ASA Lite for Research Papers
ASA Lite is a concise guide to crafting college research papers in the style of the American Sociological Association (ASA). It conforms to the ASA Style Guide, 3rd ed., (2007), with additional features drawn from the pages of the ASA's own journal, American Sociological Review. ASA Lite is an introduction to the essential features of the style. © Copyright 2010 by Dr. Abel Scribe PhD.
ASA (Style) Lite PDF (19 Pages). The PDF version of ASA Lite is especially useful for printing (180KB).
ASA Lite Topics
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1.0 American Sociological Association (ASA) Style
1.1 Final vs Copy Manuscripts (TOP)The ASA Style Guide is a reference for preparing manuscripts for ASA journals. These papers are formatted to facilitate the process copyediting and typesetting for publication and have been dubbed copy manuscripts by the APA (American Psychological Association) Publication Manual (2001). However, what is appropriate in this context does not produce a paper that is intended to be read in its final form, a final manuscript. For example, tables and figures come on separate pages at the end of copy manuscripts, they are not merged into the text where the reader naturally looks for them.
The style also requires unusually wide margins around the text, 1-1/4 inches, and a fairly large 12-point typeface. Most styles specify one-inch margins and allow for slightly smaller type.
The ASA guide acknowledges that the style may be used for preparing manuscripts for other than publication (sec. 4.9). Examples given include theses, dissertations, and oral presentations (conference papers). To this should be added the classic college research paper. The guide suggests the style may need to be adapted for these works in the following areas, among others:
- Page format requirements (e.g., margins, typeface, paragraph indentation, and spacing).
- The content, format, and order of pages (e.g., title page, abstract, references, appendices, tables, figures).
- Mechanics of style (e.g., special rules on punctuation and capitalization).
- Style requirements for headings, text citations, references, tables and figures, and other materials.
These suggestions have been adopted by ASA Lite, though in a minimalist fashion. The adjustments to the style are mostly common sense to produce a paper that is clearly in ASA style, without it appearing as a rough draft or copy manuscript. For example, the title page in a copy manuscript for publication does not carry the abstract, which is on the following page. This is to allow the title page (with the author's name) to be torn off to preserve anonymity in the review process. Since this is not necessary for papers submitted for class work or a conference (final manuscripts), the two separate pages are more conveniently merged into a single page. The abstract (if there is one) appears on the title page, margins have been narrowed, block paragraph line spacing is used throughout, tables and figures are embedded in the text, space twice after punctuation at the end of sentences.
If you are writing for publication buy the ASA Style Guide and follow the "Instructions for Authors" of the respective journal. If you are writing for a class or conference, ASA Lite will guide you to produce a paper with features familiar to those who read and study the research literature presented in ASA journals.
1.2 Recurring Features (TOP)Most style features are specific to to the various parts of drafting a paper: writing the text, formatting the pages, and preparing references. A few features cross these boundaries.
Capitalization. A feature common to all parts of the text is the style of capitalization. Some titles in the text and in references, and some headings, are set in heading caps, a term derived from headline style capitalization for its origin in newspaper publication. There are no headlines in research writing though titles and headings abound rendering the derived term more meaningful. Instructions as to what to capitalize vary with the style, ASA style "capitalize[s] the first character of all words in a heading or title except prepositions (of, into, between, through), articles (a, an, the), and coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or)" (ASA 2007:29). The alternative style is sentence capitalization, which is self-explanatory. The Chicago Manual of Style (2003) notes:
Headline style. The conventions of headline style, admittedly arbitrary, are governed by a mixture of aesthetics, . . . emphasis, and grammar. Some words are always capitalized; some are always lowercased (unless used as the first or last word in a title [or heading]); others require a decision.
If you are not sure what grammatical function a word is performing (or even if you are), try reading it aloud: if you would stress the word, capitalize it; if not, lowercase it.
Sentence style. In sentence-style capitalization only the first word in a title [or heading], the first word in a subtitle, and any proper names are capitalized. This style is commonly used in reference lists [but not in ASA style]. (Pp. 366-367)
Block paragraph text spacing. A copy manuscript is double-spaced throughout. A paper is easier to read when portions of the text are single-spaced, but double-spaced from the rest of the text. This is most familiar with longer quotations, block quotes, but is also aptly applied to titles and headings, tables and figure captions, abstracts and references.
A typeface (font) should be selected to make your paper easy to read. The ASA Style Guide calls for a 12-point font. This is probably too large for most student papers. A 10-point font is more appropriate. The size of a font and the contrast presented on the printed page are related. A smaller font can be used with crisp black lettering on a bright white page. If the lettering fades from black to gray, use a larger font. If a high brightness (80+) 20-pound paper is not available, use a larger font.
A serif typeface is required. This is a typeface with small cross bars on the letters. The ASA guide specifies a Times New Roman (or Times) typeface (2007:88). This paragraph is in a 12-point Times typeface. The rest of the text is in 9-point helvetica, a sans serif font (PDF version of ASA Lite only).
Consistency. Styles impose consistency to research writing. On occasion, a style can become so exhaustively documented that its style guide becomes virtually unusable. There is a limit to the level of detail that a writer can comfortably master. ASA Lite seeks to find that level and go no further. When a feature is not covered you may consult the ASA Style Guide or the Chicago Manual of Style, of use your own best judgment. It is essential, though, that you be consistent with a usage throughout your paper.
Priorities. It is absolutely essential to get your references right. The nuances of the format are less important than the accuracy of the information. When writing for publication you should expect the editor to verify all URLs and links to online sources. They must work. If an online source has been deleted it is no longer a reference.
Data presented must be accurate. The ASA guide is sadly silent about how precise numbers are to be presented. The world has generally adopted the metric system for presenting precise numbers, more formally known as the International System of Units, or SI (from the French Le Système International d'Unités). A brief introduction is included in ASA Lite along with a reference to a free guide online in portable document format (pdf).
Content outweighs style, but poor presentation casts doubts on the competence of the writer, and the veracity of the content.
2.0 Formatting Research Papers (TOP)Research styles place a great emphasis on the clarity of presentation. Anything that might introduce ambiguity should be avoided. For example, a ragged right margin is required. That is, the text is not aligned or justified to the right margin. This is done so that hyphens are not introduced to break words to fit across lines. Hyphens may add meaning to a word or phrase, or a be typographical convenience to be avoided.
Figure 1. First Text Page of a Research Paper (Final Manuscript) in ASA Style: Selected Features Noted.
2.1 Title Page & Abstract (TOP)College papers are not subject to anonymous review. Therefore, an abstract can be combined with author information on the title page. Abstracts may not be needed or useful for shorter papers, but an abstract will impress most instructors. An abstract is limited to 200 words in a single paragraph in ASA style. It should briefly explain the problem investigated, why it matters, how it was studied (method), and what you found (results).
Page Headers. Copy manuscripts carry a running head on every page. This becomes the page header in college papers. The running head for publication is an abbreviated short title header--no more than 50 characters--that will be placed at the top of each page when the paper is published in a journal. It is omitted from the title page of college papers where it is redundant, and set in heading caps to conform with other headings in the paper (it is placed in full caps when writing for publication).
Page Numbers. Every page should be numbered consecutively through the paper, including the title page and any appendices. On the title page of college papers the page number is placed at the bottom center of the page.
Title Footnote. When writing for publication a title footnote marked with an asterisk gives the name of the corresponding author, their address and contact information. It also includes any information on grant support and acknowledgements. This is not likely to be needed on most college papers.
Line Spacing. Copy manuscripts for publication are double-spaced throughout; the ASA also require uncommonly wide margins. This is to give room for editors to mark up the copy. A more concise format is preferred for final manuscripts where such empty space is mostly wasted. The block spacing shown single-spaces blocks of text—title, author information, heading, abstract, title footnote—while double-spacing between the blocks.
Figure 2. Title Pages in the Style of the American Sociological Association.
2.2 First Text Page with Headings & Lists (TOP)"Begin the text of a manuscript on a new page headed by the manuscript title" (ASA 2007:44). The ASA Style Guide (2007:82) shows the title in a bold font. It is centered on the page with long titles single-spaced.
- Margins must be at least one inch on all four sides of the page, wider left if the paper is to be bound. For shorter papers do not use a binder, a single staple in the upper left corner makes the paper easier to read. When writing for publication "[c]reate margins of 1.25 inches on all four sides to allow room for the editor's or copyeditor's marks" (ASA 2007:88).
- Page header & page number. The page header is an abbreviated title in heading caps (every major word is capitalized). This is the revised running head found in copy manuscripts (ASA 2007:81-82). The page header goes inside the top margin a half inch above the text, next to the left margin. The page number aligns with the right margin; on the title page the number is centered at the bottom or omitted.
Number all pages consecutively--starting with the title page--whether the page number is shown or not.
Figure 3. First Text Page with Headings and Lists.
- Typeface. "Text must be in 12-point Times New Roman (Times is also acceptable)" (ASA 2007:82). This is a serif typeface, a typeface with small cross bars on the letters—Times Roman and Courier are common examples. A smalles font may be more appropriate for final manuscripts (e.g., 10-pont).
- Ragged right margin? Avoid using the automatic hyphen feature [of you word processor]. Do not right-justify text" (ASA 2007:82). An unjustified right margin is called a ragged right margin for its appearance on the page. Do not hyphenate words at the ends of lines, do not justify the right margin, leave it ragged.
- Indent all text paragraphs--except the abstract and the first paragraph in a block quote--one-half inch. Hanging indents in references are also indented one-half inch. There are special rules for paragraphs in block quotes.
- Block spacing? "Block quotes may be single-spaced" (ASA 2007:82). Double space the text, but single space titles and subheadings, table titles and figure captions, references (but double-spacing between references), footnotes, and long quotations.
- "Use only one space after all punctuation (including between sentences). Periods and colons should not be followed by two spaces" (ASA 2007:17). However, spacing twice after sentences improves readability. Be consistent! Space once after initials--but not inside abbreviations--for example, the initials in Tolkein, J. R. R. are spaced, but the U. in U.S. is not.
Headings"Subheadings should clearly indicate the organization of the content of the manuscript. Generally, three heading levels are sufficient for a full-length article" (ASA 2007:44). Only three levels are provided by the style.
- THE FIRST-LEVEL HEADING is presented in full caps aligned with the left margin.
- The Second-Level Heading is presented in heading caps and italics aligned with the left margin.
- The third-level heading is in sentence caps and italics indented and inserted before a paragraph.
Heading caps "capitalize the first character of all words in a heading or title except prepositions (of, into, between, through), articles (a, an, the), and coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or)" (ASA 2007:29). The American Sociological Review does not indent the first paragraph following first- or second-level headings. Be consistent!
Lists (Enumeration, Seriation)"Lists of important points are often numbered in the text. Such lists typically are introduced by an independent clause followed by a colon and then by a series of numbered statements" (ASA 2007:20). Lists come in two forms: (1) text lists like this are numbered in the text, while (2) paragraph lists number a series of paragraphs. The ASA Style Guide is silent about paragraph lists, the text form being more common.
2.3 Tables & Figures (TOP)
Figure 4. Tables and Figures.
TablesA universal format has emerged for the presentation of tables. This is covered in great detail in the American Psychological Association (APA) Publication Manual (2009) and the Chicago Manual of Style (2003). Better yet, emulate what you find in recent ASA journal articles.
- Place tables close to where they are first mentioned in your text, but do not split a table across pages. (Tables in papers submitted for review or publication are placed on separate pages at the end of the paper.)
- Label each table beginning with the table number followed by a description of the contents in bold font.
- Use a table template in your word processor both for college papers and publication. A simple format is best.
- The ASA Style Guide is silent about line spacing in tables, but other styles accept single-spaced tables.
- Each row and column must have a heading. Abbreviations and symbols (e.g., "%" or "nos.") may be used.
- Do not change the number of decimal places or units of measurement within a column. Place a zero before the decimal point when numbers are less than one. Write "0.23" not ".23" unless the number is a statistic that cannot be larger than one, for example a correlation r = .55, or a probability p > .01.
- Notes follow the word Notes: (in italics) at the bottom of the table. General notes come first followed by footnotes and ending with probability notes.
- Footnotes are labeled "a, b, c, etc." set in supercript. They explain specific details.
- Probability notes follow footnotes. "Use asterisks *, **, and *** to indicate statistical significance at the [p > .xx] .05, .01, and .001 levels, respectively" (ASA 2007:60).
FiguresA "figure" may be a chart, drawing, graph, map, or photograph. Research journals do not like to publish figure because their are costly to produce. The requirements are also demanding. What works in a word processor will not necessarily work in publication. The ASA Style Guide (2007) instructs authors to:
[u]se at least 300 dpi resolution for grayscale (not CMYK); use at least 600 dpi resolution for line art (1200 dpi is preferred). Do not send 72 dpi "screen shots" or Web gifs because while they appear clear on a computer screen, they will reproduce very badly in print form. (P. 86)
A caption appears below the figure explaining what it is. A legend appears within the figure, for example, to label the axes of a graph.
2.4 Quotations (TOP)Direct quotations in the text, run-in quotes, must be placed in quotation marks; longer quotes are indented and set off as block quotes. All quotes must include a citation to the source document. A quotation must copy not only the wording of the original, but the spelling, capitalization, and internal punctuation as well.
- When the author's name is introduced in the text, the page number follows the quotation. Smith (1999) reported that "the creature walked like a duck and quacked like a duck" (p. 23). The abbreviation "p." for page ("pp." for pages) is lower cased (uppercased with block quotes).
- Without an introductory phrase, the author, date, and page are placed together. For example—It was reported that "the creature walked like a duck and quacked like a duck" (Smith 1999:23). There is no space after the colon in the full citation.
Block quotes are used with longer quotations, 50 words or more (ASA 2007:25). Block quotes are continuously indented from the left margin one-half inch, may use a smaller font than the normal text font (e.g. a 10 point block quote in a 12 point text). "Block quotes may be single-spaced" (ASA 2007:88). Do not place block quotes inside quotation marks.
An introductory phrase in the text is followed by a colon. For example, according to the ASA (1997) Style Guide:
Block quotations are presented in smaller type and are set off in a separate, indented paragraph. Block quotations should not be enclosed in quotation marks. . . . Note: The author, date, and/or page number follows the period in a block quote. In a block quote the "P" for page is capitalized when the page number is cited alone without the author and date information. (P. 21)
Without the introductory phrase:
Block quotations are presented in smaller type and are set off in a separate, indented paragraph. Block quotations should not be enclosed in quotation marks. . . . Note: The author, date, and/or page number follows the period in a block quote. In a block quote the "P" for page is capitalized when the page number is cited alone without the author and date information. (ASA 1997:21)
The abbreviation "P." for page ("Pp." for pages) is uppercased after a block quote. A citation follows the period or other ending punctuation. Example, [block quote here]. (Pp. 20-21) No Punctuation Here!
Figure 5. Quotation Styles: Text and Block Quotes.
Editing Quotations. Effective writing seeks to merge a quote into the flow of the text. The reader should not stumble over a quote. Referring to the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS 2003:secs 11.62-11.65), the ASA guide notes "ASA style uses the 'rigorous' method in which one period [in an ellipsis] signifies a true period, and any change to the original quote is indicated in brackets" (ASA 2007:26). Edit a quotation according to the following rules:
- Capitalization and punctuation may be changed to merge a quote into the syntax of the text. It is necessary to indicate these changes. Examples are drawn from the paragraph above.
- If a quote begins a sentence in what is mid-sentence in the original, the first letter of the first word may be uppercased to open a sentence. The change is noted by the use of brackets. "[M]erge a quote into the syntax of the text" (Doc Scribe 2010:8).
- An introductory phrase may lead into a quote that starts with an uppercased letter in the original. This should be changed to a lowercased letter to match the syntax. For example, the effective writer understands that "[t]he reader should not stumble over a quote" (Doc Scribe 2010:8). Again, the change is noted with brackets.
- Double quotation marks may be changed to single quotation marks within a quote, and the reverse, without indicating the change.
Add Text to a Quotation. It may be helpful to add text to merge a quote with the flow and tense of your text, to add emphasis, or to clarify the original.
- Brackets are required to indicate material or emphasis added to a quote. For example: "They [the Irish Republican Army] initiated a cease fire."
- Italics may be used to add emphasis to words or phrases within a quotation. When this is done a note must be appended to the quote in brackets immediately after the change [italics added] to the quotation.
Correct errors. Obvious errors in a quotation may be corrected without making a special notation. But for an unusual word choice, concept, term, or spelling it may be appropriate to emphasize that the original is being quoted faithfully by inserting the Latin term sic (thus), in italics in brackets immediately following the terme [sic].
Delete Text from a Quotation. Ellipsis points are used to indicate text omitted from a quotation. But unless clarity demands it, do not use ellipsis points to begin or end a quotation.
- Three ellipsis points (periods with a single space before, between, and after each period) indicate material has been omitted within or before a quote. For example: "The creature . . . walked like a duck" (Smith 1999:23)
- A period and three ellipsis points are used to indicate material omitted between two sentences, at the end of a sentence when the quote continues to a following sentence, or material in the original sentence is omitted.
- If the leading portions of a sentence opening a quotation, or the trailing portion of a sentence ending a quotation, is excluded the exclusion must ne noted with ellipsis points.
3.0 Mechanics or Style (TOP)The mechanics of style cover details commonly encountered when drafting a research paper. These are also the details knowledgeable readers are likely to note when you get them wrong. You may elect to apply your own best judgment on the more esoteric features, as long as you remember to be slavishly consistent throughout your paper.
Authority. The "ASA uses the 11th edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (2005) to determine correct spelling and usage. In general, writers are encouraged to use a standard dictionary when writing or preparing papers or presentations" (ASA 2007:28).
"Although the ASA Style Guide occasionally refers to other style guides and dictionaries, the 15th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style . . . is the primary reference on which it is based. . . . The Chicago Manual of Style offers . . . useful resources and tools for writers on its Web site (http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.htm)" (ASA 2007:xi).
3.1 Abbreviations and Acronyms (TOP)Two cardinal rules must be observed in the use of abbreviations: (1) always introduce acronyms with their full referent, and (2) never use scholarly abbreviations, etc., e.g., i.e., in the text unless inside parentheses.
"Spell out words such as 'percent,' 'versus,' and 'chi-square' in the text of your manuscript" (ASA 1997:14).
Acronyms/initialismsAn acronym must be introduced. This is done by placing the acronym after its referent in parentheses the first time it is used. Thereafter using just the acronym. In precise usage, an acronym is an abbreviation sounded like a word (e.g., NASA, NATO), while an initialism is sounded letter by letter (e.g., FBI, IBM).
- The American Sociological Association (ASA) publishes several journals. The ASA also publishes a newsletter.
- The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia) monitors the nation for emerging infectious diseases. The CDC set up a new notification system after the hantavirus outbreak in 1993.
- The American Sociological Review also uses acronyms in references and text citations following the same rule. For example, compose the reference . . .
- Beginning a sentence. Never begin a sentence with a lowercase abbreviation. Begin a sentence with an acronym only if there is no reasonable way to rewrite it.
- Traditional forms. A number of traditional honorifics and initials continue to be used, such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., A.M., Inc., Ltd., and J. S. Bach, E. E. Cummings, C. S. Lewis.
- Plurals. Write the plural form of an acronym without an apostrophe. For example, write "the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is popular at the university because MBAs command high starting salaries."
International Labor Organization (ILO). 1987. World Labor Report. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Cite this reference in your text: (ILO 1987). It is not necessary to write out the full name in any citation. Note this is common journal practice, but the ASA Style Guide offers no explicit instructions.
"Abbreviations should be used only in contexts where they are clear to readers. . . . [They] should be used only if they occur, say, five time or more within an article. . . . Writers and editors should monitor the number of different abbreviations used in a document; readers trying to keep track of a large number of abbreviations, especially unfamiliar ones, will lose their way" (CMS 2003:558).
Scholarly abbreviations. Abbreviations such as etc., e.g., and i.e. may only be used in parenthetical comments injected into your text. For example—"various authorities support this rule (e.g., The Chicago Manual of Style and the APA Publication Manual)." They are not used outside parentheses; spell them out Instead. For e.g. (exempli gratia) use for example; for etc. (et cetera) use and so forth, for i.e. (id est) use that is.
Geographical terms: places & states. "In running text, the names of states, territories, possessions, [Canadian provinces and territories, and foreign countries] should always be spelled out" (CMS 2003:566).
- Prefixes. Most prefixes to places, such as Fort, North, Port, South, are spelled out in the text; as are suffixes such as Peak or Fork. Write: North Platte, Fort Collins, Port Huron, South Bend, Long's Peak.
- Postal Abbreviations. Use postal and other abbreviations for place names in references and notes. But spell out these, and other address abbreviations, in the text. Write: Martin Luther King Boulevard (not Martin Luther King Blvd.) William Bruce Randolf III Avenue (not W. B. Randolf Ave.), Monaco Parkway (not Monaco Pkwy.)
- Adjectives. Spell out United States unless used as an adjective. "U.S. currency is the medium of exchange in the United States" (ASA 2007:33). Spell out the names of states, use abbreviations only in references.
"When in doubt, consult an authoritative list of abbreviations or a standard dictionary.
- When writing initials, the traditional format is still preferred—put a period and a single space after each. Write: J. S. Bach, E. E. Cummings, C. S. Lewis.
- Do not use periods with acronyms, capital letter abbreviations, or in the abbreviations of states in postal code format (e.g., APA, MMPI, PhD, UNESCO, NY).
- A sentence should not begin with an acronym unless the alternatives are awkward in the context.
Write the plural form of an acronym without an apostrophe. For example, write "the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is the most popular at the university because MBAs command high salaries."
3.2 Capitalization & Spacing (TOP)Use Heading Capitalization for the titles of books and articles, and second level headings. "[C]apitalize the first character of all words in a heading or title except prepositions (of, into, between, through), articles (a, an, the), and coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or)" (ASA 2007:29). These are referred to as "heading caps," in contrast to "sentence caps" where words are capitalized as in a sentence, except that the first word after a colon in a heading is also capitalized.
Ethnic/Racial Groups. Capitalize the names of racial and ethnic groups that represent geographical locations or linguistic populations (Hispanic, Asian, African American, Appalachian).
- Do not capitalize colors when referring to racial groups: black, brown, red, white, yellow.
- Do not hyphenate compound terms for national or ethnic groups: African American, Anglo German.
Regions. Capitalize regions of the United States, such as North, Midwest, West, when referring to places in the United States (and presumably elsewhere). Do not capitalize terms when referring to groups from these regions, northerners, westerners, except when referring to Northerners and Southerners during the Civil War. Do not capitalize the directions north, south, east, or west and their variants (ASA 2007:29).
3.3 Compound Words (TOP)Compound words are two or more words that work together in a specified order. This order cannot be reversed or rearranged without destroying the compound word's meaning. Compound words are formed by joining two or more words with a hyphen. A dictionary is the best guide to spelling and usage; use the first spelling given. If it is not in the dictionary it is not likely a compound, but check the following rules for possible exceptions.
The APA Publication Manual (2001) offers several principles as a guide to hyphenation, abstracted below.
- Do not use a hyphen unless it serves a purpose. If a compound adjective cannot be misread or, as with many psychological terms, it's meaning is established, a hyphen is not necessary. For example, health care reform, grade point average.
- In a temporary compound that is used as an adjective before a noun, use a hyphen if the term can be misread or if the term expresses a single thought. For example, does fast sailing ship mean the ship itself was fast, or that it made a fast passage? If the former, it is a fast-sailing ship (CMS 1993:203).
- Most compound adjective rules are applicable only when the compound adjective precedes the term it modifies. For example write: "client-centered counseling," but also write "the counseling was client centered."
- When two or more compound modifiers have a common base, this base is sometimes omitted in all but the last modifier, but the hyphens are retained. Long- and short-term memory, 2-, 3-, and 10-min trials.
Full-time compound words are hyphenated whatever their role in a sentence—as an adjective or a noun. "The court-martial hearing is set for 1000 hours. The hearing will determine whether a court-martial is warranted." Court-martial is a full-time compound word (as is "full-time"). Consult a dictionary.
Conditional compounds are hyphenated as adjectives, but not when used as nouns.
- Adjectival compound. "The counselor suggested a role-playing technique to reduce the stress of encounters, but cautioned that role playing alone would not solve the problem." Role playing is a compound adjective, but not a compound noun.
- Add a hyphen to any prefix attached to a proper noun, capitalized abbreviation, or number. For example, the post-Freudian era, the pre-1960s civil rights movement, the pro-HMO lobby.
- Fractions. "When . . . a fraction is considered a single quantity, it is hyphenated [whether it is used as a noun or as an adjective]. (CMS 2003:383). One-fourth the audience was comprised of former refugees. A two-thirds majority was required to pass the initiative.
- Made-up compound. A compound may be of the made-up-for-the-occasion variety: "The up-to-date figures were unadjusted." But when these terms are used in the predicate they are not hyphenated: The compound word was made up for the occasion. "The unadjusted figures were up to date."
- Serial compounds. When two or more compound modifiers have a common base, this base is sometimes omitted in all but the last modifier, but the hyphens are retained. Long- and short-term memory, 2-, 3-, and 10-min trials.
- Do not hyphenate a compound term using an adverb ending in -ly. "The widely used term was not yet in the dictionary. Such clearly understood terms are eventually documented if they endure."
- Do not hyphenate compound terms for ethnic or national groups: African American, Anglo German, Middle Eastern.
NumbersHyphenate compound numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine, compounds with a number as the first element, and the written form of fractions.
- "One-fourth the audience was comprised of former refugees."
- "The children were given the three-in-one-dose version of the vaccines. There had been a 10-fold increase in the number of kids getting sick."
- "A number of 12th-grade students attended the concert. They were given three-performance passes by the symphony association."
- "Thirty-five minutes into the test the participant simply walked out."
Write numbers 10 and above as numerals, unless they begin a sentence (ASA 2007:30).
PrefixesMost common prefixes do not require a hyphen: aftereffect, antifreeze, cofounder, Internet, microwave, oversight, preempt, reexamine, supermarket, unbiased, underground. There are many exceptions. When in doubt check a dictionary. Note the following exceptions:
- Same two letters. If the prefix puts the same two letters together, a hyphen is sometimes inserted. For example, write: anti-industrial, co-op, non-native, post-trial. But also write: cooperative, coordinate, nonnegotiable, overrate, overreach, overrule, reelect, unnamed.
- Weird? If the prefix creates an unfamiliar or weird term, a hyphen may improve clarity. The Turabian Guide offers these examples: pro-ally, anti-college instead of proally, anticollege (1976:101).
No hyphen is usually required with the following prefixes. Let clarity and a dictionary be your guide.
Hyphenate? Some prefixes, best-, better-, ill-, lesser-, little-, well-, are hyphenated depending on the context. These prefixes are hyphenated when they precede the noun they modify, but are not hyphenated when preceded by a modifier, or when used as a predicate adjective.
- Add a hyphen when writing: The better-informed reporters got the story right. The ill-advised attack failed. The well-intentioned volunteers . . . .
- Do not add a hyphen when the term is preceded by a modifier: Some better informed reporters got the story; The very ill advised attack failed; The truly well intentioned volunteers . . . .
- Do not add a hyphen when the term is in the predicate of the sentence: The reporters that got the story were better informed; The attack was ill advised; The volunteers were well intentioned.
The following prefixes always require a hyphen:
3.4 Emphasis: Italics & Quotations Marks (TOP)Emphasize a keyword or phrase in your text by placing it in italics. The next time an emphasized term or phrase is used it should be in plain text. It is generally not appropriate to place an entire sentence in italics, nor to follow a sentence with an exclamation point. There are few, if any, instances in research writing where such extensive emphasis is appropriate.
"Use italics for emphasis (but be careful to use them sparingly) and to highlight terms in specific contexts, to identify certain foreign words, and for titles of books, periodicals, movies, radio and TV show names, and other formally published material" (ASA 2007:30).
- Words as words. Words and letters that are referred to as words or letters are set in italics . For example, "the term American Indian is inclusive of over 500 ethnic communities."
- Foreign terms. Non-English words or terms used in your text are set in italics. For example, "Ya-te-hay is a form of greeting in the Diné (Navajo) language." This practice excludes those words that have become incorporated in the English language, such as laissez-faire, or arroyo.
"Good writers use italics for emphasis only as an occasional adjunct to efficient sentence structure. Overused, italics quickly lose their force. Seldom should as much as a sentence be italicized for emphasis, and never a whole passage" (CMS 2003, 290).
Emphasis in Quotations? Emphasis may be added to a word or phrase in a quotation by placing it in italics. When this is done the note [emphasis added] or [italics added] must be inserted in brackets immediately after the word or phrase in italics (within the quotation marks).
Quotation marks. Use quotation marks other than for quotes and references only in the following circumstances:
- Place quotation marks around a word or phrase given in a special sense or purposefully misused, as an ironic comment, as slang, or as an invented or coined expression. For example, The Population Council criticized the "outrageous" position of the Church on birth control. The CMS calls these "scare quotes."
- Use quotation marks to enclose a translation of a non-English term in your text. Addis Ababa, the name of the capital of Ethiopia, is literally translated "new flower."
3.5 Numbers & Dates (TOP)Numbers one through nine are written out in the text. Numbers 10 and above, and all precise numbers, are presented as numerals. The ASA Style Guide is silent about zero, but it common practice to write it out as well, as in "zero-based budgeting." Please note the following exceptions:
- When numbers below 10 must be mixed with numbers above 10 in the same sentence, as "part of a pair or series of comparable quantities either spell them all or write them all as numerals" (ASA 2007:32). For example: "The students trying out for the varsity soccer team included 5 girls and 16 boys (or five girls and sixteen boys."
- When numbers are required to open a sentence, write them out. For example: "Sixteen boys and five girls tried out for the varsity soccer team."
- "Always use numerals with percent. For example: "Of the 23,823 students registered . . . only 3 percent were black" (ASA 2007:32).
- "Spell out common fractions (two-thirds majority; reduced by one half)" (ASA 2007:32).
- Numbers greater than one million are expressed as whole and decimal parts of millions, billions, and trillions. "The cost of the proposed tax cut was 82.5 billion dollars over 3 years." "Express numbers less than 1 million in numerals" (ASA 2007:32).
Full dates when written in the text or in references are written in U.S. format—month, day, year; "August 21, 2001." Other date formats follow the general rules for numbers. For example write "The window for applications was the 3rd to 23rd of August" or, "applications were accepted from the third to sixth of April."
Ordinal numbers follow the same rules. Spell out ordinals below 10, first, second, . . . ninth. Use numerals for ordinals 10 and above 10th, 43d, 99th, and so on. Exception—spell out ordinals when referring to centuries, the twentieth century. Note, ASA style no longer abbreviates second, 2d; third, 3d; etc.; 2nd, 3rd, etc. are preferred.
Spell out centuries, the eighteenth century, the twenty-first century, in lower case numbers (ASA 1997:16).
Precise numbers that express exact measures, times, or quantities are always written as numerals.
Ranges of numbers. When expressing a range of numbers in text do not use a dash, write "to" instead. "The IQ range of the first group was 86 to 112."
Elide numerals. ASA style drops unnecessary zeros, tens, hundreds, thousands, in a page range as long as the result is unambiguous and does not require a leading zero. Pages 1123–24 not 1123–1124, but pages 2000–2004 not 2000–4. Write pages 112–35 and pages 102–121, but write pages 102–108 not 102–8 or 102–08.
4.0 Research Documentation (TOP)ASA journals use the author-date form of citation, also called the parenthetical or name-year system. Text citations, comprised of the author's name and the date of publication (plus page numbers for quotes), are placed in parentheses in the text.
"The ASA Style Guide follows the author-date system of citation in The Chicago Manual of Style (2003:616–24), which includes a brief text citation (enclosed in parentheses) and a complete list of references cited" (ASA 2007:45).
"Author-date citations in the text must agree exactly, in both name and date, with the corresponding entries in the reference list, and there must be an entry for every text citation" (CMS 2003:620). Conversely, every entry in the reference list, and only those entries, must be cited in the text.
4.1 Text Citations (TOP)Text Citations. Each separate referent to a source must be cited however many times this may occur in a paper. A page number is usually cited only with a direct quotation unless the reader needs to be referred to an unusual concept or idea for possible reference or verification.
- Cite quotations as well as significant ideas, concepts, or findings borrowed or adapted from others. As a matter of style it is helpful to the reader to integrate citations into the flow of the text.
- It is not necessary to cite: (1) dictionary definitions of words unless the specific dictionary is relevant to the context; (2) well documented historical facts; (3) conventional knowledge or knowledge broadly shared in a discipline.
An introductory phrase places the author's name in the text followed by the date, both in parentheses. For example: "Smith (2009) reached a similar conclusion." The citation immediately follows the referent in the text. When citing a quotation the year follows the author, the page follows the quote: Smith (2009) observed that the feathered creature flew like a duck and quacked like a duck and concluded "it definitely was a duck" (p. 21).
If there is no introductory phrase, cite both the author and date in parentheses. For example: "Another study (Smith 2009) reached a similar conclusion."
"Citations in the text give the last name of the author(s) and year of publication. Include page numbers whenever you quote directly or refer to specific passages. Cite only those works needed to provide evidence for your assertions and to guide readers to important sources on your topic" (ASR 2001:iii).
- No Author? The ASA Style Guide is silent on citing and referencing sources with no identifiable author. Recent examples in the American Sociological Review substitute the name of the publication for the author when the source is a periodical; but the title of the work when the source is a book.
- Two Authors. Cite both authors' names: (Smith and Jones 2000).
- Three Authors. List all three authors' names the first time the source is cited in your paper (Smith, Thomas, and Alt 1996). Subsequent citations cite the lead author plus et al. (Smith et al. 1996).
- Four or More Authors. Cite the lead author plus et al. in all text citations. (But ASA style requires listing all co-authors to a work, however many, in a reference.)
When citing page numbers there is no space after the colon; multiple page numbers are separated by commas (Smith 2001:123, 456).
- When the author's name is introduced in the text, follow it with the year, Smith (2000) in parentheses; if not introduced in the text, place both name and year in parentheses (Smith 2000).
- Cited pages follow the year after a colon (Smith 2000:123–26). A quotation by an author introduced in the text ends with a page citation (p. 23) or (pp. 23–26); block quotes upper case (P. 23) or (Pp. 23–26).
- Two authors with the same last name add first initials (J. Smith 1998) and (T. Smith 2000).
- Multiple citations may be listed alphabetically (Alt 1999; Baca 1998; Cole 1997), or by date (Cole 1997; Baca 1998; Alt 1999), separated by semicolons. Be consistent through the text.
- Reprints cite the original publication date in brackets (Thoreau  1979).
- Use "forthcoming" as the date for works in press; use "n.d." for those with no date.
4.2 Reference List (TOP)The American Sociological Association Style Guide serves journals within the association, with some variations, and is followed by journals outside the ASA such as Rural Sociology and Social Forces, again with some variations. The reference style is the name-year style featured in the Chicago Manual of Style (2003).
Figure 6. Reference List with Block-Paragraph Spacing–Single-Spaced within Each Reference, Double-Spaced between References.
Basic Rules for References
- Authors/Editors. Give authors' full names, list all authors however many, no et al. in references. Give only first and middle initials for editors and translators.
- Multiple works by the same author list by date, the most recent last, within the same year list works alphabetically by title and edit the year 19XXa, 19XXb, etc. Use a 3-em dash (or six hyphens) to reference subsequent works by the same exact author(s).
- No Author. Use the title. Do not use "Anonymous."
- Titles. All titles, books and articles, use heading caps. Titles of articles, papers and reports, and chapters in anthologies or edited books are placed in quotes. Underline or italicize titles of books and names of periodicals.
- Place. Use Two-letter postal abbreviations for all states and Canadian provinces; note the state for all places of publication except New York City. Include the name of the country other than US and Canada.
- Date. Full dates use the month-day-year format. If there is no given date use N.d.
- Space once after most punctuation unless followed by a comma; no space after a colon before page numbers or inside URLs.
Basic Refernece Forms
4.3 Articles in Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers (TOP)Annual Review
- Aldrich, Howard E. and Roger Waldinger. 1990. "Ethnicity and Entrepreneurship." Annual Review of Sociology
- Geiger, Jeffrey. 2004. "Special Relationships: British Higher Education and the Global Marketplace." PMLA
- 119(1):58-68. (Retrieved from JSTOR on February 2, 2010).
- Kamer-de, Daiga. 2009. "Part-Time Work and Activity in Voluntary Associations in Great Britain." Sociological
- Research Online14(5). Retrieved February 4, 2010 (http://www.socresonline.org.uk/14/5/2.htm).
- Quillian, Lincoln. 2008. "Does Unconscious Racism Exist." Social Psychology Quarterly 71(1):6–11.
- Bell, Joyce M. and Douglas Hartmann. 2007. "Diversity in Everyday Discourse: The Cultural Ambiguities and
- Consequences of 'Happy Talk.'" American Sociological Review 72(6):895–914.
- McPherson, Miller, Lynn Smith-Lovin, and Matthew E. Brashears. 2006. "Social Isolation in America: Changes in
- Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades." American Sociological Review 71(3):353–75.
- Eberhardt, Jennifer L., Paul G. Davies, Valerie J. Purdie-Vaughns, and Sheri Lynn Johnson. 2006. "Looking
- Deathworthy: Perceived Stereotypicality of Black Defendants Predicts Capital Sentencing Outcomes."
Psychological Science 17(3):383–86.
- Brewer, Britton W., Carrie B. Scherzer, Judy L. Van Raalte, Albert J. Petitpas, and Mark B. Andersen. 2001. "The
- Elements of (APA) Style: A Survey of Psychology Journal Editors." American Psychologist 56(3):266–267.
- Steensland, Brian, Jerry Park, Mark Regnerus, Lynn Robinson, W. Bradford Wilcox, and Robert Woodberry. 2000.
- "The Measure of American Religion: Toward Improving the State of the Art." Social Forces 79:291–318.
- Embrick, David G. Forthcoming. "What is Diversity? Re-examining Multiculturalism, Affirmative Action, and the
- Diversity Ideology in Post-Civil Rights America." Sociology Compass.
- Benoit, Cecilia, Leah Shumka, Kate Vallance, Helga Hallgrímsdóttir, Rachel Phillips, Karen Kobayashi, Olena
- Hankivsky, Colleen Reid, and Elana Brief. 2009. "Explaining the Health Gap Experienced by Girls and Women
in Canada: A Social Determinants of Health Perspective." Sociological Research Online 14(5). Retrieved
January 10, 2010 (http://www.socresonline.org.uk/14/5/9.htm).
- Schulman, K. A., Jesse A. Berlin, William Harless, Jon F. Kerner, Shyrl Sistrunk, Bernard J. Gersh, Ross Dubee,
- Christopher K. Taleghani, Jennifer E. Burke, Sankey Williams, John M. Eisenberg, Josee J. Escarce, and
William Ayers. 1999. "The Effect of Race and Sex on Physicians' Recommendations for Cardiac Catheterization."
New England Journal of Medicine 340:618–26.
Pager, Devah. 2003. "The Mark of a Criminal Record." American Journal of Sociology 108:937–75.
———. 2007a. "The Use of Field Experiments for Studies of Employment Discrimination: Contributions, Critiques, and
- Directions for the Future." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 609:104–133.
- ———. 2007b. Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration. Chicago, IL: University of
- Chicago Press.
Klejman, Laurence. 1989. "Les Congrès féministes internationaux (International Feminist Congresses)." Revue
- d'histoire intellectuelle7:71-86.
Book Review (Newspaper)
- Camhi, Leslie. 1999. "Art of the City." Review of New York Modern: The Arts and the City, by W. B. Scott, and
- P. M. Rutkoff. Village Voice, June 15, p. 154.
- Wilson, Edward O. 1998. "Back from Chaos." Atlantic Monthly, March, pp. 41-62.
- Economist. 1995. "Taking the Business Cycle's Pulse." Economist, October 28, pp. 89-90.
Fountain, Henry. 2006. "The Lonely American Just Got a Bit Lonelier." New York Times, July 2.
Goodman, Peter S. 2008. "A Hidden Toll on Employment: Cut to Part Time." New York Times, July 31, pp. C1, C12.
Krugman, Paul. 2008. "Crisis of Confidence." New York Times, April 14, p. A27.
4.4 Books and Chapters (TOP)General Form
Blankenhorn, David. 2007. The Future of Marriage. New York: Encounter Books.
Drèze, Jean and Amartya Sen. 1989. Hunger and Public Action. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
- Fiorina, Morris P., Samuel J. Abrams, and Jeremy C. Pope. 2005. Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America.
- New York: Pearson Longman.
- American Sociological Association. 2007. American Sociological Association Style Guide. 2nd ed.
- Washington, DC: American Sociological Association.
- Clausen, John A. 1972. "The Life Course of Individuals." Pp. 457-514 in Aging in Society. Vol. 3,
- A Sociology of Age Stratification, edited by M. W. Riley, M. Johnson, and A. Foner. New York: Russel Sage.
- England, Paula, Karen Christopher, and Lori L. Reid. 1999. "Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Wages." Pp. 139–82 in
- Latinas and African American Women at Work: Race, Gender, and Economic Inequality, edited by I. Browne.
New York: Russell Sage.
- Freeman, Richard B. 2007. "The Great Doubling: The Challenge of the New Global Labor Market." Pp. 55–65 in
- Ending Poverty in America: How to Restore the American Dream, edited by J. Edwards, M. Crain, and A. L.
Kalleberg. New York: The New Press.
Gallie, Duncan, ed. 2007. Employment Regimes and the Quality of Work. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Wissoker, Douglas, Wendy Zimmermann, and George Galster, eds. 1998. Testing for Discrimination in Home
- Insurance. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.
- Braudel, F. 1984. The Perspective of the World. Volume III, Civilization and Capitalism 15th-18th Century.
- Translated by S. Reynolds. New York: Harper & Row.
- Hadot, Pierre. 1993. Exercices spirituels et philosophie antiques (Spiritual Exercises and Ancient
- Philosophies). 3d ed. Paris, France: Institut d'Etudes Augustiniennes.
- Hacker, Diana. 1997. Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age. Bedford Books. Retrieved
- October 6, 1998 (http://www.bedfordbooks.com/).
- Allport, Gordon W.  1979. The Nature of Prejudice. Reprint, Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley.
4.5 Papers, Reports, & Web Pages (TOP)Conference Paper (Published)
- Kuroda, S-Y. 1988. "Whether We Agree or Not: A Comparative Syntax of English and Japanese." Pp. 103-43 in
- Papers from the Second International Workshop on Japanese Syntax, edited by W. J. Poser. Stanford, CA: CSLI.
- Wright, Erik Olin. 2008. "Three Logics of Job Creation in Capitalist Economies." Presentation at the 103rd
- Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Association, panel on "Globalization and Work: Challenges and Responsibilities," Boston, MA, August.
- Downey, Douglas B. 1992. "Family Structure, Parental Resources, and Educational Outcomes." Ph.D. dissertation,
- Department of Sociology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.
- Bloom, Dan and Donald Winstead. 2002. Sanctions and Welfare Reform. Welfare Reform and Beyond
- Initiative Policy Brief #12. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution. Retrieved October 10, 2007 (http://www.mdrc.org/publications/191/policybrief.htm).
- Morrissey, Elizabeth. 1991. "Work and Poverty in Metro and Nonmetro Areas." Rural Development Research
- Report No. 81. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC.
- Hare, Denise. 1991. "Rural Non-Agricultural Activities and Their Impact on the Distribution of Income: Evidence from
- Farm Households in Southern China." Economics Department, Reed College, Portland, OR. Unpublished manuscript.
- Family Research Council. 2007. "Questions and Answers: What's Wrong with Letting Same-Sex Couples 'Marry'?"
- July 26, Washington, DC. Retrieved August 15, 2007 (http://www.frc.org).
- Pew Research Center. 2009. Pew Internet and American Life Surveys, March 2000–December 2008. Retrieved
- March 12, 2009 (http://www.pewinternet.org/trends/Internet_Adoption_Jan_2009.pdf).
- Fryer, Ronald G., Jr. and Steven D. Levitt. 2003. "The Causes and Consequences of Distinctively Black Names."
- NBER Working Paper 9938. National Bureau of Economic Research, Chicago, IL.
4.6 Reference Works (TOP)Archive
- Hurja, Emil. 1935. Material Relating to the National Inquirer. Presidential Preference Polls. Hurja Papers,
- Boxes 70-72, FDR Library, Hyde Park, NY.
- Boehmke, Frederick J. 2005. DURSEL: A Program for Duration Models with Sample Selection (Stata version).
- Version 2.0. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa. Retrieved September 3, 2007 (http://myweb.uiowa.edu/fboehmke/methods).
- American Religion Data Archive (ARDA). 2005. "Summary Information on the Religious Congregations and
- Membership Data Used for Mapping and Report Features." Retrieved September 7, 2005 (http://thearda.com/arda.asp?Show=Home).
- Saguro Seminar. 2006. "2006 Social Capital Survey." Harvard Kennedy School. Retrieved December 14, 2007
- Veenhoven, Ruut. 1992. "Happiness in Nations." World Database of Happiness, Distributional Findings in Nations.
- Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved December 4, 2006 (http://www.worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl).
- American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 1992. 3d ed. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
- Alwin, Duane F. 1992. "Equity Theory." Pp. 563-75 in Encyclopedia of Sociology, edited by E. F. Borgatta
- and M. L. Borgatta. New York: Macmillan.
Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia. 1994. "Genetic Engineering." Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia,
- Version 2.0[CD-ROM]. Carlsbad, CA: Compton's New Media, Inc.
- Britannica Online. 1995. "Stock Market Crash in 1929." Britannica On-line. Retrieved May 1, 1998 (http://www.eb.com/).
U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1993. "Higher Education Price Indexes: 1965-1991." Table 277 in Statistical Abstract
- of the United States: 1993, 113th edition. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.
- U.S. Bureau of the Census. 2004. "U.S. Interim Projections by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin." Retrieved
- May 14, 2008 (http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/usinterimproj).
References Cited in ASA Lite (TOP)
- American Psychological Association. 2001. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 5th ed.
- Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
- American Sociological Association. 2007. American Sociological Association Style Guide. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American
- Sociological Association.
- CMS. See University of Chicago Press.
Turabian, Kate L. 2007. A Manual for Writers of Term Pares, Theses, and Dissertations. 7th ed. Chicago, IL: University
- of Chicago Press.
- University of Chicago Press. 2003. The Chicago Manual of Style. 15th ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.