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Sociology Research Guide: Elements of Style

Resources for students and faculty in the Sociology Department

ASA Style Guide

ASA Citation Guide





(Sect 2.3)

  • Titles of books and articles, capitalize the first word in the title or subtitle and all words except prepositions regardless of length (of, onto, between, through), articles (a, an, the), and coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or)
  • Capitalize the names of racial and ethnic groups that represent geographical locations or linguistic populations (Hispanic, Asian, African American, Appalachian)
  • Do not capitalize black and white when designating racial groups
  • Capitalize references to regions of the United States, such as the South, the North, the Midwest, when referring to places
  • Capitalize Southerners and Northerners only when referring to the Civil War 
  • Do not capitalize north, south, east, or west when referring to directions
  • In titles, capitalize only the first element of a hyphenated word, unless the second element is a proper noun or adjective.  EXAMPLE:  The Dynamic Self-concept, but Post-Vietnam War Reconstruction
  • Do not capitalize the word the in running text for institutional titles such as the University of Chicago


(Sect 2.4)

Use italics:

  • for emphasis
  • to highlight terms in specific context
  • to identify foreign words
  • for titles of books, periodicals, movies, the names of radio and TV shows


(Sect 2.5)

  • Spell out numbers one through nine
  • Use numerals for numbers 10 or greater
  • Spell out  ordinal numbers one through nine (first, second, third), but use numerals for numbers greater than 10 (10th, 11th, 12th)
  • Always spell out numbers at the beginning of a sentence
  • Use numerals for reference to tables, figures, etc (Figure 1, Table 2)
  • Spell out centuries: nineteenth century, twenty-first century
  • Spell out common fractions (two-thirds, reduced by one half)
  • Be consistent in the presentation when numbers are part of a pair or series of comparable quantities (There were 3 children in the car and 10 in the van.  We received 8 of 50 responses.)
  • Always use numerals with percent
  • Express numbers less than 1 million in numerals (599,000), but write a numeral followed by million, billion, etc for numbers greater than 1 million (4.2 million)
  • Express numbers that represent exact time, sample sizes, and sums of money as numerals (9:00a.m., $5 bill, N=2,064)


(Sect 2.6)

  • Nineteenth century
  • Twentieth-century poet [include a hyphen when used as an adjective]
  • 1930s; mid-1980s
  • January 19, 1968
  • April 1989
  • 1928 to 1931 [in text, use to instead of dash]

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Jill Howard
Mansfield Library
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