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Referencing style - APA 7th: Personal Communication

A guide to using the APA 7th edition referencing system for in-text citations and reference lists.

APA examples: Personal Communication, Lecture Content

Personal Communication relates to any recorded speech, lecture, or PowerPoint that is not readily accessible to your audience through an existing publication either in print or through an online link.   

Common examples include: 

  • Private conversations, emails, letters and messages
  • Unrecorded performances, speeches, lectures and PowerPoints; 
  • Private social media content, non-archived discussion groups or online bulletin boards

If your audience won’t be able to access the personal communication then you won’t need to provide a full reference at the end, instead: 

  • Use (initial. surname, type of communication, full date) at the point at which you refer to the personal communication in-text. 

If your audience can access the personal communication then you provide the usual paired in-text and end-text reference for that format

Personal Communication 

Decision Making Cues:


  • Can my audience gain access to the online copy of this communication?
    • If YES provide a regular reference with an in-text and full end-text reference at the end;
    • If NOT first consider....
  • Can I source the ideas conveyed in a published source that will be available to my reader?
    • If YES, consult and reference that source in preference to personal communication.
    • If NOT, provide an in-text reference only but include fuller details, as per the examples below.

Note:  See the special considerations for oral traditions and knowledge of indigenous peoples, for Quotations from Research Participants  and materials from Archival Documents and Collections; all of which are not considered personal communication.  
See the APA Style Blog for further guidance or consult the APA Manual. 

APA examples: Personal Communication and Lecture Content

Personal Communication or Lecture Content not accessible to my intended audience

Material Type In-Text Citation (no end-text reference required)
Personal Communication

There was strong disagreement expressed by A. Smith (Personal Communication, January 30, 2020) 

Email When contacted for comment there was strong disagreement expressed against conciliation (A.Smith, email, January 30, 2020) 
Performance During the performance, there was significant use of the cockney vernacular (J. Brown, performance, March 10, 2021)
Social media only available to private members Members of the online community showed strong stereotypical views of activists, with one referring to them as "useless hippies" (G. Foss, comment in a private Facebook group, April 20, 2021)
Online Lecture 

According to M. Kragt (Online lecture, February 18, 2021), Science Communication has been identified as vital to climate change initiatives.

Note:  Treated as personal communication as the intended audience will not have access to the UWA LMS. 



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