Q. How to do a seriation in an APA paper? Bulleted lists, numbered lists, etc.?
How do you include a list or a series of points in your paper?
APA has rules on how to present lists to help the reader see the organization of key elements within sections, paragraphs and/or sentences in a paper. When using seriated lists, choose terms or phrases that are similar or in parallel throughout the list.
APA allows for three types of seriated lists:
- Lettered lists
- Numbered lists
- Bulleted lists
Each is identified and given in the examples below:
Use a lettered list when you want to present a series within a sentence. Each item is preceded with a letter within parentheses. Note that this form or seriation may not draw as much of the reader's attention as a bulleted or numbered list.
The study tested three groups of students: (a) children who attended a publicly funded pre-K program, (b) children who attended a privately funded pre-K program, and (c) children who did not attend a pre-K program.
Use numbered lists to display complete sentences or paragraphs in a series.
The survey included the following questions:
1. What pre-reading strategies were covered in the session before the assessment?
2. Did the pre-reading strategy training improve performance on the assessment?
3. What outcomes were achieved through the pre-reading strategy training?
NOTE: Some may interpret items in a numbered list to be presented in order of importance.
In some situations, a numbered list may give the impression that one item in the list is more important than another; a bulleted list may be preferable.
Note: If you are reproducing, quoting, or paraphrasing a list taken from a source, the citation would appear at the end of the last item. (APA 6th edition rules included a semicolon after each item in the list and a period following the last item listed. APA 7th edition has removed all punctuation in the list.) Two variations on how that type of citation might look are below:
Example of a bulleted list presented as phrases:
Elisabeth Kulber-Ross is widely credited with identifying five stages of grief that many people go through when facing a terminal illness:
- acceptance (Hebert, Moore & Rooney, 2011, para. 9)
Hebert, Moore, and Rooney (2011) indicate that Elisabeth Kulber-Ross is widely credited with identifying five stages of grief that many people go through when facing a terminal illness:
- acceptance (para. 9)
Example of a bulleted list presented as sentences
Follow these steps to successfully search a library database:
- Develop a list of terms that describe the concepts you want expressed in an article.
- Combine the search terms with Boolean connectors by using the OR connector to link synonyms and the AND connector to connect concepts.
- Perform a search and modify the search statement to find desired results.
Example of a bulleted list that contains both phrases and sentences
SMART is a popular method for setting personal goals because well-written goals:
- Specific: have a clear and high-specific end point.
- Measurable: can be tracked.
- Attainable: are realistic.
- Relevant: are in agreement with the organizational goals.
- Time-Bound: have a specific timeframe.
Here is a chart from APA that will help you pick which type of seriation to use:
|What do you want to do with your series of items?||Lettered||Numbered||Bulleted|
|Clarify the elements without drawing overmuch attention to the list itself||√|
|Visually separate the list from the surrounding text||√||√|
|Show procedural steps||√||√|
|Show a chronology (first, second, third)||√||√|
|Show how items have relative importance (e.g., increasing or decreasing in importance)||√||√|
|Show a general list, with no implied chronology, procedure, order, or differences in importance||√||√|
American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000
Hebert, K., Moore, H., & Rooney, J. (2011). The nurse advocate in end-of-life care. The Ochsner Journal, (11)4, 325-329.