If you have a series of elements in the body of a paragraph, separate each element with lowercase letters enclosed in parentheses. Although only necessary for more complex elements, here is a simple example: (a) lions, (b) tigers, and (c) bears.
APA 7 indicates that vertical, numbered lists are used with complete sentences or paragraphs. Each element should end in a period or other appropriate punctuation.
- This sentence explains one element.
- This sentence explains a second element.
- This sentence explains a third element.
A vertical, numbered list would be appropriate when you need to show a specific order of elements, such as in steps in a procedure or conclusions as well as for research questions presented in a study.
Bulleted lists are appropriate when presenting a list of items in no particular order.
- I like apples.
- I like bananas.
- I like oranges.
The bullets indicate that I like apples, bananas, and oranges equally. Bulleted lists can be used with complete sentences, phrases, or a combination. See APA 7, Section 6.52 for examples and more information.