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APA Citation & Formatting : Personal Communication

Attention Students!

This guide is a starting point only. For full details on correctly citing resources and creating references, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. (2020).

It is important to remember that Library staff do not teach APA, and will not evaluate or correct work. If you need help with APA Style, contact your instructor, or contact the Student Success Hub to request a meeting with a peer tutor or the Writing Clinic.

How Do I Cite Personal Communications?

According to APA Style, personal communications include emails, text messages, online chats or direct messages, personal interviews, telephone conversations, live speeches, unrecorded classroom lectures, memos, letters, messages from non-archived discussion groups or online bulletin boards, and other similar items (8.9).

The process for citing personal communication is different from the process for citing other kinds of sources. Because readers cannot retrieve the information in personal communications, personal communications are not included in the reference list; they are cited in the text only. Give the initial(s) and surname of the communicator, and provide as exact a date as possible, using the following formats:

Parenthetical Citation (8.9)
Give the first initial and last name of the person with whom you communicated, followed by “personal communication”, and the date, all enclosed in brackets, e.g.: (K. Smith, personal communication, February 24, 2020)

Narrative Citation (8.9)
Give the first initial and last name of the person with whom you communicated. Following the name, include  “personal communication”, and the date in brackets, e.g.: K. Smith (personal communication, February 24, 2020)

Remember! The personal communication citation format is only used if the reader cannot retrieve the source being cited.

Please Note!

This guide is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. (2020). Library staff have reviewed the information in this guide, and to the best of our knowledge, it is accurate. However, mistakes do occur. Students bear sole responsibility for ensuring that their citations are correct, and that their assignments meet the criteria laid out by their instructor. Students are encouraged to contact Peer Tutoring or the Writing Clinic for assistance.