Seriation: A Serious Situation

Seriation is APA speak for a series, and there are a couple of points to remember.  You will be delivering results throughout your work in the form of lists, series, tables, and the like, so understanding seriation rules before sending to your Chair will save you some revisions.

For paragraph seriation, use Arabic numerals and make sure that your text wraps.  Here is an example:

Paragraph Seriation

  1. The word seriation derives from the word series, and has its origins in the mid 19th century.
  2. I intend to find out why the word seriation is used when the word series is available and means the same thing.
  3. Microsoft Word automatically does paragraph seriation wrong, so you will have to adjust it and be sure the second line wraps back to the margin and does not begin directly underneath your first line of text in your seriation.

In-Text Seriation

Do not use a colon when the list is not numbered. You may use lowercase letters in parentheses to set off items in your list.  Think about (a) whether the lowercase letters are really necessary, (b) whether you are introducing additional commas, and (c) that italics are not used.

Use commas and semicolons appropriately, people.  If you have a seriation situation with three or more elements in one portion of the list, separate the next portion with a semicolon and use commas for the first portion.  This will avoid confusion for your reader.  Comma sense.  See seriation below.

Classical philology owns the idea of seriation; the Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin influences; and the concept of interpreting phenomena as it relates to similar, analogous, and contextual occurrences.


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