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The APA Reference Format for Interviews


Created by the American Psychological Association, APA style is, at its core, a guide for scientific writing. While the style manual, which aims to help writers create clear and concise papers and texts, devotes many pages to the citation of written words, APA also provides authors with guidelines for citing the spoken word. This includes interviews that you conduct personally, as well as printed accounts.

Necessary Information

According to the sixth edition (second printing) of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, emails and interviews both fall into the category of "personal communication." To cite such communications in APA style, you must state the name of the person with whom you communicated, as well as the date the conversation or email exchange occurred.

In-Text Citations

When you have the interviewee's name and the date of the interview, it is simple to craft an appropriate in-text citation. When information from the personal communication is referenced in the body of your document, simply include a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence.

If the source is not named in the preceding sentence, you must identify him (last name, followed by a comma and then the first name) immediately in the citation. After the person's name, include a comma, the phrase "personal communication" and another comma. Complete the citation by listing the exact date the conversation or exchange took place.

Optionally, if the person in question is referenced by name in the preceding sentence, you do not need to identify him in the citation. In this case, you simply need to place the phrase "personal communication" and the date, separated by a comma, in parentheses.

Under these rules, a basic in-text citation would read as follows:

Mike Smith said he was the one standing on the roof that day (personal communication, April 7, 2010).

or

He said he was the one standing on the roof that day (Smith, Mike, personal communication, April 7, 2010).

Reference Page Citations

When it comes to personal communications, parenthetical citations are deemed sufficient in APA style. You should not include personal communications in your appended reference page.

Direct Quotations

Often, it is best to avoid lengthy direct quotations, as they can interrupt the flow of an essay. The same sentiment can typically be portrayed using fewer words.

If, however, you deem it necessary to quote someone at length, you may need to adjust your document's format. In APA style, quotations longer than 40 words should be offset in a block quote, indented one-half inch from each margin. Any parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark of the quote.

Interviews in Periodicals

An interview that you read in a periodical -- a magazine, journal or newspaper, for instance -- would not fall into the category of a personal communication. In that case, you will need to list the citation on your reference page as follows:

Author name (last name, initials). (Year of publication). Article title. Periodical title, volume number (issue number), page number.

In the citation, be sure to italicize the title of the periodical, as well as the volume number.

When citing such a source in the text, simply list, in parentheses, the author's last name, followed by a comma and the year of publication.

About the Author

First published in 2005, Kyle Whitney has covered news and sports in the Midwest, Washington, D.C., and Beijing. His articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines in Michigan and China. Whitney is currently a local government reporter at a daily paper.

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