Personal communication

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

Personal communication may include (but is not limited to) email, fax, interview, conversations, direct or private messages via social media, telephone conversations and letters.

Elements, punctuation & capitalisation

1. Name of the person interviewed or source of communication, type of communication, interviewer or recipient of communication, date of interview/communication.

Footnote example

First entry:

4. Jasper Jones, in conversation with author, September 15, 2011.

Second and subsequent entries:

17. Jones, conversation.


First entry:

12. Charlotte Smith, email correspondence, July 23, 2010.

Second and subsequent entries:

13. Smith, email.

Format for bibliography

Elements, punctuation & capitalisation

Personal communication is not usually referred to in the bibliography, however can be included if they are critical to your argument or are cited frequently. Check with your lecturer if you are unsure.

Style notes for this reference type

  • See Manual 14.214.
  • References to conversation, letters, email or text messages are usually run in to the text (i.e 'In a conversation with the author on September 15, 2011, Jasper Jones stated that...') or given in a footnote.
  • It is usually sufficient to simply refer to a conversation or message, but you may include the medium of communication if relevant (i.e. Facebook message; email).
  • Personal communication is not usually referred to the bibliography as it is unpublished (see Manual 14.214).  Occasionally interviews do appear in bibliographies (see Manual 14.211).
  • Email addresses should not be published unless necessary for the argument and express permission is granted by the owner.
  • It is recommended you obtain the permission of the person who is communicating the information.
  • If there is any additional contextual information that is significant to this communication, please include it in the citation.

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