APA Fact of the Week: Parentheses

APA Editing

When writing your dissertation, it is necessary to understand APA’s basic mechanics of style. Regarding parentheses, writers may find it difficult to decipher how, when, and where to use them. The APA Manual details the general use of parentheses in Section 4.09 (APA6, pp. 93–94). Outlined below are a few common examples students experience when writing their dissertations.

  1. to set off structurally independent elements

Ex. The participants’ demographics were diverse (see Table 2).

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2. to set off citations in the text

Ex. Creswell (2011) identified…

Ex. … is one of the fastest growing illnesses (Belbase, Khan, & Jalan, 2013), and

Ex. The researchers found… (O’Neil et al., 2014).

*Inside, citations are organized alphabetically.

The most common errors in dissertations are back-to-back parentheses and nested parentheses.

3. Avoid back-to-back parentheses

Correct Ex. (e.g., defensive pessimism; Horem & Cantor, 1986)

Incorrect Ex. (e.g., defensive pessimism) (Horem & Cantor, 1986)

4. Avoid nested parentheses

Correct Ex. (the Beck Depression Inventory )

Incorrect Ex. (the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI))