menu

How to Cite an Interview in APA Style


American Psychological Association or APA style is used most commonly in the social sciences. The rules are set out in the "APA Style Manual," and the latest version at the time of publication is the sixth edition. Using APA allows readers to find the sources used in a paper; it makes the sources recoverable. In some cases -- say, with personal or phone interviews you conduct -- the source is not recoverable, but APA accounts for this in various ways.

Referencing Interviews

Personal or phone interviews are not recoverable information, so a reference for an interview is not entered on the references page. If you encounter interview material in another source -- for example, when a writer interviews the president in a news article -- and you want to use the interview material, you must create a reference for the recoverable source where you found the interview. For instance, if you found the interview in an article, you reference the article; if you found the interview in a podcast, you reference the podcast.

In-text Citation From Recoverable Sources

For interviews found in recoverable sources, you use an in-text citation related to the source in which you found the interview. If you found the interview in an article, you quote the interview material, and the in-text citation is done for the article. If you found the interview in a podcast, make your in-text citation according to the podcast information.

In-text Citation From Nonrecoverable Sources

When you conduct a personal or phone interview, which is not recoverable, and you quote from it, the in-text citation is a bit different and can be done several ways. You can use an author tag and parenthetical notation: John Smith (personal communication, June 30, 2012) stated, “The Earth circles around the sun.” Another in-text method is to have a parenthetical notation at the end of the quote: “The Earth circles around the sun” (J. Smith personal communication, June 30, 2012). If you conducted a phone interview, instead of using “personal” in the in-text citations, write “phone.”

Leaving Material Out

You may want to leave some material out when you quote. You use ellipses to do this. For example, the original interview material may state, “The Earth circles around the sun and has an atmosphere mostly composed of nitrogen.” If you wanted to cut out the information about the Earth circling around the sun, you can use an ellipses: “The Earth … has an atmosphere composed mostly of nitrogen.” When you cut material but retain full sentences, four dots are used -- one period and ellipses. For example, the original quote states, “The car flew through the red light. Luckily, there was not an accident. The police were in hot pursuit.” To cut the second sentence, write, “The car flew through the red light. ...The police were in hot pursuit.”

Paraphrasing

Paraphrases of interview material, whether recoverable or not, must have in-text citation to differentiate your ideas from the source’s ideas. If you do not indicate what ideas are from sources through in-text citation, you make the material appear to be your own. This constitutes plagiarism.

Longer Quotes

When quotes are more than 40 words, they should be presented as block quotes. They begin on a new line and are indented a half inch. Since the quoted material is set apart from the rest of the text through indentation, you do not use quotation marks around the quoted material.

About the Author

This article was written by the Pen & the Pad team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about Pen & the Pad, contact us

Photo Credits
  • Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images