Interviewing experts can provide writers with good information they may otherwise have difficulty finding for research papers. Just as with any source, to prevent plagiarism, you must acknowledge what information you received from the interview, and in proper documentation format. According to the Modern Language Association's "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition)," both personal and published interviews should acknowledge the person interviewed and give any other pertinent information in the Works Cited entry.
Give the name of the person you interviewed in the in-text citation, either in a signal phrase or within parentheses:
Karen Stark explained that the concept changed based on parent surveys. Parents believed ninth-graders too young to be schooled with high school seniors (Stark).
Start the Works Cited entry with the interviewee's name, last name first with a comma between, and ending with a period: Stark, Karen.
Explain the kind of source by typing "Personal interview" or "Telephone interview" (without the quotation marks) followed by a period.
Give the date you conducted the interview, following day, month and year format with no punctuation between: 4 April 2015. End the entry with a period.
Just as you would for an interview you conducted yourself, for a published interview, give the name of the person interviewed within the text:
Stan Laurel believes the system works more effectively. Ninth-grade students typically begin the year at age 14 or 15 (Laurel).
Begin the Works Cited entry for published interviews with the name of the person interviewed in reverse order with a comma between, and a period after the name: Laurel, Stan.
Type the title of the episode or chapter if the interview makes up part of a book, television program, Web page or series. Capitalize the first word and all other important words, and end the title with a period. For an Internet site with no official title, write "Interview" or "Interviewed by" (without quotation marks) with the interviewer's name in place of the page title.
List the title of the overall or stand-alone publication in italics, capitalizing important words. Follow the appropriate model for the medium to complete the bibliographical information. For a book, for instance, add the city, publisher and date. Include "Print" (without the quotation marks) with a period at the end for printed sources. An interview without a title in a journal looks like this example:
Laurel, Stan. Interview. Journal of Middle School Education 33.2 (2005): 111-115. Print.
Finish the entry with an indication of the medium. Print sources include "Print," and Internet sources use the term "Web," a period and the date in day, month and year order ending, with a period. Such an entry looks like this one:
Laurel, Stan. Interview. Journal of Middle School Education 33.2 (2005): 111-115. Web. 12 Feb. 2011.
Tips & Warnings
- If you leave out words from a quote, insert ellipses made up of three periods with spaces between them (. . .). If your omission creates full sentences or crosses end punctuation, use four periods (. . . .). Indicate other changes in the text such as capitalization or words added for explanation in square brackets.
- When your direct quote runs over four typed lines of your paper, leave off the quotation marks and indent the left margin one-half inch. Place any parenthetical citation after the period in a long quote.
- The "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition)" indicates writers should avoid large blocks of borrowed information, instead incorporating research fluidly into their own text. Therefore, avoid a Q-and-A structure unless your instructor specifically requests such formatting. If you must use Q-and-A format, give the interviewee's name in the preceding text.
- To avoid plagiarism, also cite paraphrased information from an interview, using a signal phrase or citation in parentheses for each sentence rephrased so readers can easily tell what ideas come from the interview.
- Use footnotes or end notes sparingly, and only for extra information that does not fit well within your text, such as an explanation of why you cited a secondary source rather than the original, not for bibliographical information. MLA style uses in-text citations instead.
- Hunter College: Guides to Research and Writing From Sources: Using the Interview as a Source
- MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition); Modern Language Association
- Purdue University: MLA Works Cited: Other Common Sources
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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