Citing personal communications: APA (7th ed.) citation guide


This guide is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. It provides selected citation examples for common types of sources. For more detailed information consult directly a print copy of the style manual.

Check out APA's Guide to what's new for APA 7.

Keep track of your document references/citations and format your reference lists easily with Citation management software.


Consult SFU's customised APA citation guides with examples for business sourcesCanadian government documents and legal citation.

Personal communications, interviews, class notes, and more

See APA Style Personal Communications or consult the guide directly for more information on citing personal communications (Section 8.9, pp. 260).

Reference list example:

Not Usually Applicable

Reference in text example:

In his interview M. S. Bloomberg (personal communication, April 22, 2007) talks about...

In a lecture on September 23, 2007 to a PSYC 103 class, Professor Brown said...


  • Personal communications includes items that are unpublished or unrecoverable (live speeches, unrecorded classroom lectures, memos, emails, text messages, online chats, direct messages, letters, e-mails, interviews, telephone conversations, etc.)
  • Unpublished, unrecoverable personal communications are not included in the reference list because they do not provide recoverable data. Cite in text only. 
  • Use lower-case for "personal communication".
  • Cite information from your own class notes as a personal communication and refer to it only in the body of your paper.
  • Published interviews are included in the reference list. If the published interview has a title, include it after the year. Give further description in [brackets] if necessary. Provide the original source where the interview was published (e.g. a print journal article with one author, a website, etc.) and choose the format accordingly. If the published interview lacks a title, give a description of the interview in [brackets].
  • Communications in an archive are cited as archival material (See Archival Documents and Collections for examples of archival material).

Twitter, Facebook, online forums (Reddit), etc.

For citing posts on these types of social media see Citing websites + online media in our guide or the  APA Style online media reference examples or consult the guide directly (Section 10.15, Social Media, pp. 348-349).

Blog posts

For citing blog posts see  Citing articles in our guide or consult the guide directly (Section 10.1, Periodicals, p. 320).

Traditional Knowledge or Oral Traditions of Indigenous Peoples

SFU Library recognizes a responsibility to pursue a path that elevates the knowledge shared by Indigenous Elders or Knowledge Keepers, and encourages all researchers who learn from and engage with Indigenous Elders or Knowledge Keepers to include these information sources in the reference list. To that end, SFU Library follows the recommendations initiated by NorQuest College in the spirit of of wahkôhtowin and reconciliation.

Consult SFU Library's Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers for template and citation examples. These templates are for community-based research when citing an Elder and/or Knowledge Keeper as an information source NOT research participant.

See APA's Citing traditional knowledge or oral traditions if following their guidelines.