Sociology: Style and Reference Guide for Undergraduate Essays
Department of Sociology, Queen’s University
The following style and reference guide is based on the American Sociological Association Style Guide (4th Edition). A copy of the ASA Style Guide is available on reserve in the Stauffer Library. https://qcat.library.queensu.ca/vwebv/holdingsInfo?bibId=3551711
While this style and reference guide follows the ASA Style Guide on most points, we have introduced some minor but important differences for the purposes of undergraduate essays in the Queen’s Department of Sociology. You should read through this guide before you begin to write your essay and refer to it when referencing ideas, paraphrasing, or making direct quotations.
Queen’s offers you the opportunity to access a web-based bibliographic management tool (often called a “citation manager”) called “RefWorks” (http://library.queensu.ca/help/refworks) through the Queen’s Library. If you use this system, or any other bibliographic management tool, you must ensure that it will create an ASA style list of references at the end of your essay and always compare it to the guide and check for errors.
Basic Page Layout and Cover Pages
First year students are cautioned to avoid using headings because they take up space and make it seem as if you do not have enough to say in your paper. If you are going to use them this is proper formatting in ASA:
THIS IS A LEVEL ONE HEADING
- Left justified, all capitals and no bold or italics
This Is A Level Two Heading
- Left justified, first letter capitals, italics font, no bold
This is a level three heading.
- A level three heading should appear at the start of sentence and should be indented if at the beginning of a paragraph. The first letter of the first word of a level three heading should be capitalized. The heading should be in italics font with no bold.
IMPORTANT: Headers do not replace the need for transitional statements connecting paragraphs. Also consider introducing your header sections somewhere in your introduction to help your reader better understand how and why you have structured your paper with headers.
In-Text References (Embedded Citations)
Essays must reference all quoted and paraphrased material within the text as it appears and have a list of references at the end or they will not be marked. The author-date system (ASA style) is used for in-text references.
Miscellaneous Style and Grammar Matters
What is a Social Theory? What is not?
ANSWER THE QUESTION! Maintain a balance in your essay sections. Each component of the question to be answered should hold equal weight. Incorporate recent publications into your references. Do not say, “Today we think …” if your source is not recent! Qualify your use of old sources. Explain sociological concepts – never assume the marker knows what you are talking about. Follow the instructions exactly.
Use appendices only when necessary and make them brief. Appendices allow you to include detailed information in your paper that would be distracting in the main body of the paper. Examples of items you might have in an appendix include mathematical proofs, the questionnaire used in the research, a detailed description of an apparatus used in the research, etc.
Format of appendices
Your paper may have more than one appendix. Usually, each distinct item has its own appendix. If your paper only has one appendix, label it “Appendix” (without quotes.) If there is more than one appendix, label them “Appendix A,” “Appendix B,” etc. (without quotes) in the order that each item appears in the paper. Start each appendix on a new page. Continue numbering your pages as in the main body of the research paper.
In the main text parenthetical citation refer to the Appendices by their labels.
(see Appendix. Age and Gender of Participants)
(see Appendix A. Age and Gender of Participants)
In the Reference section:
Author. year. Appendix A Title of work. Location: Publisher
References/Works Cited (Bibliography)
Your final list of sources, titled References, is an alphabetized list of EVERY source referred to or quoted in your paper. References are not numbered. These references allow your reader to identify and retrieve the sources you have cited in your research in order to engage further in the ideas you present in your research. NOTE: A bibliography is not the same thing as a reference page per se. Bibliographies include sources you have found helpful, even if you have not directly quoted from or referred to them in your paper. For our students only materials cited in the text of your essay may go in your reference page at the end of the paper, everything else will be considered padding.
Reference List Rules
- Your references list appears on a separate page at the end of your paper. Number this page sequentially with the rest of your paper, and centre the word “References” at the top of it. You do not need to bold, italicize, or underline this title. All references cited in the text must be listed and vice-versa.
- Officially, references should be double-spaced, but this is very hard to read so check with your TA or instructor for their preference. You will notice that the sample bibliography provided is not double spaced but a space between each entry is helpful.
- Use hanging indention. Type the first line of each reference entry flush to the left margin. Indent all subsequent lines at least three spaces.
- List references in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. Invert the authors’ name. If there are two or more authors, invert only the first author’s name. When no author is given, list the work alphabetically by title, disregarding “A,” “An” or “The.” NOTE: The author is not necessarily an individual, but may be an institution or a committee.
- Arrange multiple items by the same author in order by year of publication, earliest year first. Use six hyphens and a period (——.) in place of the name(s) for repeated authorship.
- Distinguish works by the same author in the same year by adding letters (e.g., 1993a, 1993b, 1993c).
- Use italics for book and periodical titles (underline if italics are not available).
- If no date is available, use “N.d.” in place of the date.
- Name every author of each reference; “et al.” is not acceptable.
- Use authors’ first names, not first initials, unless only initials appear in the original source.
- List the publisher’s name as concisely as possible without losing clarity. For example: “Riley” for “William Riley and Sons.”
Sample Reference List Using American Sociological Association Style
(See The Sociology Student Writer’s Manual Fifth Edition by Johnson, Rettig, Scott and Garrison for more detailed information and entries)
You need Hanging indentation. Here’s how:
1. Select all the text you want indented. (CTRL/A will select the entire document.)
2. Right-click in the selection and select Paragraph from the pop-up menu.
3. Set the Special list box to Hanging.
4. Click OK.