Answered By: Katie Hutchison
Last Updated: Nov 29, 2016     Views: 23425

Write out the entire phrase the first time you use it, followed by the acronym in parenthesis. 

Example: Katie joined the American Library Association (ALA) in 2010. ALA has many events...

Use only the acronym throughout your paper after the first reference unless there are multiple pages between the first reference and subsequent references. If there is the possibility that your reader may not remember what the acronym stands for then you may choose to write out the entire phrase again.

Comments (8)

  1. Are acronyms capitalized in the journal title of an APA reference citation?
    by Marcheline on Aug 30, 2017
  2. @Marcheline - Yes.
    by Katie Hutchison on Aug 30, 2017
  3. Thank you Katie. I don't think I properly asked the question. In an APA-style citation, are acronyms in a journal title spelled out like, "American library association" for ALA? Also for program studies, is "LIS" kept as is in the journal title for "library information studies", or spelled out like I just did?
    by Marcheline on Aug 30, 2017
  4. @Marcheline - I would spell it out. For example, a citation should say "Journal of the American Medical Association" not JAMA.
    by Katie Hutchison on Aug 31, 2017
  5. Ok, thank you so much, Katie. I'm having such a hard time finding a concise answer to this extremely specific question. Not even my professor was sure.

    So then this looks right to you?:

    Oguz, F., Chu, C. M., & Chow, A. S. (2015). Studying online: Motivations and experiences in American library association-accredited library information science programs. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 56(3), 213-231.
    by Marcheline on Aug 31, 2017
  6. @Marcheline - yes, just make sure you italicize the journal name and the volume number.
    by Katie Hutchison on Sep 03, 2017
  7. Assume the acronym has been defined; what is the rule for using "the" before it when representing the proper name of a business?
    (1) When arriving at TRT, turn left.
    (2) When arriving at the TRT, turn left.

    I have always believed it best to speak the sentence aloud to determine whether to use "the" before the acronym. Am I thinking about this incorrectly?
    by JCAustin on Jul 20, 2018
  8. @JCAustin - APA does not comment on this. Your idea of speaking the sentence aloud to determine if a "the" is necessary sounds fine with me. You could always check with your professor to see if he or she has a preference.
    by Katie Hutchison on Jul 25, 2018

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