If you reference or paraphrase an idea from a personal interview or conversation, all scholarly publishing standards require you to give credit to your source. While Modern Language Association style requires a citation on the "Works Cited" page (MLA's version of a bibliography), American Psychological Association and The Chicago Manual of Style formats only require that the information is referenced in the text itself or in the notes.
Which Citation System?
Use the style that your instructor requires. Different citation systems are established as standards for different disciplines, and each system focuses on the needs of the disciplines it represents. The MLA style for citations is used mainly in literature and the humanities and focuses on the author's name. The APA style is used mainly in the social sciences and focuses on the date of publication. Finally, the Chicago style is used in history and other disciplines and is structured so that essays referencing many sources aren't littered with disruptive parenthetical citations.
In the MLA style, personal interviews can be included on the Works Cited page or Bibliography using the name of the interviewee and the date of the interview. For example:
Smith, Jane. Personal Interview. 14 April 2013.
If you do not include the interviewee's name in the text itself, include it in the citation.
In the APA style, a personal interview isn't included in your Reference List or Bibliography but is instead noted in the text only. For example:
Jane Smith claimed that gorillas can be dangerous (personal communication, April 14, 2013).
If you do not include the interviewee's name in the text itself, include it in the parenthetical citation.
In the Chicago style, all personal communications should be referenced either in the text or in notes (footnotes or endnotes) but not in the bibliography. Notation should follow this format:
- Jane Smith (zookeeper) in discussion with the author, April 2013.