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How to Use MLA/APA for an Interview


Most citations for print and electronic media follow familiar formats. Often, limited differences exist between the Modern Language Association (MLA) and American Psychological Association (APA) styles guides. However, when you need to cite personal interviews, those familiar rules no longer apply, and each style guide instructs writers to follow its distinct guidelines. You do not even have to list interviews in APA reference lists; you must merely note them in the primary text. Conversely, MLA style requires both in-text and a "Works Cited" page citations for an interview. While the rules for citing interviews may seem atypical, they only require you to complete a few steps.

MLA: In-Text Citation

According to the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook, you should only cite sources conversationally when you create an in-text citation for an interview. Use the last name of the interviewee to introduce the sourced content. In the sentence, mention that the sourced medium is an interview. Otherwise, you do not need to include any other identifying information in parentheses. For example: During the interview, Nixon declared his innocence seven times.

MLA: Interviews on Works Cited Pages

To begin citing an interview on an MLA “Works Cited” page, enter the interviewee’s name. Invert the name by placing the last name first, followed by a comma. Then, enter the full first name. Insert a period, and leave a space. Type the phrase “Personal interview.” Add the date of the interview in day-month-year format, using the abbreviation for the month. Enter a period immediately after the year to conclude the citation. For example: Nixon, Richard. Personal interview. 1 Apr. 1977.

APA: Parenthetical In-Text Citation

According to the sixth edition of the APA manual, there are two ways to cite interview sources in your primary text. The first option is to create a parenthetical citation that follows the sourced content. Leave a space after the last letter of the sourced content. Insert an open parenthesis. Enter the interviewee’s first initial, followed by a period and a space. Type the entire last name, and add a comma immediately after it. Leave a space, then type the phrase “personal communication” to indicate how you acquired the information. Insert a comma, and leave a space. Add the date of the interview in month-day-year format. Spell-out the month, and place a comma immediately after the day. Insert a close parenthesis to end the citation. The closing punctuation for the sentence that contains the sourced content should follow the parenthetical citation. For example: The former president continues to declare his innocence (R. Nixon, personal communication, April 1, 1977).

APA: An Alternative In-Text Citation

Alternatively, in APA style, you can introduce the subject of the interview conversationally with the sourced information then cite the rest of the identifying information parenthetically. For example: Nixon continues to declare his innocence (personal communication, April 1, 1977).

About the Author

Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.

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