Skip to Main Content

APA guidelines (7th) ENG: Personal Communications

A detailed explanation of the latest edition of the APA guidelines, with lots of examples. This LibGuide is in English.

Personal Communications

Works that cannot be traced by readers are cited in the text as personal communications.

Personal communications include:

  • emails,
  • text messages, online chats or direct messages,
  • personal interviews s (i.e., not conducted in the context of research),
  • (telephone) conversations,
  • live speeches or lessens,
  • nonarchived social media livestreams (e.g., Instagram Live, Twitter Spaces) or content from private accounts,
  • memos, letters or internship documents, and so on.


Personal communication is cited only in the text, because the source of the information is cannot be traced by the reader.

Provide initials and surname (in that order) of the person you are citing, and give the exact date (Month Day, Year).

Narrative citation: According to Mr Jan Janssen (personal communication, July 17, 2020), this is not the case.
Parenthetical citation: During the lecture (J. Janssen, personal communication, July 17, 2020), it was told that this is not the case.


  • Document behind login

If a document is available online but only accessible after logging in (e.g. on an intranet), the information is only available to a limited number of people. First consider whether the content of the document is confidential, if so, refer to it as a personal communication.

If it is general information, and the reader or reviewer has access to the information behind the login, it makes sense to include an entry with URL in the reference list. If this is not the case, choose to refer to it as a personal communication.


Citing own research results

The results of one's own research, as well as the complete research report, are considered 'own work' and therefore it is not necessary to mention the source; not in the text and not in the reference list.


A student conducts research within an organisation into improving the quality of care. For this purpose, the student interviews a number of patients, a number of employees and a number of experts.

In the description of the research, these persons are named (anonymously), including the period and circumstances in which the research took place. If these persons are quoted or paraphrased (individually or as a group) there is therefore no need for a separate reference in the text.


In text: Of the 50 patients surveyed, only two said they felt the care provided was insufficient.


Avoid mentioning names, positions or other characteristics that enable to recognise participants in the study.


Participant B said she had hesitated for a long time before seeking help.


Jump to...