How to Reference a Conversation in APA Format

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You must clearly indicate the source for information you include in your research paper to avoid plagiarism, which can result in loss of credit for the assignment or even expulsion from school. Even if your information comes from a personal conversation, interview or email, you must cite it in the proper APA format.

In-Text Citation

According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition), the citation for a personal conversation includes details about the source, the type of communication and the date it occurred. Unlike references to other kinds of sources, the source's first initial appears in the citation as well. For example:

(I. Smith, personal conversation, March 3, 2013)

This type of format applies not only to personal conversations, but also to interviews, memos, emails and phone conversations.


The entries on the References page at the end of your paper give bibliographical information about the sources you cite so readers can find those sources if they so desire. Unlike books, periodicals and Web pages, personal conversations, interviews, letters and the like do not contain information a reader typically can go find, so these sources do not appear on the References page. Instead, the in-text citation contains all the necessary details about the source.


  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition); American Psychological Association

About the Author

Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.

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