Writing Topic: 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  • For unpublished papers, cite the date.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.

Public Documents
Unpublished Materials
Unpublished Manuscript
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