How to Format a List in APA Style

Lists in an APA style paper can be effective in drawing attention to information, but use them sparingly.
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APA style is used by psychologists and professionals in the social sciences. Lists are useful for structuring ideas, and have special treatment in APA style depending on whether they are numbered, lettered or bulleted.

1 Numbered Lists

Numbered lists are good for showing chronology and seriation. When writing a list in APA format, use numbers with a period and one space before starting the sentence. Capitalize the first letter in the sentence, and use proper punctuation at the end.


2 Bulleted Lists

Bulleted lists keep text structured and help it stand out without the need for chronological order. Be consistent with formatting. Start capitalizing sentences after the bullet, and use correct end punctuation for complete sentences. Bulleted lists aren’t the best choice when you need chronological order.

3 Lettered Lists

Lists created within paragraphs of text in APA style require letters. Use letters (a) that are lower case; (b) with letters in parentheses; (c) separated by semicolons.

4 Running Text Lists

Lists within text that use commas should have an Oxford comma, otherwise known as a serial comma, before the conjunction. For example: Everyone knows that you should use a comma before, during, and after a word in a series when using APA style.

Bonnie Crowe is a mother of two teenagers; a teacher and author of children's books, curriculum and articles on English grammar, literature, technology, art, parenting and career guides for high schoolers. She's a former director of AOL Parenting, a member of SCBWI, and a graduate from the University of California,Berkeley.