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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.

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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. Personal communications include emails, text messages, live speeches, online chats or direct messages, personal interviews, telephone conversations, unrecorded classroom lectures, etc. 

If you are citing an unrecorded 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 (emails), 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 email 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 future (T. S. Carson, personal communication, May 14, 2011).

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