ASA SociologyThe American Sociological Association (ASA) has produced a nifty little pamphlet (124 pp.) describing the features of their style for authors writing for ASA publications. It has almost nothing to say about how to craft papers for college courses or conferences. It does acknowledge that it closely follows the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), especially in formatting references in what the CMS calls the reference list (RL) style. This is good news. The style avoids the sometimes bizarre complexity of other popular styles. The American Psychological Association is notorious for the weird nuances it takes a 300-page manual to describe; the American Medical Association Style Manual needs over a 1000 pages! Doc's guide, ASA Lite, covers the essential features of the style in just 18 pages (plus an appendix), and, it's free!
What's different? The style guides of research associations explain how to prepare a paper for anonymous review and publication. The style is adapted to meet the needs of copy editors and typesetters, not those who will eventually read and study the paper. To meet their needs there are special requirements. For example, in copy manuscripts tables and figures added to the end of a paper, each on a separate page. When you read a published article, however, the tables and figures are embedded in the text close to where they are first mentioned. This seems like common sense, but if you are dutiful student and follow a research style guide you'll end up with something only a copy editor will appreciate. ASA Lite makes the transformation from copy manuscript to final manuscript without compromising the essence of the style.
American Sociological Association. 2007. The ASA Style Guide. 3rd ed. Washington, DC:|
American Sociological Association. $20, 124 pages. ASA Guide at Amazon.com.
Reorganized and expanded, the third edition of the ASA Style Guide is the first update since 1997. It has expanded guidelines to bring greater clarity and emphasis to issues from previous editions, including new sections on guidelines for preparing manuscripts, guidelines for electronic sources, foreign language and legal usages, conventions internal to the ASA, and a checklist for submission of manuscripts to ASA journals. The ASA Style Guide aims to establish uniformity and consistency in style among ASA publications, to provide an authoritative reference source on style issues for authors who are writing for ASA journals, and to summarize basic issues on effective writing for authors in general.