How to Write an Interview in APA Format

As a social scientist, interviews can transform your writing and research projects from merely current to cutting edge. The American Psychological Association citation format is the most commonly accepted writing style guide for the social sciences and involves concise in-text citations accompanied by full reference list at your paper's conclusion. Knowing how to introduce and to cite these personal or published exchanges can help you ensure you are both properly crediting your sources and reinforcing the validity of your claims.

Interview Introduction

Including an interview in your writing begins with stating the reasons for its inclusion. You can outline, for example, why you chose certain interviewees and how your questions relate to the overall research problem you are attempting to answer in your writing. It is important to be precise in your recounting of an interview, including such information as the number of questions asked, the duration of your interview, whether you communicated by phone, email or other method, and how your interviewee’s responses impacted your own analysis.

Quoting Interview Excerpts

You can both paraphrase and extract direct quotations from your interviews to support your written arguments. Direct citations under 40 words in length can be enclosed in a paragraph with quotation marks. However, the APA manual mandates that any quotes over 40 words in length must be formatted as a block quote. These extended quotes must commence on a new line, omit quotation marks and be set apart from the paragraph with a half-inch indent.

Citing Published Interviews

Referencing an interview already transcribed in a magazine or journal or one published online as an audio file requires you to cite it as you would an article from one of those sources. For example, citing a interview in a print magazine would require an in-text citation of the author’s name, followed by the date of publication. The corresponding reference list inclusion would read as follows: Author’s Last Name, First Name. (Year, Month Day Published). Interview title. Magazine title (in italics), page number(s). When citing an interview audio file, the reference page listing would read as follows: Author’s Last Name, First Name (Year, Month Day Published), Interview title (in italics) [audio file type]. Retrieved from

Citing Self-Conducted or Unpublished Interviews

Interviews you conduct yourself and others that remain unpublished are considered "not recoverable," meaning you cannot retrieve this data as you would any other published source. This means that, while you need to reference your interview with an in-text citation, you should not include it in your reference list. Your in-text citation for unpublished interviews should include the name of the person interviewed, the mode of communication -- such as personal, phone or email communication -- and the date that the interview was conducted.

About the Author

Teresa J. Siskin has been a researcher, writer and editor since 2009. She holds a doctorate in art history.

Photo Credits
  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images