How to Write an ASA Style Paper

When you are a university student or a scholar, and you are facing a task of writing something, you are expected to meet the requirements of a certain format style. There are several format styles, and they were introduced for the convenience of both the writers and the readers. The most common format style for academic and scientific writing are ASA (American Sociological Association), APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), and Chicago / Turabian.

Today, we will focus on the ASA format style. This style suggests the following general guidelines:

  • The font should be clear and easy to read. As an example, it is recommended to set the font to Times New Roman with size 12 and double spacing.
  • The margins should be 1.25”.
  • Subheadings are a must.
  • The paper consists of three or four main sections: the title page, the abstract (optional), the main body, and the bibliography.

In ASA style format, each section or part of the paper has certain format requirements of its own. Let us take a look at those:

ASA STYLE FORMAT TITLE PAGE

The title page includes the information below:

  • the title of the work in full;
  • the name(s) of the author(s);
  • the name of your university or institution;
  • the complete word count of your work – including the footnotes and endnotes.

ASA STYLE FORMAT ABSTRACT

The abstract is the summarized version of your entire paper. It is meant to get the reader (who is unfamiliar with your research) familiar with what they are about to read.

As we have mentioned, ASA style format does not require you to include an abstract of your work, but it is also not restricted. So, it is best to specify with your professor or advisor whether your paper should have an abstract.

If you do include an abstract of your work, then ASA format style demands that it meets the following requirements:

  • you allocate a separate page to your abstract, it is the second page – right after the title page;
  • the abstract consists of only one paragraph, at least 150 words, but not more than 200 words;
  • it is recommended to list several (3 to 5) keywords essential to your research.

ASA STYLE FORMAT MAIN BODY

In ASA style format, the text in the main body of your works follows the general formatting guidelines. However, three points deserve extra attention regarding formatting: the sub-headings, the footnotes, and the parenthetical (also referred to as in-text) citations. Here are the best ways to format them:

Sub-headings. They can be of three levels:

  • First level. It is written in all capital letters. The alignment is left-side. There is no extra formatting (bold, italic, underlining, etc.)
  • Second level. It is italicized. Every word starts with a capital letter. There is also no extra formatting.
  • Third level. It is also in italic. Only the first word is capitalized. No extra formatting as well.

Footnotes. They are used to give more information about something that you feel like should be expanded upon, but will not look well in the text proper. They are listed in the same order as they are found on the page, and the numeration is subscript.

Parenthetical citations. Other authors works may be cited in various instances, and the format will differ. Here are some examples:

– the first time you reference a work, you state the author’s name and the year of publishing. You can also mention the page number – in such case, it will be separated from the year of publishing by a column with no spaces. For example:

“The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” (Seuss 2007:7).

– if the author’s name has been mentioned before, you only state the year of publishing. For example:

“The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” (2007:7).

– if the work that you are referencing has more than one author, you list them as you would normally. For example:

“The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” (Seuss, Dahl, and Lindgren 2007:7).

– if you the citation comes from two separate sources (as an option, it can be shaped as an indirect quotation, then the cited works are separated by a semi-column. For example:

Scholars have observed that quick brown foxes tend to jump over lazy dogs (Seuss 2007; Dahl 2006).

ASA FORMAT STYLE BIBLIOGRAPHY

If you are already familiar with the APA format style, then you can format your bibliography the same with ASA requirements, there are no critical differences. Here are some examples:

  •  book with one author:

Baltzell, E. Digby. 1958. Philadelphia Gentlemen. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.

  • book with two or more authors:

Baltzell, E. Digby. 1964. The Protestant Establishment. New York: Random House.

  • ebook:

Daniels, John. 2010. Apathetic College Students in America [Kindle edition]. Middletown, IL: University of Middletown Press. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/collegestudies/docDetail.action?docID=1010101010).

  • journal article:

Baltzell, E. Digby. 1976. “The Protestant Establishment Revisited.” American Scholar 45:499-519.

  • web resource:

Purdue University. 2012. “Purdue University’s Foundations of  Excellence Final Report: A Roadmap for Excellent  Beginnings.” Retrieved Nov. 21,  2014(http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/provost_pubs/1/).

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