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About ASA

This guide is a quick introduction to the American Sociological Association citation style. Be sure to consult the ASA Style Guide for detailed standards and procedures. 

Creative Commons License CC by NC 4.0 This guide was created by Carolyn Caffrey and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

In-text Citations

Basic Format:
(Last Name Year).

I'm using...

If you're quoting the exact words of someone else, introduce the quote with an in-text citation in parentheses. In ASA page numbers are included in the in-text citation after a colon with no space. Any sentence punctuation goes after the closing parenthesis.

  • According to Shavers (2007:71), "Direct quote".
  • Shavers (2007:71) found that "Direct quote".
  • [Some other introduction] "Direct quote" (Shavers 2007:1021).


If you're directly quoting more than 40 words...

Use a blockquote. Block quotes don't need quotation marks, but are indented 1/2" as a visual cue of a citation.

Shavers (2007:1021) study found the following:

While research studies have established that socioeconomic status influences disease incidence, severity and access to healthcare, there has been relatively less study of the specific manner in which low SES influences receipt of quality care and consequent morbidity and mortality among patients with similar disease characteristics, particularly among those who have gained access to the healthcare system.

Toro Tip: Use direct quotes sparingly! Research cited in an ASA paper is focused more on the synthesis of findings from a variety of research studies, and less about the exact phrasing or argument of an individual.

Paraphrasing or summarizing the main findings or takeaways from a research article is the preferred method of citing sources in an ASA paper. Always include the last name of the author(s) and the year of the article, so your reader can find the full citation in the reference list.

According to Shavers (2007), limitations of studying socioeconomic status in research on health disparities include difficulties in collecting data on socioeconomic status and the complications of classifying women, children, and employment status, among others (p. 1016).


In-text citations differ depending on the number of authors listed for a work, and if there is a group author.

I'm citing a work with...

You only need the author's last name and the year with no quotation marks.

(Abrams 2018)

Connect both authors' last names with and and include the year.

(Wegener and Petty 1994)

If there are 3 authors...

In the first in-text citation:
(Kernis, Cornell, and Sun 1993)

In subsequent citations:
(Kernis et al. 1993)

If there are 4+ authors...

You only need the first author's name followed by et al. and the year.
(Harris et al. 2018)


Basic Format:
Author, First N., and First Name Last Name. Year of publication. "Title of Article." Title of Source Volume(Issue): page range.

I'm citing a...

  1. Author(s) [Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial., &. If there are more than 1 author, the other author names are not inverted and are separated by a comma].
  2. Year xxxx.
  3. "Title of the Article" [Capitalized and in quotation marks].
  4. Title of the journal [Capitalized and in italics],
  5. Volume # of the journal
  6. Issue # (if any):
  7. Page range [xx-xx].
  8. DOI (Digital Object Identifier) (if any, there is usually a DOI if the article was published online first or not within a volume or issue)


Alba, Richard, and Philip Kasinitz. 2006. "Sophisticated Television, Sophisticated Stereotypes." Sociological Forum 5(6): 408-428.
  1. Author(s) [Last Name, First Name., Middle Initial.]
  2. Year of Publication xxxx.
  3. "Title of the Article" Capitalized and in quotation marks.
  4. Title of the Newspaper or Publication [Capitalized and in italics],
  5. Month and day of publicationif applicable,
  6. page range pp.
  7. URL Retrieved date (url).


Kennedy, Matt. 2018. "To Prevent Wildfires, PG&E Pre-emptively Cuts Power." NPR, Oct. 15, pp.15-18. Retrieved (
Print Book
  1. Author(s) [Last Name, First Name].
  2. Year xxxx.
  3. Title of the Book [Capitalized and in italics],
  4. City, State [Full name of city, abbreviation of state]:
  5. Publisher.


Lee, Harper. 1960. To Kill a Mockingbird, Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott & Co.
  1. Author(s) [Last Name, First Name].
  2. Year xxxx.
  3. Title of the Book [Capitalized and in italics],
  4. City, State [Full name of city, abbreviation of state]:
  5. Publisher.
  6. URL Retrieved date (URL or subscription database).


Crouch, Ashley, and Carl Meurier. 2005. Vital Notes for Nurses: Health Assessment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing. Retrieved (
  1. Author(s) of the chapter [Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial].
  2. Year xxxx.
  3. "Title of the Chapter" [Capitalized and in quotation marks].
  4. Page range Pp. xxx-xxx in
  5. Title of the Book [Italicized],
  6. Editor(s) of the bookedited by First Initial. Last Name.
  7. City, State of Publication [Full name of city, abbreviation of state]:
  8. Publisher.


Preheim, Gertrude. (2008). "Clinical Scholar Model." Pp. 457-514 in Annual Review of Nursing Education, edited by M. H. Oermann. New York: Springer.
  1. Author or organization [Full name of organization].
  2. Year xxxx. [or n.d. for no date.]
  3. Title of page, section, or document [In quotation marks].
  4. URLRetrieved date (URL).


Center for Disease Control and Prevention. n.d. "Protect Yourself with Vaccination". Retrieved Feb. 4, 2019 (

Formatting Your ASA paper

How do I make a hanging indent in Word?

1. Highlight the citaiton with your cursor. 

2. Right click. 

3. Select Paragraph.

4. Under Indentation, select Special and Hanging.

Animated gif of creating a hanging indent in Word. Highlight the full citation. Right click. Go to Paragraph. To to the Special drop down menu, select Hanging. Select Okay.

How can I save time formatting my paper? 

Microsoft Word and Google Docs have a Format Painter tool that will copy and apply basic formatting to any text! 

1. Highlight the formatting you want to apply. 

2. Select Format Painter

3. Highlight the text you want to change. 

Note: If using the Format Painter on the Reference List, you'll need to go back and add italics. 

Animated gif of using the Format Painter tool in Word.