APA 7th Referencing: Personal Communications

Related links within this guide

Basic format to reference personal communications

  • Works that cannot be recovered by readers are cited in the text as personal communications.
  • Personal Communications include "emails, text messages, online chats or direct messages, personal interviews, telephone conversations, live speeches, unrecorded classroom lectures, memos, letters, messages from nonarchived discussion groups or online bulletin boards, and so on" (APA, Publication Manual, 2020, p. 260). As these sources do not provide recoverable data, Personal Communications are not included in the Reference List.
  • Cite Personal Communications in-text only.
  • In your in-text citation of a Personal Communication give the initials as well as the surname of the communicator, and provide as exact a date as possible.
  • Use your judgment in citing Personal Communications. Remember that what you cite should have scholarly relevance.
  • Some forms of Personal Communications are recoverable, and these should be referenced as Archival Materials, see the APA Style website for detailed information on how to reference archival materials.

Referencing personal communication: Examples

Material Type In-Text Example Reference List Example
Email                           An email (J. W. Ayers, personal communication, July 2, 2018) confirming that results are accurate ... You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.
Interview

During an interview conducted on October 11, 2017, Professor Peter Dawkins stated that …
OR
The Vice Chancellor's statement was confirmed during an interview (P. Dawkins, personal communication, October 11, 2017).

You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.

This example is about referencing information from an interview that you have conducted. If you use published interviews conducted by other people cite them as appropriate, for example as a 'Speech audio recording' or 'Film'. See the 'Audiovisual Materials' page in this guide for examples. See the 'Archival Materials' section on the APA Style website for advice on referencing an interview held in an archive.

 Letter In a letter dated April 1, 2018, Ben Cork stated that ...
OR
Ben Cork expressed sincere regret in his letter (personal communication, April 1, 2018) ...
You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.
Telephone call During a phone interview conducted on August 14, 2018, Professor Sally Richards stated that ...
OR
The Vice Chancellor's statement was confirmed during a phone interview (S. Richards, personal communication, August 14, 2018).
You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.