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American Sociological Association (ASA) Quick Style Guide

Citations and References:

Each time you refer to work that is not your own, you must include both a main text citation in the body of your writing and a reference to that  citation in the Reference List at the end of your paper.

References in the main text:

Include the last name of the author and the year of publication. To avoid plagiarism (inappropriately using another person's words without proper citation), you must directly quote verbatim, using  quotation marks and the name, date, and page number in parentheses, or you must paraphrase and mention the source of the idea (name and date only).

Use page numbers only when you quote an author's words:  Sociological analysis of cities is “critical to achieving far-reaching social change in this century,” according to Duncan (1959:71).

If  the author's name is not in the text, enclose both the last name and year in parentheses:  Sociological analysis of cities is critical to creating social change (Duncan 1959).

If the author's name is in the text, follow the name with the year in parentheses:  According to Duncan (1959), sociological analysis of cities is critical to creating positive social change in America.

For joint authors, use both last names:   (Martin and Bailey 1988)

For institutional authorship, supply minimum identification in the text and the complete citation under References:  (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1963:117)

Separate a series of references with a semicolon and list alphabetically:  (Burgess 1968; Duncan 1959; Maxwell 1971)

For works with three authors, list all last names in the first citation in the text; thereafter use “et al.” For more than three authors, use “et al.” throughout:  (Carr, Smith, and Jones 1962), then (Carr et al. 1962)

Cited References (Reference List):

A bibliography includes all the works you read or scanned during the writing process. List references in alphabetical order by authors' last names. References without an author name appear at the beginning of the list. For two or more references by the same author, list them in order of the year of publication. Use six hyphens and a period (------.) in place of the name when the authorship is the same as in the preceding citation. To list two or more works by the same author from the same year, distinguish them by adding letters (a, b, c, etc.) to the year and list in alphabetical order by the title.

Journal Articles:

Duncan, George F.  1959.  “Social Change in Comparative Context.”  Journal of American Social Change 32:56-87.

Goodman, Leo A. 1947a. “Exploratory Latent Structure Analysis Using  Both Identifiable and Unidentifiable Models.” Biometrika 61:215-31.

------.  1947b.  “Systems in Qualitative Variables When Some of the Variables are Unobservable, Part I—A Modified Latent Structure Approach.”  American Journal of Sociology 79:1179-1259.


Berlin, Gorden, and Andrew Sum. 1988. Toward a More Perfect Union: Basic Skills, Poor Families, and Our Economic Future. New York: Ford Foundation.

Mason, Karen O. 1974. Women's Labor Force Participation and Fertility. Research Triangle Park, NC: National Institutes of Health.

Articles from Collected Works/Chapters in Books:

Note that the article writer, not the editor, is listed as the author.  The reference below is for an article or book chapter written by John Clausen and appearing in a book edited Riley, Johnson, and Foner, who are listed on the front cover:

Clausen, John A. 1972. “The Life Course of Individuals.” Pp. 457-514 in Aging and Society, vol. 3, A Sociology of Age Stratification, edited by M. W. Riley, M. Johnson, and A. Foner. New York: Russell Sage.

Websites of interest:

Last updated April 2015


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