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If you have taken data or ideas from an article or book, you must write a citation for that book or article. This is true even if you have rephrased the idea or concept in your own words. Proper referencing includes:

  1. An in-text citation (example: surname of the author and year of publication)
  2. An entry of the citation in the reference list/bibliography with complete details

Different disciplines use different citation styles. The Sociology department uses the ASA style for citing references. However, it will be best to check with the faculty in charge on the citation style to follow for your assignments, projects, research reports, thesis and dissertations.

Quick Style Guide – ASA

Information about writing ASA style citations can be found at the Style Guide-ASA shown below. You can also download the PDF file of this guide. Alternatively, you can consult Style Guide available in the Humanities & Social Sciences Library for further reference.

This guide serves as a quick reference for students writing Sociology papers. It comprises of two components, namely (1) in-text citation and (2) reference list. The information in this document is taken from American Sociological Association Style Guide (4th ed.), 2010.

Part I. In-Text Citation

Guidelines Examples
If the author’s name is in the essay sentence, include only the publication year of the source. According to Neuendorf (2002), content analysis can be used to…

Note: Neuendorf is the last name.

If the author’s name is not in the essay sentence, include the author’s last name and the year of publication. … using manifest indicators (Neuendorf 2002).
For a source with two authors, list all of their last names and the year of publication. The advantages of Web-based survey…(Connaway and Powell 2010).
For a source with three authors, list all of their last names for the first citation. Subsequently include the name of the first author and use “et al.” for the rest.

Note: “et al.” means “and others”

In first citation:
… is derived (Davis, Bagozzi, and Warshaw 1989).In subsequent citations:
(Davis et al. 1989).
For a source with more than three authors, always include the last name of the first author and use “et al.” for the rest. Holland et al. (1986) pointed out that…
If you use two or more sources in a sentence, list all sources in alphabetical or date order (be consistent throughout the essay), and separate them with a semicolon. … to make inferences about the population as a whole (Connaway and Powell 2010; Neuman 2011).
For institutional or government authorship, provide minimum identification. As at end of June 2012, Singapore’s population stood at 5.31 million (Singapore Department of Statistics 2012).
If you quote directly from a source, you need to include the author’s last name, year of publication, and the page number where the quotation is taken from. As stated by Neuendorf (2002), content analysis is the systematic, objective, quantitative analysis of message characteristics” (p. 1).
Note: the p. is in lower case.
If you quote directly from a source, but the author’s name is not in the essay sentence, place the author’s last name, year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation. Content analysis is the systematic, objective, quantitative analysis of message characteristics” (Neuendorf 2002:1).
Note: 1 refers to the page number.
If you quote directly from a source, that are 50 words or more, you need to present them in a smaller font, in a separate indented paragraph. Do not use quotation marks in this case. As described by Berger (1993):

The sociologist, then, is someone concerned with understanding society in a disciplined ways. The nature of this discipline is scientific. This means that what the sociologist finds and says about the social phenomena he studies occurs within a certain rather strictly defined frame of reference. (P. 16)

Note: the P. is in upper case.

More Tips

Acronyms First usage must be in full form:
American Sociological Association (ASA)…Subsequent usage:
According to the ASA
Abbreviations Do not use abbreviations such as e.g., etc., and i.e. in your main text. They can be used in parentheses if needed.
Non-English words Should be italicized (except foreign words in common usage):
The Japanese policy of Fukoku Kyohei had consequences…

Words in red are for illustrative purposes only. Please note that the font size and text colour of all in-text citations should be the same as your main text.

Part II. Reference List

Guidelines Examples
Single author
Neuendorf, Kimberly A. 2002. The Content Analysis Guidebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Two authors
Macionis, John J. and Ken Plummer. 2008. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Three or more authors
Holland, John H., Keith J. Holyoak, Richard E. Nisbett, and Paul R. Thagard. 1986. Induction: Processes of Inference, Learning, and Discovery. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Edited book, no author
Hier, Sean, ed. 2011. Moral Panic and the Politics of Anxiety. New York: Routledge.
Seidman, Steven and Jeffrey C. Alexander, eds. 2008. The New Social Theory Reader: Contemporary Debates. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.
Chapter in book
Butler, Judith. 1993. “Imitation and Gender Insubordination.” Pp. 307-20 in The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, edited by H. Abelove, M. A. Barale, and D. M. Halperin. New York: Routledge.
Horkheimer, Max and Theodor W. Adorno. 1972. Dialectic of Enlightenment. Translated by J. Cumming. New York: Seabury Press.
Journal Articles
Single Author
Pekerti, Andre A. 2008. “The Independent Family-Centric
Career: Career Perspective of the Overseas Chinese in Indonesia.” Career Development Quarterly 56(4):362-77.
Two authors
Malacrida, Claudia and Tiffany Boulton. 2012. “Women’s Perceptions of Childbirth ‘Choices’: Competing Discourses of Motherhood, Sexuality, and Selflessness.” Gender & Society 26(5):748-72.
Three or more authors
McLaughlin, Heather, Christopher Uggen, and Amy Blackstone. 2012. “Sexual Harassment, Workplace Authority, and the Paradox of Power.” American Sociological Review 77(4):625-47.
Electronic Sources
Newspaper articles
Mahbubani, Kishore. 2010. “What are Singapore’s Core Values?” Straits Times, April 14. Retrieved October 5, 2012 (
Online reports
Singapore Department of Statistics. 2012. Monthly Digest of Statistics Singapore, September 2012. Singapore: Department of Statistics, Ministry of Trade & Industry. Retrieved October 5, 2012 (

The reference list includes all sources which you have read, scanned, referenced, or quoted for writing your essay. All in-text citations must have a corresponding entry in the list.

More Tips

  1. List the sources in alphabetical order, according to the last name/surname of the first author of the source.
  2. Enter the author’s name in inverted order (last name/surname first).
  3. If there are two or more authors that contributed to as source, only list the first author’s name in inverted order.
  4. If there is no author for a source, arrange that source according to the first significant word in the title.
  5. If you cite more than one source from the same author, arrange these sources from the same author chronologically according to their publication year.
  6. For repeated authors, use six hyphens and a full stop (——.) to replace the author name of the subsequent entries.
  7. If the same author wrote more than one work in the same year, differentiate them by adding letters to the publication year. (2000a, 2000b)
  8. Use hanging indentation for the reference list. (indent 3 spaces)
  9. Use italics to enter book/journal titles.

Useful Resources

  1. American Sociological Association. 2010. Style Guide. 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Sociological Association.
    Call No. HM569.S938 2010 | HSS Library
  2. American Sociological Association. Quick Style Guide.
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