Skip to Main Content

APA 7th Referencing Style Guide

Personal communications

Personal communications include:

  • telephone conversations
  • interviews or notes that are not recoverable
  • emails
  • private letters
  • non-archived discussion groups

Use in-text citations to cite Personal communications. 

No entry in the reference list is needed as personal communications are unable to be retrieved.

In-text citation

I. Tokugawa (personal communication, January 25, 2019) suggested in an email that.....


Given all the political factors...(I. Tokugawa, personal communication, January 25, 2019).

  • Include initials and an exact date.

Indigenous oral traditions

How you cite Traditional Knowledge or Oral Traditions of Indigenous People depends on whether or not the information has been recorded. If it has been recorded, for instance in a video recording or published interview, use the appropriate referencing format for the platform (e.g., YouTube video, book, etc.).

If you spoke with an Indigenous person directly to learn information (but they were not a research participant), use this variation of the personal communication citation.

No entry in the reference list is needed as personal communications are unable to be retrieved.

In-text citation

I spoke to weaving expert Wikitoria Walker (Ngāti Awa, lives in Whakatane, New Zealand, personal communication, January 25, 2019) about traditional dyeing methods for flax in her area...

  • Provide the person's full name and the specific Indigenous group to which they belong, as well as their location or other relevant details
  • Provide a date or range of dates indicating when you consulted with the person
  • Make sure the person agrees to have their name included in your work and confirms the accuracy and appropriateness of the information you present
  • If you are an Indigenous person and are sharing your own experiences or those of your people (previously unrecorded), describe yourself in the text (e.g., which iwi, tribe, nation or people you belong to) to contextualise the origin of the information

Artificial intelligence software

Referencing the information retrieved from an artificial intelligence software, such as ChatGPT, as a personal communication.

No entry in the reference list is needed as these chats are unable to be retrieved.

In-text citation

OpenAI (personal communication, January 25, 2023) generated the following response when... 

...that indicates a limitation of the software (OpenAI, personal communication, January 25, 2023). 

  • Include the owner of the software, the wording "personal communication", and the exact date.