10 Essential Tips for Mastering APA Personal Communication Citation

Mastering APA Personal Communication Citation

In the realm of scholarly writing, acknowledging the sources used to substantiate your ideas is crucial. This not only bolsters the credibility of your work but also helps avoid plagiarism. Among various citation types, personal communications like interviews, emails, messages, or phone calls can serve as critical evidence in academic works. This guide will shed light on how to accurately cite these sources in adherence to the APA (American Psychological Association) style guidelines.

The Significance of Citing Personal Communications

Quoting personal communications is significant as they offer primary, non-recorded information that may be indispensable to the research at hand. As these communications don’t represent retrievable data, they should be cited within the text and not incorporated in the reference list. Proper citation not only gives due credit but ensures transparency and verifiability in your research.

Constituents of Personal Communication Citation

When referencing personal communications, you must encompass:

  • The communicator’s name
  • The phrase “personal communication”
  • The exact date of the communication

These constituents are necessary to inform readers about the source and timing of the information that is not publicly accessible.

Citing Personal Communications In-Text

In APA style, personal communications are only cited within the text. An ideal in-text citation would be formatted as follows:

(J. Doe, personal communication, January 1, 2023)

This concise citation enables readers to easily comprehend the information source without overcrowding the references section with unverifiable sources.

APA Personal Communication Citation

Examples of In-Text Citations for Personal Communications

To understand better how to cite different types of personal communications, let’s examine some hypothetical examples:

  • An email from John Smith on July 4, 2023:
    “As per our prior discussion (J. Smith, personal communication, July 4, 2023)…”

  • An interview with Jane Doe conducted on March 15, 2023:
    “Jane Doe emphasized the significance of renewable energy (personal communication, March 15, 2023)…”

Ensure that each time information from a personal communication is used within your text, you cite it appropriately.

Particular Considerations for Personal Communication Citations

While referencing personal communications seems straightforward, certain subtleties need attention:

  • If you paraphrase the personal communication, you are still required to credit the source.
  • Always ask permission from the person you are communicating with if you intend to use their information for academic purposes.
  • Make sure that the information received from personal communication is not available through public sources before deciding to label it as such.

Preventing Common Errors in Personal Communication Citations

Common mistakes to avoid when citing personal communications include:

  • Omitting to include the full date (month, day, and year) of the communication.
  • Improperly formatting the in-text citation by adding page numbers or including it in the reference list.
  • Misquoting or modifying the meaning of the original communication during paraphrasing.

By paying meticulous attention to detail, you can avoid these common missteps.

Incorporating Personal Communications into Your Scholarly Writing

Incorporating personal communications into your writing strategically involves more than just accurate citation. Consider the relevance and impact of the personal communication to your topic. Use it to bolster your argument where it adds substantial value and enhances your analysis or discussion. You can find more about this in key steps to master apa in text citation without author.


To wrap up, effectively citing personal communications in APA style is an essential skill for academic writers. By adhering to the format and guidelines outlined above, you can seamlessly integrate personal communications into your research and uphold the highest standards of academic integrity. Remember, every citation is a stepping stone towards creating a reliable and persuasive scholarly work.

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