ASA Reference Guide

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The bibliographical format described here is taken from the American Sociological Review.

References in the TextFootnotesReferences

References in the Text

Cite the last name of the author and year of publication. Include page references whenever you think it would help the reader. Later references to the same source are cited in the same way as the first. Quotations in the text should give page references.

  • If the author’s name is in the text, put the date in parentheses:

When Duncan (1959) studied . . . .

  • If the author’s name is not in the text, enclose last name and year in parentheses:

When these relationships were studied (Gouldner 1963)…

  • Pagination follows the year of publication after a colon:

As tabulated by Kuhn (1970:71) the results show . . . .

  • For joint authors, give both last names:

(Martin and Bailey 1988)…

  • For three authors, give all last names in the first citation in the text; afterwards use the first name and et al.;
  • For four or more names, use the first author’s last name plus et al.:

(Carr, Smith, and Jones 1962)… (Nilson et al. 1962)…

  • For institutional authorship, supply minimum identification from the beginning of the complete citation:

(U.S. Bureau of the Census 1963:117)…

  • Separate a series of references with a semicolon and alphabetize:

(Burgess 1968; Marwell et al. 1971)…

  • For unpublished papers, cite the date. If no date is given, use n.d.:

Jones (n.d.)…

  • For machine-readable data files, cite authorship and date:

(Institute for Survey Research 1976).


  • Try to avoid footnotes, but if they are necessary, use footnotes to cite materials of limited availability or to add information presented in a table.
  • In the text, footnotes should be numbered consecutively throughout the essay with superscript Arabic numerals.
  • At the end of the paper in a separate section following the references, type the footnotes in numerical order, double-spaced, as a separate section.


References follow the text in a section headed REFERENCES.



  • one author:

Mason, Karen. 1974. Women’s Labor Force Participation. Research Triangle Park, NC: National Institutes of Health.

  • collection:

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

Public Documents

Public Documents

Because the nature of public documents is so varied, the form of entry for documentation cannot be standardized. The essential rule is to provide sufficient information so that the reader can locate the reference easily. For example, see the following:

U.S. Census: U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1990. Characteristics of Population. Vol. 1.

Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.


  • legislation: Court cases and legislative acts follow a format stipulated by legal publishers. The act or case is listed first, followed by volume number, abbreviated title, and the date of the work in which the act or case is found. The volume number is given in Arabic numerals, and the date is parenthesized. Court cases are italicized, but acts are not. For example, see the following:

Higher Education Act of 1965. 79 Stat. (1965).

Kansas. Sessions Laws 1993. (Because the date is part of this title, it is not placed in parentheses.)

Ok. Rev. Stat. Title 22, Section 60.1.

State vs. Stewart, 763 P.2d 572 (Kan. 1998).



Bailey, Thomas. 1989. “Technology, Skills, and Education in the apparel Industry,” (Technical Report).

National Center on Education and Employment, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York.



  • scholarly journal:

Conger, Rand. 1997. “The Effects of Positive Feedback on Direction and Amount of Verbalization in a Social Setting.” American Journal of Sociology 79: 1179-259.

  • magazine:

Ziff, Larzer. “The Other Lost Generation,” Saturday Review, February 20, 1995, pp. 15-18.

  • newspaper editorial:

Lafayette Journal & Courier, December 12, 1998, p. A-6.

Unpublished Materials

Unpublished Materials

Personal communication from the author, January 12, 1997

Unpublished Manuscript

Unpublished Manuscript:

Personal interview with Joseph P. Doaks, June 7, 1993.

Unpublished correspondence of Jennifer Forsythe, 1881-1885. Cited with permission of the author’s family.

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