General Information About the ASA Format

This citation style is associated with the American Sociological Association. This format is used by authors who want to publish works in ASA journals. The following information pertains to the 5th edition of the ASA style guide, and is only a general overview. Read the ASA style guide for more detailed information.

Creating a Reference List in the ASA Style

The reference section follows the main text, with it being headed as REFERENCES. The reference section should double-spaced, and should have a hanging indent.

Use title case for all titles, except for articles, prepositions, and conjunctions (unless they begin a title or subtitle).

Capitalize just the first word in hyphenated compound words, unless the second word is a proper noun or adjective.

All references should be in alphabetical order by last names.

Include the first names of all authors, but use initials if the author used initials in the original publication.

List all authors—do not use et al in the references section unless the work was written by a committee.

Even if authors are repeated, include their full names. If many works by the same author is presented, then arrange them in chronological order.

If an author appears in a few single-author titles, and then is listed in a multiple-author source, show the single-author publications first (even though they would not be in chronological order).

When the same first author is present in several multiple references, arrange the listings alphabetically by the last name of the second author.

When you want to include more than one work by the same author(s) from the same year, put letters next to the years (2010a, 2010b). Subsequently, list the references for that author and year alphabetically by title name.


Single author

Gurr, Ted Robert, ed. 1989. Violence in America. Vol. 1, The History of Crime. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Book with Two or More Authors

Corbin, Juliet, and Anselm Strauss. 2008. Basics of Qualitative Research. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Edited Volumes

Hagan, John, and Ruth D. Peterson, eds. 1995. Crime and Inequality. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

In-Text Citations in the ASA Citation Format

Quotations: They must be identical to the source, and must be attributed to the original author.

Paraphrasing: When putting source material into your own words, you must attribute the original source. Paraphrased material is commonly shorter than the source’s passage. So, you should look to condense the source material.

Summarizing: This means putting the main ideas of the source material into your own words, with only mentioning the main ideas. You must attribute the source material. The length of the summary should be much shorter than the original source.

In general, the ASA citation format follows the Chicago Manual of Style for in-text citations. Following a quotation or reference, put parentheses around the author’s last name and the year of publication of the work being cited. The page number may also be noted, after a colon.


“The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” (Seuss 2007:7).

If you present more than one work by the same author published in the same year, employ lettering to show a distinction:

“The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” (Seuss 2007a:7).

If the source does not have a definite author, include the first letters of the source (usually the title) and the year. Use quotation marks around the title, and italicize the titles of books, periodicals, and reports. In-text citations for legal materials should be treated in the same way.

“The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” (Fox in Socks 2007:12).