Lists are useful frameworks when part of a clearly-defined hierarchy.
DEFINITION: Lists use sequential indicators (e.g. numbers or letters) to connect elements to a category .
For example, the "Frameworks" category contains a list of three types of frameworks: Chronology, List, and Reasoned.
Lists are most useful in contexts where the elements of the list are part of a hierarchy, often to categorize data (Green and Lawlor, 2017). A hierarchy is a structure where elements are categorized by their importance or inclusiveness. Less inclusive elements are contained within more inclusive categories. For example, "Frameworks" is a more inclusive category than "Chronology," "List" or "Reasoned" because "Frameworks" includes all possible frameworks to structure information (whereas the others do not). The elements of a list share a strong connection to the more inclusive topic, but are not necessarily similar to each other.
Lists are strongest when they include three items or fewer at each level of the hierarchy. Limiting the number of elements of lists helps to avoid overwhelming audiences with information.
Lists are a useful framework as long as the presentation CLEARLY indicates the HIERARCHY that the list represents. A simple way to clearly indicate a hierarchy is to clearly explain the more inclusive category before enumerating the items in the list.