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APA Style Guide: Personal Communications

This guide is designed to help students learn about APA style and cite sources for their research.

Quick Tips

Personal communications do not provide recoverable data, so they are not included in a list of references, but are cited in the text of the essay only. Some personal correspondence (such as an archived letter) is recoverable and should be included in a list of references as archival material.

If you are citing an informal lecture (for example, a lecture provided as part of a course you are taking), you should cite it within the text of your essay as you would a personal communication.  You do not need to include it in the references.

Personal Communications

Personal communication can include interviews, private letters, memos, electronic communications (e-mail), and telephone communications. Information required for citing personal communications includes:

  • The name of the person
  • The date (year, month and day if possible) of the communication
  • The location and city (for a lecture)

Examples of In-Text Citations:

In her e-mail regarding the initiation of the project, T. S. Carson (personal communication, May 31, 2011) indicated that ...

The project required an initial investment of approximately two million dollars (T. S. Carson, personal communication, May 31, 2011).

In her lecture on the future of nursing delivered at Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario on May 14, 2011, Theresa S. Carson, the Senior Advisor for Nursing at the Robert Wood Foundation, stated that ...

Nurses need to embrace new technology in order to be effective health care providers in the futrue (T. S. Carson, Lecture on the future of nursing, Cambrian College, Sudbury, Ontario, May 14, 2011).

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