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Citation Help for APA, 6th Edition: Personal Communication (email, interviews, lectures, course materials, etc.)

Help with common issues and questions with APA 6th ed. Citation Style.


Emails, nonarchived discussion groups, letters, memos, telephone conversations, lectures, course materials handed out in class or provided via Blackboard, and personal interviews are considered personal communications in APA. This type of communication can be difficult to provide recoverable data; therefore, these types of communication are not included in the Reference list. Cite personal communications within the body of your paper only.

(J. A. Smith, personal communication, January 3, 2012) OR J. A. Smith (personal communication, January 3, 2012)

More examples:

During the class lecture on June 15, 2011, Dr. John Doe made reference to the variety of ways students study in the online environment.

During a recent class lecture, a variety of ways students study in the online environment was discussed (J. Doe, Class Lecture, June 15, 2011).

In an interview, Sally Shoefeld explained the treatment for an accident victim (personal communication, December 18, 2011).


Author: J. A. Smith,
Provide the first and middle initials as well as the last name of the author, followed by a comma.

Personal Communciation: personal communication,
The type of communication to alert the reader followed by a comma.

Date: January 3, 2011
The date the communication took place (or as close as possible). End with a period if it is the end of your sentence in your paper. 

Note: For more information about personal communciations, see page 179 in the APA Manual, 6th edition.