Personal communications (interviews, letters, emails)

You may need to consult more than one section to accurately represent the source used (eg. number of authors and source descriptions)

Format for in text citation

In text citation

(A.A. Author, personal communication, Month Day, Year)

In text citation example

Eg.…the evidence was inconclusive (J. Smith, personal communication, March 21, 2019).

Format for reference list

Elements, punctuation & capitalisation

Not required as personal communications, such as letters and emails are not accessible by the audience for your work. The work should be acknowledged in the text.

Style notes for this reference type

  • APA 7 Publication Manual, p.179.
  • Examples of personal communications include interviews, private letters, and email correspondence.
  • An in-text citation to personal communications should include the initials and full surname of the person and date details. For example: (J. Smith, personal communication, March 21, 2019).
  • Privacy settings define if content is referenced as a ‘personal communication’. Restricted content that is not published or findable is referenced as personal communications. Content which is accessible to others cannot be defined as a personal communication, except for content which may be held in an archive, repository, gallery, museum, or library.
  • Personal communications are not included in the reference list as they are not published or findable by others. However, if you would like to include a personal interview as part of your APA reference list, a general structure for the reference is to include the interviewee, the date of the interview, and the type of interview. For example: Last name, Initial. (Year, Month date). Interview type [email, phone, personal interview, personal interview with [third party Initial. Last Name].
  • If there is any additional contextual information that is significant to this communication, please include it in the citation.

Explore resources to help with reference management and enable you to effectively integrate and cite sources into your writing and assessment tasks.

View Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Access all referencing FAQs Access further help