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ASA Paper Format and Style Guide for Researchers

Part of writing academic and research papers is using the right style to reference or cite the paper. Citation is significant as it proves to the reader the resources you used to get the information for your paper. There are varied forms of formatting styles, and they are usually based on the type of paper, tutor’s, or institute’s preferences. That is why it is always advised to read and comprehend the requirements first before you begin the writing process. In this guide, we highlight asa format paper and all the details you should know about ASA formatting.

What is ASA format?

ASA, better known as American Sociological Association, is one of the most regarded citation style for many academic papers. Students majoring in sociology often use the ASA research paper format for their academic work.

Just like any other formatting style, ASA style paper changes based on the original source of research materials.

ASA research paper format

While you can master the ASA formatting style, there could be some changes based on the source of materials. That is why even if you have an automation tool that can automate the citation process, it is significant to learn the basics and understand the ASA guidelines as outlined below:

  • The title page should be separate with the details including the following: paper title, author’s names (all), total word count (should include footnotes & references), and footnote title (must include names of the authors, their addresses, credits, grants, & acknowledgment).
  • Every text must begin on a new page with the manuscript’s title as the headings
  • No less than one-inch margins on all sides
  • Double-spacing of texts with a size 12 font, including the references and footnotes.
  • There should be a separate abstract page with 200 words headed with the title.

The structure of your ASA style paper will have the following sections:

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Body – each point should begin on a new page with the respective title, along with headings & subheadings after a short introduction.
  • Notes – include footnotes & endnotes in the text with superscripted numbers. Footnotes can be typed at the page’s bottom or in a section for endnotes or notes. You can only opt for one option and not both. Every endnote should start with a superscript number.
  • References – these are simply the sources or resources you used to gather your research information. Make sure you list the references alphabetically in the section specified for references.
  • Appendices – appendices must have titles. If you have more than one appendix, make sure you label them well, like Appendix A, and Appendix B, in that order.

How to do ASA citation

If you are formatting your academic paper the ASA way, use the following guidelines in every section:

ASA title page

The ASA title page should have the following details:

  • A shortened title – running head
  • The complete title for the paper
  • Author’s details – name and institution (if authors are more than one, each author’s details should be on different lines).
  • Total word count

An Example of ASA format title page:

The shortened title – running head

Complete article title: Capitalize the subtitle after the colon

Author’s full names

Name of the institute

Total word count

ASA heading

When writing the heading while using the ASA format style, you will have different-level headings. Therefore, make sure you consider the following:

  • First-level headings – they should be capitalized and aligned to the left. You can only use these headings after the introduction.
  • Second-level headings – these headings should be aligned to the left, put in italics, and capitalized (only conjunctions and prepositions don’t need to be capitalized)
  • Third-level headings – these headings should be indented, italicized, and end with a period. The first word, along with proper nouns, needs to be in caps.

ASA subheadings

Apart from the rules applied to different level headings in ASA format, all subheadings should never be in bold, and all subheadings should always follow left alignment. In any case, the other rules remain as described above.

ASA page numbers

Unless stated otherwise by the tutor or based on the institute’s guidelines, all pages, including references, should have numbers in a consecutive manner, such as 1, 2, 3, and so on. Again, every page with a number should begin with a title page.


When asked to format your paper using ASA style, the guidelines and rules of ASA are quite easy to follow. Do not struggle, thinking it is a hard task to accomplish. Make this guide your reference point, and everything else will fall in place.

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