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ASA Sociology Citation Style Guide: 4 Easy Steps to Referencing

Four Steps to Referencing

1.) Record


At the time of reading a document, record all of the descriptive elements (listed below) necessary to create a citation. You must give credit in your paper when using direct quotations, ideas, paraphrasing, specific reference to the work of another and whenever someone else's work has been critical in developing your own ideas.

The descriptive elements for a variety of document types are listed below. These lists will help you to record the information necessary to create your references. Be careful with photocopied articles from journals or chapters from books. You must keep a record of the journal title where the article was published or the book title where you found the chapter.

Please note: you may not need to use all of these elements for every citation.

Whole Book

  • author’s surname and initials or given name
  • title of publication
  • title of series, if applicable
  • volume number or number of volumes, if applicable
  • edition, if not the first
  • editor, reviser, compiler or translator, if other than the author
  • publisher
  • place of publication (first named)
  • year of publication
  • page number/s, if applicable

Parts of books (Chapters, sections, conference papers, etc.)

In addition to the details for the Whole Book (see above) record the following information specific to the part.

  • Author's surname and initials or given name (of the part)
  • Title of the part
  • Inclusive page numbers of the part

Journal articles

  • Author’s surname and initials or given name
  • Title of the article
  • Title of the journal
  • Volume and issue number
  • Year of publication
  • Inclusive page numbers

Electronic documents

Electronic format (online) documents are Web site and Web pages, journal articles published on the internet or retrieved from a fulltext database and books published in electronic format.

Not all electronic documents have an obvious author or title so you will sometimes need to use your own judgment to determine these details. Be aware that pagination (page numbers) may not be present or appropriate for many electronic publications.

Some documents are published in both paper and electronic formats, for example, online books, government reports and journal articles. You must use the citation format that corresponds with the format of the resoruce that you used.

The following is a list of common descriptive elements you may need to record for citation of an electronic document. This list is comprehensive. The elements you record will depend upon the type of electronic document you are describing.

  • Authors surname and initials or given name if present
  • Title of the document
  • Title of the webpage
  • Database name
  • Page or section numbers if given
  • Format (online or cdrom or electronic if you are not sure)
  • Year of publication or latest update date
  • DOI or Internet address (URL)


2.) Organise


File or store this information, and the source documents if you have them, in a manner and format that is easily accessed at a later date. You may wish to write all details on the print copy of an article you are using; or you may wish to keep a system of filing cards for each reference item you use.

Alternatively, you may decide to maintain a master reference list on your computer, which you add details to as required. There are a number of software packages now available, for example, EndNote or RefWorks which you can use to create databases of your references. These programs can be used to produce reference or works cited lists in a specified style. Please enquire at the Reference Desk in the Library for more information on how to use RefWorks.


3.) Constructing your citation 


The format of your citation depends on which citation format you are using. APA requires in-text citation format, MLA requires parenthetical format, while Chicago style uses footnotes/endnotes.


4.) Create your Biblography, Reference List or Works Cited page 


Create either a Bibliography, Reference List or Works Cited list at the end of your essay or thesis.

The usual arrangement is alphabetical by the last name of the first author listed in the citation. If there is no author, the first word of the title is used in the sequence.

The usual arrangement for a Biblography, Reference or Works Cited list for notational styles is a single sequence in numerical order.

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