer's career development and credibility. The incorrect use of the ASA citation format could discredit your work and even cause you to lose opportunities for career progression.

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How to Cite in ASA Format?

An ASA format is the most common citation style. Researchers and students mostly use this format for their research papers.

Here are some ways that help you to cite the paper in the correct ASA format.

  • ASA Format Title Page

The title page is the first section of the paper. It should include:

  • Title of the research paper
  • Author’s name
  • Student's name
  • Running head
  • Title footnote
  • Total word count
  • Address of the student (if the professor needs to reach out to the student)
  • ASA Format Abstract

When you decide to add an abstract, make sure it has its own page. A one-paragraph should appear after the title page and not include the author’s information on this heading.

An abstract commonly includes main keywords that help readers identify the paper’s main points of study.

  • ASA Format In-Text Citation

When presenting information from any source, use the ASA citation format. In-text citations are added to the paper by following the author’s name and publication date using parentheses.

Here are some examples that help you in using the in-text citation in ASA format.

If the sentence includes the author name, simply add the year.When Brown (2005) investigated this phenomenon…
If the sentence does not include the name of the author; write it in parentheses.When this phenomenon was investigated (Brown 2005)...
Cite a paper with several publishing dates. Write the first date and then add the most recent. Also, separate dates using a slash.(Smith and Brown 2005/2009)

Citations are a way to credit the authors and their work. It gives you accurate information about what was said or written, so it must be used properly.

  • ASA Format Subheadings

Subheadings are a way to organize your content in such a way that it's easier for readers. The ASA citation format organizes body paragraphs using subheadings. They don't just serve as labels for the different parts of your paper; such as “Introduction” would not be a suitable heading in this case.

ASA subheadings have three different levels. All subheadings are left-aligned and do not write in bold letters. Also, all headings have different editing styles.

Below, you can get how it appears in your text:

1. First Level Subheading
  • Letters in caps
  • Avoid using bold font
  • Never use the introduction as a heading
2. Second Level Subheading
  • Italic font is used
  • Each word first letter is capitalized for your subheading except for prepositions and articles
  • Avoid using bold font
3. Third Level Subheading
  • Italic font is used
  • Each word first letter is capitalized for your subheading
  • At the beginning of the paper, indent the paragraph
  • ASA Format Tables/Figures

It’s important to give sequential numbers for tables, figures: Table 1, Figure 2, and so on. Be sure each table/figure is at the end of your paper on its own separate page with a descriptive title that explains enough information about it for the reader to understand what they are reading without having any text from this point forward available explaining more details than necessary.

  • ASA Format References

Mention the reference page with the word "References." Also, all the references should be double spaced, arranged in alphabetical order, and by the author’s last name.

Here are some rules that help you to format references correctly.

  • Do not use et al in the references.
  • Add the list of references alphabetically.
  • Include letters after the year when you add multiple authors’ names from the same year.
  • Include the author’s full name in references if the author repeats.

The below table shows how to cite different types of sources.

BooksAuthor [Last, First]. Year of Publication. Title (italicized). Place of Publishing: Publisher.
E-BooksAuthor [Last, First]. Year of Publication. Title (italicized). Place of Publishing: Publisher. Retrieved Month Day, Year {link}.
Journal ArticleAuthor [Last, First]. Year of Publication. "Title (italicized).” Journal Name issue #: inclusive page numbers.
Magazine ArticleAuthor [Last, First]. Year of Pub. "Title (italicized).” Magazine Name, Month Year, pp. Inclusive page numbers.
Web Page Author [Last, First]. Date of Publishing. Title. Publisher. Retrieved Month Day, Year {link}.
  • ASA Format Footnotes and Endnotes

Footnotes and endnotes allow you to expand on information from tables, cite sources with limited access or add an explanation in the text.

Footnotes are on the bottom of each page, and they have a number. You will put footnotes in an Arabic numeral. After the references section, endnotes are placed, and they have numbers too.

  • ASA Format Bibliography

The ASA format for bibliographies is the same. But you will need to make it separately and after the References page.

Here is an example and a template that gives you a better idea of formatting the paper in ASA format.

Tips for Writing the Paper in ASA Format

Here are some tips that will help you format your paper in ASA style.

  • The title should not be underlined or quoted.
  • Write the full title on the separate title page.
  • Use quotation marks when you use short quotations.
  • Keep in mind that footnotes and references are different from each other.
  • Add information presented in the correct ASA format.
  • An abstract should be 200 words long.

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With the help of our style guide, you will get information on ASA in-text citations, reference list, and manuscript formatting essential for students and researchers.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does the ASA format stand for?

The ASA stands for the American Sociological Association. Sociologists commonly use this type of style.

Is ASA format the same as Chicago style?

ASA format is the same as the Chicago style, but these two formats have some similarities in appearance and function.

Does sociology use APA or Chicago?

APA is mostly used in sociology papers. However, it is also used in business and nursing.

Cathy A.


Cathy A. (Marketing, Literature)

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

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