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Comprehensive Guide to ASA Research Paper Format

There are numerous research paper formats used by students – undergraduate, masters, and ph.d., when writing their research paper. One of these includes the American Sociological Association research format. Although this writing style/research paper format is the least popular, it is used by students specifically instructed to use it for their research papers. The ASA paper format is quite different from every other type of writing. This article gives a comprehensive guide to writing a research paper using the ASA format paper.

How to write a paper in ASA format

When writing a paper using the ASA format, there are some things to pay attention to. These include:

  1. Font

Like every other writing style, the acceptable font is Times New Roman 12 points. It is also expected that the work is double-line spaced. Additionally, quotations in blocks can be spaced using a single line. The ASA paper format template requires that at least a 1.25 margin be given at all four borders.

  1. In-text citation

As with the MLA Style, in-text citations should be done by writing the author’s last name. The year of publication in brackets should be written next. Only the year should be enclosed in brackets if the author’s name is part of the text. For example, Kress and van Leeuwen (1984) suggest that readers must easily interpret multimodal representations.

If the idea is used, but the author’s name is not cited within the text, both should be in parenthesis. For example, readers should easily interpret multimodal representations (Kress & van Leeuwen, 1984).

Where a work cited has three or more authors, the last name of all the authors should be written first. After that, the year of publication should be written. In subsequent mentions, the first person’s last name is followed by “et al.”

If the page number is included, it should come after the year of publication, separated by a colon. There should be no space between the last name, the colon, and the year of publication.

  1. Quotation

Quotation marks should enclose in-text quotations. This is followed by the author’s last name, year of publication, and page number and should come before the period.

For block quotes, quotation marks should not be used. Usually, blocked quotations are used for lengthy quotations. These are usually separated with indented paragraphs justified at the center.

  1. Referencing

References in ASA research paper format are usually done using the author’s last name first and arranged in alphabetical order. The reference section is titled “references.” All works cited in the paper must reflect in the reference section.

Works by the same author should be arranged based on which work came first. All the works should be grouped. Six ellipses should be used in place of the author’s name, followed by the year of publication. Works by the same author in the same year should be distinguished by adding letters to the year of publication.

A reference that exceeds one line should be indented using a hanging indentation on the second line. If the date of the publication is unknown, use N.D. where the date should be. Titles of books and periodicals should be italicized or underlined if italics are unavailable.

The city and state of publication must be included in the place of publication. If the country is a foreign country, the country should be included. For books, write the author’s last name followed by a comma. Afterward, write the author’s first name and the middle initial and end it with a period.

This is followed by the year of publication ending with a period. After this is the title of the book, italicized or underlined, ending with a period. Follow that with the place of publication and name of publisher separated by a colon.

For journal articles, it is the same format. The difference is that after the year of publication, the title of the journal enclosed in quotation marks follows. The volume of the article comes after the article title. A colon follows this; the page number ends with the period sign.

The issue number in parenthesis can follow the volume number for journals that do not use page numbers. It is advisable to consult your course advisor or institution to know what particular ASA paper format example to use.


For every research, it is essential to follow the guidelines strictly. Heavy penalties could be attached to disregarding formats. You can go online to get a comprehensive ASA format paper example.

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