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Organizing and Citing Your Research

What is ASCE Style?

This page provides a basic introduction to the ASCE citation style. It is based on the Publishing in ASCE Journals: A Guide for Authors published by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2014. The ASCE manual is generally used for academic writing in the engineering sciences. 

The most common citation is paraphrasing a sentence from a reference:

The strongest will survive (Darwin 1859).

The ideas of others are intermingled with your ideas and maybe some ideas of others.

The strongest will survive (Darwin 1859). This concept is shown each day when traveling on the interstate. According to George Carlin (2002), driving is judged upon your current speed. Slower drivers are idiots and faster drivers are maniacs (Carlin 2002). As difficult as it is to admit, a fair amount of drivers would find me to be an idiot.

Occasionally, there are cases where it is appropriate to paraphrase a paragraph in order to fully explain the idea of the reference. When doing so, make it completely clear in your document that the entire paragraph is cited — not just the last sentence containing the citation. Some writers place the citation at the beginning and others at the end of the paragraph. An example of the citation at the end is as follows.

According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in 2010, the highway death toll was the lowest in 49 years. However, he unveiled a new measure called "distraction-affected crashes" due to the significance of crashes caused by different uses of technological devices. LaHood stated that the new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey will uncover how respondents view the safety risks of cell phone use (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 2011) .


Carlin, G. 2002. Napalm & silly putty, 4-5. New York: Hyperion.
Darwin, C. 1859. On the origin of species, London: Down, Bromley, Kent.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2011. "U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood announces lowest level of annual traffic fatalities in more than six decades." Accessed March 4, 2014. http://www.nhtsa.gov/Press-Releases?pressReleaseYear=2011opens new window.

Note: Hyperlink for the article opens in a new window.

Basic Formatting

Format for Journals:
Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial., and First Initial. Middle Initial. Last Name. year. "Journal article title." Abbreviated Journal Title, vol(issue), pages. URL for doi.

Banibayat, P., and A. Patnaik. 2014. "Variability of mechanical properties of basalt fiber reinforced polymer bars manufactured by wet-layup method." Mater Des, 56, 898-906. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matdes.2013.11.081

Format for Conference Proceedings or Book Chapter:
Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. year. "Chapter or conference paper title." In Vol. x of Book or abbreviated conference title, edited by First Initial. Last Name, pages. City, State or Country: Publisher.

Hancher, D., and P. Goodrum. 2007. "Constructability issues and review processes." In Constructability concepts and practice, edited by J. A. Gambatese, J. B. Pocock, and P. S. Dunston, 38-60. Reston, VA: ASCE.

Format for Website:
Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. year. "Page title." Title of larger work if applicable. Accessed date retrieved if applicable. URL.

"Carbon conductive cement adhesive material safety data sheet (MSDS)." 2006. VWR MSDS Search. Accessed March 2, 2014. https://us.vwr.com/stibo/hi_res/8924897.pdf.

  • Missing Information
    • If there is no author, title is first, then the year.
    • When no publisher of a conference is given, use the sponsor's name and location (city, state or country).
  • Titles
    • Only Journal and Conference Titles are abbreviated and are Title Case.
    • All other titles are sentence case.
    • If an author is an institution with an acronym, spell it out the first time with the acronym in parenthesis. Use the acronym for other entries for this author.

Unpublished Material

ASCE uses the author-date method for in-text references, whereby the source reads as the last names of the authors, then the year (e.g., Smith 2004 or Smith and Jones 2004).

Unpublished Material — ASCE does not permit unpublished material to be included in the References list. It may be cited in the text in the following forms: 

...other researchers (Orton et al., unpublished data, 1992)... 

In some cases (A. W. Pinter, personal communication, 1979)... 

Working papers and submitted papers are considered unpublished and should be cited in the text as follows: 

(B. Smith, “[title of paper],” working paper, Salk Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 

(B. Smith, “[title of paper],” submitted, Salk Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 

Unpublished reports should be cited in text according to one of the following formats: 

(author name(s), name of report, presented at ___, 2012) (author name(s), name of report, unpublished report) 

A paper that has been presented at a conference or meeting but is otherwise unpublished should be cited as an “unpublished report”:

... in Chang and McTavish (unpublished report, 1991)... 

For more information see Chapter 5, Manuscript Submission and Revision Requirements, in the ASCE guide.