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Cite Your Sources: ASA

Tools for creating bibliographies in MLA, APA, Chicago, and other styles.

What is ASA Style?

The American Sociological Association Style Guide is used by students who are studying sociology. The Style Guide is now in its 5th Edition.

Citing Sources Using ASA

When you document your sources using the style of the American Sociological Association, you have to use parenthetical citations within the body of your paper and a Reference page at the end of your paper.

In-text parenthetical citations: Whenever you use a quotation, a paraphrase, or a summary, you should give the author’s last name (or the title if no author is included) and the year in parentheses; if no date is provided, use the abbreviation “N.d.” for no date. You should also add the page number if you are using a quotation from a printed source. A parenthetical source for a quotation from a printed source might look like this: (Hammond 2010:42).  This indicates that the source was published in 2010 and the information quoted came from page 42.

End-of-paper citations: A Reference page usually includes four basic types of information: first, the author (last name, first initial); second, the date of publication (year); third, the title (in regular type for a short work, such as an article, and in italics for a long work, such as a newspaper, magazine, journal, or book) with only the first word and proper nouns capitalized (the first word after a colon is also capitalized); and, fourth, the publication information (which varies somewhat from one source to another). Also, if you are using an online source, such as a web page or a database, you should indicate the date of retrieval and the online address or the name of the database. Note, too, citations are double spaced with the first line on the margin, and subsequent lines indented five spaces.

In-text parenthetical citations: Whenever you use a quotation, a paraphrase, or a summary, you should give the author’s last name (or the title if no author is included) in parentheses; you should also add the page number if you’re using a printed source. A parenthetical source might look like this for an author (Hammond 2012:42) or like this for a title (MLA Handbook).

References entry:

Perry, Kate. 2006.“Picketing Firefighter Makes Few Friends.” Times Union [Albany, NY], November 10, B3.

Parenthetical/In-text Citation: (Perry 2006).  If the author’s name is mentioned in the sentence, only the year of publication needs to be provided in the in-text citation. If a direct quote is used, the page number must be provided, as well: (Perry 2006:B3).

Introduce the material being cited with a signal phrase that includes the author’s name.  Example:  HVCC Librarian, Mary Ellen Bolton (2013), points out that students who do not use libraries often find frustration in their research efforts.  Otherwise, provide the author’s last name and the year of publication in parentheses.  Example: (Bolton 2013).

General Guidelines for an ASA References Page

  • Double-spacing is used between, as well as within, each entry.
  • A 10-point, standard font (such as Times New Roman) should be used.
  • Margins should be 1¼ inches on all four sides.
  • The approximate word count should be included on the title page.  If the paper is intended for publication, a title footnote should also be added. The footnote includes the name and address of the author, and any acknowledgment or credits.
  • If an abstract is required for the assignment, include a summary of the highlights of the paper in one paragraph (150 to 200 words) on a separate page following the title page.
  • Use a hanging indent: begin the first line of each entry at the left margin and indent all subsequent lines of an entry one-half inch (5 spaces).
  • Center the word References 1¼ inches from the top of a new page at the end of the paper. Include only sources that have been quoted, summarized, or paraphrased. 
  • Alphabetize sources by the authors’ last names.  List each author by last name, then a comma, and the first name. If the source has no author, alphabetize by title ignoring A, An, or The.
  • For sources with no author listed, use a shortened version of the title of the work.  Titles of books are italicized; titles of articles are put in quotation marks.
  • Capitalize all title words except articles (a, an, the) and prepositions (to, from, between, and so on), and coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, and so on) unless they are the first or last word of the title or subtitle.
  • Use italics for titles of books, journals, newspapers, encyclopedias, reference books, databases and web sites.
  • Put titles of periodical articles and other short works in quotation marks.
  • Include the city and publisher for books, separated by a colon. 
  • List all authors.  It is not acceptable to use “et al.” in the References section unless the work was authored by a committee. 
  • Arrange multiple items by the same author in order by year of publication, with the earliest year first.
  • If no publication date is available, use “N.d.” in place of the date.

Example ASA Citations

Print Books:  
Book with no author listed (start with the title)
Style Guide: American Sociological Association. 2010. 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Sociological Association.
Book  by one author
Mallon, Thomas. 1989. Stolen Words: Forays into the Origins and Ravages of York: Ticknor and Fields.
Book by more than one author
Lathrop, Ann and Kathleen Foss. 2000. Student Cheating and Plagiarism in the Internet Era. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.
Article, chapter, or essay in an edited book/anthology
Crews, Harry. 2009. “Why I Live Where I Live.” Pp. 307-10 in The Short Prose Reader. 12th ed., edited by G.H. Muller and H.S. Wiener. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Article/entry from a reference book (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Cooper, John M. “Socrates.” Pp. 8-19 in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Vol. 9, edited by E. Craig. New York: Routledge.
E-book (from the web)
Thurston, Colleen. 1989. Run On. Retrieved November 14, 2007 (
E-book (from a library database or catalog)
McKenzie, Earl. 2009. Philosophy in the West Indian Novel. Retrieved June 25, 2010   (
Print Articles:  
Article from a journal (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Giaquinto, Richard A. 2009-2010. “Instructional Issues and Retention of First-Year Students.” Journal of College Student Retention 11(2): 267-85.
Article from a magazine (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Posnanski, Joe. 2009. “The Running Back, the Cheerleader, and What Came after the Greatest College Football Game Ever.” Sports Illustrated, December 28, pp.58-64.
Article from a newspaper (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Nearing, Brian. 2009. “State Energy Plan: Less Is More.” Times Union [Albany, NY], December 16, pp. D1-D2.
Online Articles:  
Journal article from a database (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Rice, D. Talbot. 1939. “Byzantine Pottery.” Journal of Hellenic Studies 59 (1):12-19. (Retrieved from JSTOR on May 10, 2010.)
Article from CQ Researcher
Weeks, Jennifer. 2013. "Costal Development." CQ Researcher 23 (8): 181-204, February 22. (Retrieved from CQ Researcher Online on May 12, 2014.)
Newspaper article from a database (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Lipsyte, Robert. 2010. "An Athlete with No Illusions about Steroids." New York Times, August 22, p. 10. (Retrieved from Academic Search Complete on November 9, 2011.)
Article from a database (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Shiva, Vandana. 2008. "Biotechnology and Agribusiness Create Cultural and EconomicDevastation." The Global Food Crisis. Ed. Uma Kukathas. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2009. Current Controversies. Rpt. from Vandana Shiva, “Why We Face Both Food and Water Crises." Alternet. 2008. (Retrieved from Opposing Viewpoints in Context on May 12, 2014.)
Article from a website (if no author is listed, start with the title)
Smith, Kelsey Anne. 2013. “Increase in Plagiarism among College Students Thought to be Caused by Technology.” The Guardian, January 10. Retrieved April 10, 2014 (
Article from a website with a corporate author:
National Institute of Mental Health. 2013. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).” Retrieved June 6, 2014 (
Eastwood, Clint. 2004. Million Dollar Baby. 2004. Warner Brothers.


Online Help with ASA