How to Cite a Personal Telephone Interview in MLA Format
Personal interviews can provide researchers with information straight from the original source, and conducting such interviews by phone opens up a wider range of participants to the writer. Although they are most often associated with qualitative research completed in the social sciences, interviews are also valuable to humanities researchers, as they garner narratives and perspectives that give a broad cultural context. Researchers can use Modern Language Association, or MLA, format to properly document personal telephone interviews in their writing.
A personal interview is one which you, as the researcher, conduct yourself. The actual format of the interview, whether structured or open, is not germane to MLA citation, but it may matter to your teachers or publishers. If you are using an interview conducted by someone else, you would follow the guidelines for a published interview instead.
An MLA bibliography, known as a Works Cited page, must include the full name of the person interviewed, the designation (Telephone interview), and the date of the interview, in that order and separated by periods. As per the 7th edition of the MLA Handbook, place the interviewee's surname first, followed by a comma, then the first name. The date should be in day-month-year order, with the month abbreviated with a period at the end if it is over four letters long. As with all MLA Works Cited entries, the interview should be in alphabetical order by last name and use a hanging indent, with the second line indented a half-inch.
Within the paper itself, when you cite the interview, give the interviewee's last name. It is preferable to make this reference in the text, such as in a signal phrase, in order to give attribution to the information. When you provide in-text attribution for a personal telephone interview, you do not need to provide parenthetical citation, because there is no page or line number associated with a personal interview research source.
Jennifer Spirko has been writing professionally for more than 20 years, starting at "The Knoxville Journal." She has written for "MetroPulse," "Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times" and "Some" monthly. She has taught writing at North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. Spirko holds a Master of Arts from the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-on-Avon, England.