I am writing an academic paper, specifically a Position Paper, using APA. According to the Purdue OWL webpage, to cite an organisation:

"First citation: (Mothers Against Drunk Driving [MADD], 2000)

Second citation: (MADD, 2000)"

Am I allowed to use the abbreviation of the agency/organisation in other sentences in the paper but not as a citation? Or do I have to use the entire name again?

First citation: ... (Mothers Against Drunk Driving [MADD], 2000)

Second citation where Brown talks about the organisation MADD:

  1. "MADD also notes that .... (as cited in Brown, 2010)." or

  2. "Mothers Against Drunk Driving also notes that .... (as cited in Brown, 2010)."?

2 Answers 2


The APA Style Blog recommends that you spell out the organization's name in your first use in the text of the article, then abbreviate in subsequent uses, including in-text citations.

If you include the citation many times in your paper, you might want to abbreviate the group author name. If so, this introduction should be included with the first use in text:

According to the American Psychological Association (APA, n.d., Definition of "Psychology," para. 1), “psychology is a diverse discipline, grounded in science, but with nearly boundless applications in everyday life.”

Note that you still need to spell out the name of the organization in each long reference at the end of your paper.


Knowing nothing about this particular style, my impulse would be to define it on first reference in each kind of copy, and use the abbreviation after that.

So the first time you use it in running copy, spell it out and put the abbreviation after it in parens, and then use the abbreviation thereafter. But additionally, the first time you use it in a citation, spell it out again, and then use the abbreviation in subsequent citations.


First citation: ... (Mothers Against Drunk Driving [MADD], 2000)

Second citation: (MADD, 2000)

Running copy:

First reference: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) also notes that .... (as cited in Brown, 2010).

Second reference: Later, a spokesperson from MADD commented... (as cited in Brown, 2010).

  • Well, my first reference is cited from MADD itself. It is only my second reference that I cite it from Brown. So I don't think I can use the one your suggested.
    – Karen
    Nov 6, 2012 at 17:47
  • This looks good, but I think the important part of this question is how to do this in APA style. Nov 6, 2012 at 20:04
  • @NeilFein: Yes, I understand, which is why I noted that caveat in my first sentence. If APA Style had an entry which covered it, the OP could have looked that up, right? Nov 6, 2012 at 20:53
  • @Karen: I was using "as cited in Brown" as filler. I can replace it with "as cited in Holmes, 1895" if that makes it clearer. The important part is the structure of the citation, not the content. Nov 6, 2012 at 20:54
  • @LaurenIpsum - Not necessarily; some writers get confused by style books and ask questions when they can't find the answer. I don't know if that's the case here, though. Nov 9, 2012 at 18:00

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