APA Format for Quoting an Interview

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Proper formatting of borrowed information in writing is necessary in order to avoid plagiarism, which can have serious consequences including loss of credit on the assignment, suspension or expulsion from school and denial of a diploma. When including information from an interview in a research paper, follow the guidelines closely to avoid such repercussions.


According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (Sixth Edition), you must cite information incorporated into your paper that is not common knowledge, as well as any words you take verbatim from a source, whether that source is published, electronic or personal communication such as a letter, email, text or voice message or interview. Material you quote from the source must be worded exactly as the source stated the concept in the interview.

In-Text Citation

Direct quotations typically must include a page or paragraph number, but since interviews are not printed sources, leave out any such number. Since your reader cannot go look up your interview, such sources are not listed on the References page at the end of the paper. Instead, indicate the name of the person you interviewed, illustrate the quotation came from an interview and give the date. Use the person's first initial and last name, the term "personal communication" (without the quotation marks) and the month, day and date the interview occurred.

Short Quotations

APA defines a short quotation as one that runs fewer than 40 words. Use sets of double quotation marks around short quotations from the interview. The citation may appear at the start of the sentence in a signal phrase such as "According to J. Smith" at the end of the sentence inside parentheses or immediately after the quotation in the middle of a sentence enclosed in parentheses. Place the end quotation marks before the citation, and put the period after a citation that appears at the end of a sentence.

Long Quotations

Quotations 40 words or longer appear in block format. Indent the entire quotation one-half inch from the left margin, keeping the regular right margin for the quotation. Leave off the quotation marks since the indent tells the reader the material is quoted. Place the period before the parentheses if you put a citation at the end. Alternatively, you may introduce the quotation in the context before the block section. You need either the signal phrase or a parenthetical citation, not both.