Sociology Department

The Department of Sociology

ASA Reference Style

Here are some general rules for creating references for the sources used in your papers.

Use "in-text citations," which means that in the body of your paper, you will include information in parenthesis to identify the source of your references for the reader. If you are using in-text citations, then you should not use endnotes or footnotes for simple citations. You may use endnotes or footnotes to express a tangent, or to provide some side comments that you do not think need to be included in the body of your paper.

"In-text citations" briefly identify the source in the body of the paper and then include an alphabetical list of references at the end of the paper. In the reference list, all the necessary information should be available for a reader to find the source.

In the text, cite the last name of the author and the year of publication. As a general rule (there are exceptions), you should not include the name of an article or a book in the body of your paper as the reference list at the end of your paper should be enough to direct the reader. Include page references if you are either referring to a specific idea on a specific page or if you are quoting material directly. Any direct quotations must include quotation marks and include a specific page number. Avoid close paraphrasing of an author. All references should always be to the author of the words or the ideas, never to the editor of a book that appears in an edited volume.

Some simple directions:


Put the date in parentheses, if the authors name appears in the text: When Morris (1984) studied...

If the author's name does not appear in the text, enclose the last name and year in parentheses: When these organizations were researched (Gamson 1975)...

Give both last names for joint authors: (Taylor and Whittier 1992)...; or if in the text write: Taylor and Whittier (1992) argued that ...

Page numbers follow the year of publication after a colon: As argued by Skocpol (1979:43). Or, In Skocpol's (1979:43) work on social revolutions,

For more than two authors, give all last names in the first citation in the text; afterwards use the first author's name and et al.: (Snow, Rochford, Jr., Worden, and Benford 1986)..., and later: (Snow, et al. 1986)... (Note: et al. means "and others").

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: (Lederach 1997; Murray 2001).

For unpublished papers, cite the date.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




At the end of your paper, include a list of references. Your reference list should include all the items that are referenced in the text of your paper, and should not include any items that are not referenced in your text. If a source has been important in influencing the content of your paper, so that you want to include it in your reference list, but you have not referenced in the text, then you should find a way to introduce the citation in the text of your paper so that you identify the importance of the author's ideas in formulating your own understanding.

Your references should be listed in alphabetical order using the last name of the author of the article or book.

Some Examples:


For a Book:

author (last name first; if more than one author than the first author appears as last name first and other authors appear as first name first). year. title (either in italics or underlined). place of publication: publisher.

DiPalma, Guiseppe. 1990. To Craft Democracies. Berkeley: University of California Press.

For a Collection:

If you are quoting from an article in an edited book, you should refer to the author and follow the procedure for a collection.

author (last name first). date of publication of the version you are using. title of article or essay in quotation marks. pages in volume in name of volume (in italics or underlined), edited by name of editor (initials for the first name and the full last name). place of publication: publisher.

For example:

Langman, Lauren. 2003. "From Subject to Citizen to Consumer: Embodiement and the Mediation of Hegemony." Pp. 167-188 in The Politics of Selfhood, edited by R. H. Brown. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.


For a Journal Article:

author (last name first (for first author; if additional authors they appear as first name first). year. name of article (in quotation marks). name of journal in italics or underlined. Volume number (Issue number or Season, i.e. Spring; January/February): page numbers of article.

Staggenborg, Susanne. 1989. "Stability and Innovation in the Women's Movement: A Comparison of Two Movement Organizations." Social Problems 36 (1): 75-92


For Electronic Sources:

List author's name or alias (if known), the title of the work or page in quotes, the title of the full work in italics (if applicable), date of visit, relevant site address. If a specific author is not known, use the name of the organization as the author. Note: Provide all directions necessary to access the publication when the above information is not sufficient to do so.

Adair, Stephen. “Social Movements Home Page,” Central Connecticut State University. Retrieved on January 25, 2002.