How to Cite Personal Sources in the APA Format


American Psychological Association, or APA, citation style mandates that your reference list only include sources that can be recovered or retrieved. If you are citing sources from your own personal experience, such as emails, interviews or class lectures that cannot be reproduced, APA style treats these as "personal communications" to be noted as in-text citations only.

Personal Communication in Text

  • When citing a personal communication in the body of your paper, use an in-text citation. This is a parenthetical that includes the author of the communication, the type of communication and the date it was communicated. For instance:

    The history of the class of '79 includes scandals outside of normal historical records (J. Katz, personal communication, March 3, 2002).

In-Text Citations and Sentence Information

  • If you include the author name or date of a personal communication in a sentence, it does not need to be included in the in-text citation. For example:

    Professor Mark DiGiorni noted that the class would start late every second Monday (personal communication, June 2, 1998).

    A May 27 email stated that students were required to meet at the gym (Liwosz, personal communication, 2005).


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