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I'm writing an academic paper and have added some information within a set of brackets. I have then added a citation to this piece of information, which has now left me with this sentence:

A total CI of lower than 1 and the low p-values of <0.05 (recorded between 0-1 (REFERENCE)) indicate that this...

Is my use of double brackets accurate or should I be using []?

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    Depends on style sheet and guidelines of the journal you’re publishing with. – Richard Z Apr 8 at 15:44
  • I agree with Richard Z. Whenever possible, always adhere to the applicable guidelines for your field of study. As a general editor, I would prefer to see this: "A total CI of less than 1 and the low p-values of <0.05 (recorded between 0-1) [REFERENCE] indicate that this..." Using "lower than 1" just sounds odd to me. If you must use "lower than," at least remove the "of" before it. Putting your reference in brackets outside of the parenthetical phrase makes it clearer to me and avoids the use of double parentheses. – Mark Hubbard Apr 8 at 15:54
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This depends on your style guide. In APA, you shouldn’t nest parentheses. Instead either use square brackets (if the citation belongs to what’s inside the parentheses) or offset the reference with a semicolon or comma (when the citation includes information outside the parentheses, depending on if it’s a full reference or just the year). Here’s what the APA blog says:

Four guidelines govern how to use these punctuation marks together (or not) to handle double enclosures in an APA Style paper.

  1. Use brackets inside parentheses to create a double enclosure in the text. Avoid parentheses within parentheses, or nested parentheses.
    • Correct: (We also administered the Beck Depression Inventory [BDI; Beck, Steer, & Garbin, 1988], but those results are not reported here.)
    • Incorrect: (We also administered the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; Beck, Steer, & Garbin, 1988), but those results are not reported here.)
  2. Separate citations from parenthetical text with either semicolons (for parenthetical-style citations) or commas around the year (for narrative citations). Do not use a double enclosure or back-to-back parentheses.
    • Correct: Gender differences may reflect underlying continuous attributes, such as personality (e.g., communion and agency; Spence & Helmreich, 1978). These distinctions are reflected in sexually dimorphic brain structures (see Ellis et al., 2008, for recent meta-analyses).
    • Incorrect: Gender differences may reflect underlying continuous attributes, such as personality (e.g., communion and agency) (Spence & Helmreich, 1978). These distinctions are reflected in sexually dimorphic brain structures (see Ellis et al. [2008] for recent meta-analyses).

(The other two guidelines aren’t relevant here.)

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