APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing).
Contributors:Joshua M. Paiz, Elizabeth Angeli, Jodi Wagner, Elena Lawrick, Kristen Moore, Michael Anderson, Lars Soderlund, Allen Brizee, Russell Keck
Last Edited: 2014-02-25 10:54:35
In APA, abbreviations should be limited to instances when a) the abbreviation is standard and will not interfere with the reader’s understanding and b) if space and repetition can be greatly avoided through abbreviation.
There are a few common trends in abbreviating that you should follow when using APA, though there are always exceptions to these rules. When abbreviating a term, use the full term the first time you use it, followed immediately by the abbreviation in parentheses.
Exceptions: Standard abbreviations like units of measurement and states do not need to be written out. APA also allows abbreviations that appear as words in Meriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary to be used without explanation (IQ, REM, AIDS, HIV).
Do not use periods or spaces in abbreviations of all capital letters, unless it is a proper name or refers to participants using identity-concealing labels:
Exceptions: Use a period when abbreviating the United States as an adjective (U.S. Marines or U.S. Senator)
Use a period if the abbreviation is Latin abbreviation or a reference abbreviation:
Do not use periods when abbreviating measurements:
Exceptions: Use a period when abbreviating inch (in.) to avoid confusion.
Units of measurement and statistical abbreviations should only be abbreviated when accompanied by numerical values:
Only certain units of time should be abbreviated.
Do not abbreviate:
To form the plural of abbreviations, add s alone without apostrophe or italicization.
Exception: Do not add s to pluralize units of measurement (12 m not 12 ms).
Abbreviations in Citations
Citations should be as condensed as possible, so you should know the basic rules of abbreviation endorsed by the APA to provide your readers with reference information.
Always abbreviate the first and middle names of authors, editors, etc.
Use the following abbreviations within citations (take note of capitalization):
|APA Citation Abbreviations|
|revised edition||Rev. ed.|
|Second Edition||2nd ed.|
|Editor(s)||Ed. or Eds.|
|Page(s)||p. or pp.|
|Volume(s)||Vol. or Vols.|
|Technical Report||Tech. Rep.|