Last updated 5/6/2020
Visual: Screen opens to a background image with a person typing on a laptop and a notebook and pencil, along with the Walden University Writing Center logo. The title Walden University Writing Center and tagline “Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears on the screen. The screen changes to show the series title “Nontraditional Sources” and the video title “Personal Communications.”
Audio: Guitar music
Visual: Slide changes to the title “Personal Communication” with the following text and the image of a female doctor and a male staff member looking at a clipboard.
You conduct an interview with your boss, Amy Kubista, on June 1, 2020.
Audio: In some cases, you might be asked to incorporate interviews you conduct into your coursework. These would be cases where your assignment might ask you to interview your boss or a coworker and use what you learned in your assignment. In these cases, you’ll be citing that person you talked to as a personal communication. Personal communications are sources that don’t have a record your reader could access, so they are treated differently. However, note that interviews you complete as part of data collection for a doctoral study, like a dissertation, are not considered personal communications, so what follows won’t apply if you’re in that situation.
To explore how you’d cite a personal communication source, let’s consider a sample scenario. Let’s say you are using an interview with your boss, Amy Kubista, in an assignment you’re writing. You talked to Amy on June 1, 2020, and so the questions are as follows: What would your citation look like? And what might your reference entry look like?
Visual: Slide changes to the title “Personal Communication” and the following text is added to the slide:
Audio: For a personal communication citations, what I would do is list Amy’s first initial and last name, add the phrasing “personal communication,” and then list the exact date I talked to Amy. I can do this as either a narrative or parenthetical citation, but in each case I would include these three elements: the person’s name, the phrase “personal communication,” and the exact date of our conversation.
The next question is about how I would format the reference entry for this type of source. For personal communications, you’re actually not going to list this source in your reference list; it’s one of the only times you won’t include a source you cite in the body of your paper in the reference list, and here’s why.
Personal communications are, by definition, not retrievable by your reader: Your reader can’t go somewhere to find the record of the communication. And the purpose of the reference list is to point the reader to the information they need to find the actual source, so in this case, there’s no reason to include a personal communication in the reference list because your reader would never be able to find it.
To summarize, cite a personal communication in the body of your paper as shown here, but don’t include it in your reference list.
Visual: The screen changes to an ending slide a background image with a person typing on a laptop and a notebook and pencil, along with the Walden University Writing Center logo. The email address email@example.com appears on the screen.