The purpose of defining abbreviations in the table note or figure caption is that if other authors reuse your graphical display in a future paper, the definitions of the terms will be attached.
Additionally, many readers will skim an article before reading it closely, and defining abbreviations in tables and figures will allow the readers to understand the abbreviations immediately.
If the name of the group first appears in the narrative, put the abbreviation, a comma, and the year for the citation in parentheses after it.
If you have several references by the same group author, you only need to abbreviate the name once (see here for how to handle references with the same author and date).
by Chelsea Lee This post will address how to use abbreviations in APA Style—specifically, how to use acronyms, which are abbreviations made up of the first letters of each word in a phrase. You can find abbreviations discussed in the The first time you use an abbreviation in the text, present both the spelled-out version and the short form.
When the spelled-out version first appears in the narrative of the sentence, put the abbreviation in parentheses after it: If your reference has a group author, the name of the group can sometimes be abbreviated—for example, American Psychological Association can be abbreviated to APA.
Yes, you can use abbreviations in tables and figures.
All abbreviations used in tables and figures should be defined in the table note or figure caption, respectively, even though the abbreviations will be also be defined in the text if they are used there.
If the spelled-out version of the term appears in the narrative for the first time, put the abbreviation and the author–date citation in parentheses after it, separated by a semicolon. There is no official guidance on whether to use abbreviations in the running head.
We recommend that you avoid them, unless the abbreviation is well-known and there is no alternative running head that would be better.