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APA 7th Edition Guide

This guide provides an overview of the APA citation style and provides students with basic information to begin learning and applying this style in their academic writing.

Special Situations

What is a "personal communication" and how is one cited in an APA-style paper?

Whenever a resource is not published and cannot be retrieved (in other words, does not have information needed for the source element) it is treated as a "personal communication."  Examples of "personal communications" include:

  • Personal interviews
  • Emails
  • Text messages
  • Online chats or direct messages
  • Telephone conversations
  • Live speeches
  • Memos
  • Letters

Because the reader cannot retrieve the resource, an entry for the resource is not included in the References list. However, the resources is cited in the text of the paper following this format:

  • Narrative citation:  A. B. Author (personal communication, September 30, 2020) 
  • Parenthentical Citation:  (A. B. Author, personal communication, September 30, 2020).

Note: The date provided in the in-text citation is the date that the communication took place.

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