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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

Manuscript Formatting


This resource covers American Sociological Association (ASA) style and includes information about manuscript formatting, in-text citations, formatting the references page, and accepted manuscript writing style. The bibliographical format described here is taken from the American Sociological Association (ASA) Style Guide, 5th edition.

Title Page

Include a separate title page with the full title of the manuscript, authors' names and institutions (listed vertically if there are more than one), a running head of the shortened title (60 characters or less), and a complete word count of the document (which includes footnotes and references).

A title footnote should include the address of the corresponding author (that is – the author who receives correspondence regarding the article), grants/funding, and additional credits and acknowledgements (for papers for sociology classes, this is often not needed). An asterisk (*) by the title refers to the title footnote at the bottom of the page.


If an abstract is needed, it should be on a separate page, immediately after the title page, with the title of the document as the heading.

Do not include author.

The abstract should be one paragraph, 150-200 words in length, using accessible language. Think of it this way: the abstract should also serve as a good press release about the research.


On the same page as the abstract, include a list of three to five words that help to identify main themes in the manuscript.

Text Formatting

All text within the document should be in a 12-point Arial font and double spaced (including footnotes), or as specified by journal or course instructor. 


Margins should be at least 1 1/4 inches on all sides, or as specified by journal or course instructor.

First Page

The first page of the text should start with the title and be on a new page of text (after the title page and abstract).


Use subheadings to organize the body of the manuscript. Usually, three different levels of headings should be sufficient.


  • Place first-level heads in all caps and left-justify.
  • Don't use a bold font.
  • Don't begin the manuscript with a heading, such as Introduction.

This is a Second-Level Head

  • Italicize and left-justify second-level heads.
  • Don't use a bold font.
  • Use title case.

This is a third-level head.

  • Italicize and left-justify third-level heads.
  • These should be indented at the beginning of the paragraph…
  • …followed by a period
  • Don't use a bold font.
  • Capitalize only the first word of the head.

Footnotes and Endnotes

Footnotes and endnotes are used to cite materials of limited availability, expand upon the text, or to add information presented in a table.

Endnotes are used more frequently than footnotes, but both should be used sparingly. As a general rule, use one or the other throughout the manuscript but do not mix them. (The exception to this rule is to use a footnote on the Title page and for tables, but use endnotes throughout the rest of the document for manuscripts being submitted to a sociology journal.) They should be limited to fewer than 100 words.

In the text, footnotes or endnotes, whichever are used, should be numbered consecutively throughout the essay with superscript Arabic numerals. If referring to a footnote again later, use parentheses.

Footnotes are placed at the bottom of the page on which the material being referenced appears. If using endnotes, at the end of the paper in a separate section following the references, type the endnotes in numerical order, double-spaced, as a separate section with the title Notes or Endnotes.

Begin each note with the same superscripted number used in the text.

    8 See the new ASA Style Guide for more information.

Page Numbering

Pages should be numbered consecutively (1, 2, 3...) starting with the title page and including the references page(s), or as specified by journal or course instructor.

Tables and Figures

Number tables consecutively (Table 1, Table 2, Table 3).

Number figures consecutively (Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3).

Each table or figure should be placed on a separate page at the end of the manuscript, and should have a descriptive title that explains enough that the reader can understand it without having to refer to the text of the article.

In tables, give full headings for every column and row, avoiding the use of abbreviations whenever possible. Spell out the word percent in headings.

For more information, please consult the ASA Style Guide, Fifth Edition.

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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.