Lists, Part 6: Overview
Earlier in this series, I gave examples of lettered, numbered, and bulleted lists. Whereas those posts provided detail about each type of list and how to construct them, this post synthesizes the information to help you decide what list might be best for your paper.
Chelsea has consolidated this information into a handy table that shows typical uses for each type of list. Please note that it’s a general overview of the APA Style guidelines described in the Manual, not an exhaustive or absolute list. In fact, we’d love to hear other ways you use lists—feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.
|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||√||√|
You can also download a PDF version of this table here.
What other uses do you find for lettered, numbered, or bulleted lists?