Dissertation Referencing Interviews

HI Lijie,

An interview that you have conducted comes under the heading of personal communications. To reference something like this, please follow the instructions below which I've cut/pasted from our referencing pages:



Personal communications can take a number of forms: conversations, emails, letters, interviews and so on. Records of these are normally kept in a secure location by the researcher and, for reasons of privacy, are not normally available for consultation except under special circumstances (eg by thesis examiners). For this reason it is not normally necessary to refer to personal communications in your reference list.

In the text of your document you should specify the year and the date (day month) when the personal communication took place. Note the use of initials in front of the surname.

In text

M. Jones (1989, pers. comm., 6 May) believed that this was not relevant.

This was confirmed by email (R.J. Brown 2008, pers. comm., 3 July).

If you are having trouble finding a date for the source, or you aren’t sure how to reference a source with more than one author, please view our More Information page.

The basics of an in-text entry for personal communications:

  • Author (communicator).
  • Year.
  • Format description.
  • Day.
  • Month.


The Vice Chancellor's statement was confirmed during an interview (P Dawkins  2011, personal communication, 11 October).


 During an interview conducted on 11 October 2011, Prof Peter Dawkins stated that …

 Please note:

  • Personal Communications include private letters, memos, emails from unarchived sources, personal interviews, telephone conversations, and similar resources. As these sources do not provide recoverable data, Personal Communications are not included in the Reference List.
  • Cite Personal Communications in-text only.
  • Details can be provided in running text or in parentheses.
  • In your in-text citation of a Personal Communication give the initials as well as the surname of the communicator, and provide as exact a date as possible.
  • Note that the initials precede the family name in the parenthetical citation.
  • Use your judgment in citing other electronic forms, like Twitter or SMS Texts, as Personal Communications. Remember that what you cite should have scholarly relevance.
  • Refer to Multi-media materials in this guide for an example of citing a Twitter or Facebook post.

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