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Referencing Toolkit

APA : Personal Communications

Basic Format to Reference Personal Communications

  • Works that cannot be recovered by readers are cited in the text as personal communications.
  • Personal Communications include "emails, text messages, online chats or direct messages, personal interviews, telephone conversations, live speeches, unrecorded classroom lectures, memos, letters, messages from nonarchived discussion groups or online bulletin boards, and so on" (APA, Publication Manual, 2020, p. 260). As these sources do not provide recoverable data, Personal Communications are not included in the Reference List.
  • Cite Personal Communications in-text only.
  • In your in-text citation of a Personal Communication give the initials as well as the surname of the communicator, and provide as exact a date as possible.
  • Use your judgment in citing Personal Communications. Remember that what you cite should have scholarly relevance.
  • Some forms of Personal Communications are recoverable, and these should be referenced as Archival Materials, see examples in the 'Archival Materials' section below.

Example: An email (J. W. Ayers, personal communication, July 2, 2018) confirming that results are accurate...

An email (J. W. Ayers, personal communication, July 2, 2018) confirming that results are accurate ...

Referencing personal communication: Examples

Referencing Personal Communication: Examples

Printable examples

Material Type

In-text examples

Reference list examples

Email

An email (J. W. Ayers, personal communication, July 2, 2018) confirming that results are accurate ...

[You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.]

Interview

During an interview conducted on October 11, 2017, Professor Peter Dawkins stated that …

OR

The Vice Chancellor's statement was confirmed during an interview (P. Dawkins, personal communication, October 11, 2017).

[You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.]

[This example is about referencing information from an interview that you have conducted. If you use published interviews conducted by other people cite them as a 'Sound Recording' or a 'Video Recording'. See the 'Multi-Media Materials' page in this guide for examples. See the 'Archival Materials' section below for examples of citing interviews held in an Archive or Repository.]

Letter

In a letter dated April 1, 2018, Ben Cork stated that ...

OR

Ben Cork expressed sincere regret in his letter (personal communication, April 1, 2018) ...

[You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.]

Telephone call

During a phone interview conducted on August 14, 2018, Professor Sally Richards stated that ...

OR

The Vice Chancellor's statement was confirmed during a phone interview (S. Richards, personal communication, August 14, 2018).

[You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.]

APA : Archival Materials

Basic Format to Reference Archival Materials

The basics of a reference list entry for an archival document:

  • Author or authors. The surname is followed by first initials.
  • Year and document date (in round brackets).
  • Title of material (in italics).
  • Description of material [in square brackets].
  • Archival number, box and file numbers.
  • Name of archive or repository.
  • Location.
  • The first line of each citation is left adjusted. Every subsequent line is indented 5-7 spaces.

Example: Black, A. J. (1953, May). Deaths of the Barker Gang. [Letter to Jane Jones]. Black Family Papers (CA 9724, Box 5, File 3A. DeVry University Archives, Portland, OR.

Black, A. J. (1953, May). Deaths of the Barker Gang. [Letter to Jane Jones]. Black Family Papers (CA 9724, Box 5, File 3A. DeVry University Archives, Portland, OR.

 

Please note:

  • Archival sources include letters, unpublished manuscripts, limited circulation brochures and pamphlets, in-house institutional and corporate documents, clippings, photographs and any other documents that are in the personal possession of an author, form part of an institutional collection, or are stored in an archive or repository.
  • In your reference list entry for an archival source, include as much information as is needed to help locate the archival material with reasonable ease within the Archive or Repository. If it is an online document from an Archive or Repository add the web address to the reference list entry, i.e. Retrieved from http://...

Referencing archival materials: Examples

Referencing Archival Materials: Examples

Printable examples

Material Type

In-text examples

Reference list examples

Letter from a government or institutional Archive or Repository

(Frank, 1935)

OR

As Frank (1935) says ...

Frank, L. K. (1935, February 4). [Letter to Robert M. Ogden]. Rockefeller Archive Centre (GEB series 1.3, Box 371, Folder 3877), Tarrytown, NY, United States.

Letter from an accessible private collection

(Zacharius, 1953)

Zacharius, G. P. (1953, August 15). [Letter to William Rickel (W. Rickel, Trans.)]. Copy in possession of Hendrika Vande Kemp.

[Correspondence from other private collections should be listed only with the permission of the collector.]

Collection of letters from an Archive or Repository

(Allport, G. W., 1930-1967, Allport to E. G. Wilstein, March 20, 1939)

OR

 

(Allport, G. W., 1930-1967, E. G. Wilstein to Allport, December 26, 1937)

Allport, G. W. (1930-1967). Correspondence. Gordon W. Allport Papers (HUG 4118.10). Harvard University Archives, Cambridge, MA, United States.

Unpublished papers, notes or lectures from an Archive, Repository or personal collection

(Berliner, 1959) ...

OR

As discussed in Berliner (1959) ...

Berliner, A. (1959). Notes for a lecture on reminiscences of Wundt and Leipzig. Anna Berliner Memoirs (Box M50). Archives of the History of American Psychology, University of Akron, Akron, OH, United States.

Archival source for which the author or date is known but not stated on the document

(Allport, 1937)

[Allport, A.?]. [ca. 1937]. Marion Taylor today - by the biographer. Unpublished manuscript, Marion Taylor Papers. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Cambridge, MA, United States.

[Use square brackets [ ] to indicate information that does not appear on the document. Use a question mark if there is uncertainty regarding names or dates, and use circa abbreviated to ca. to indicate estimated dates.]

Archival Materials with a corporate author

(Subcommittee on Mental Hygiene Personnel in School Programs, 1949)

Subcommittee on Mental Hygiene Personnel in School Programs. (1949, November 5-6). Meeting of Subcommittee on Mental Hygiene Personnel in School Programs. David Shakow Papers (M1360). Archives of the History of American Psychology, University of Akron, Akron, OH, United States.

Interview recorded and available in an Archive or Repository

(Smith, 1989)

 

Smith, M. B. (1989, August 12). Interview by C. A. Kiesler [Tape recording]. President's Oral History Project, American Psychological Association. APA Archives, Washington, DC, United States.

Transcription of a recorded interview, where the recording is not accessible

(Sparkman, 1973)

Sparkman, C. F. (1973). An oral history with Dr. Colley F. Sparkman/Interviewer: Orley B. Caudill. Mississippi Oral History Program (Vol. 289), University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, United States.

[Do not include the U.S. state name in the location if it is part of the university name.]

Newspaper article in an Archive, Repository or personal collection

("Psychoanalysis institute," 1948)

[Use a shortened title (or full title if it is short) enclosed in double quotation marks.]

Psychoanalysis institute to open in the new year. (1948, September 18). [Clipping from an unidentified Dayton, OH newspaper]. Copy in possession of the author.

[Use the first word of the title to place this reference in the alphabetical sequence of your reference list.]

Historical publication such as a brochure or pamphlet

(Sci-Art Publishers, 1935)

Sci-Art Publishers. (1935). Sci-Art Publications [Brochure]. Cambridge, MA: Author. C. J. Roback Papers (HUGFP 104.50, Box 2, Folder "Miscellaneous Psychology Materials"). Harvard University Archives, Cambridge, MA, United States.

Photographs held in an Archive, Repository or personal collection

([Photographs of Robert M. Yerkes], ca. 1917–1954)

[Photographs of Robert M. Yerkes]. (ca. 1917–1954). Robert Mearns Yerkes Papers (Box 137, Folder 2292), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, New Haven, CT, United States.