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How to Reference a Person in APA Format

by Chris Miksen, Demand Media

    Writing in American Psychological Association or APA format requires an extensive use of references and citations. According to the sixth edition of the "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association," if the information you need is only available from personal communication, such as a letter or an interview, you can completely bypass adding the source in the “References” section. However, you must cite the source in the paper itself. Citing a personal communication requires the person's last name, first initial and the date of the communication.

    Step 1

    Write either the person’s first initial followed by his last name, or the person’s title, followed by his last name if his first initial is not available. You can use two different methods to cite personal communication. For example, you could write, “Video games improve reaction time (J. Smith)," or you could write, “According to Doctor Smith, video games improve reaction time.”

    Step 2

    Cite the source as “personal communication.” Depending on your sentence structure, the citation should look like either “Video games improve reaction time (J. Smith, personal communication)" or “According to Doctor Smith (personal communication), video games improve reaction time.”

    Step 3

    Add the date of the communication. The completed citation should look like either “Video games improve reaction time (J. D. Smith, personal communication, December 11, 2005)" or “According to Doctor Smith (personal communication, December 11, 2005), video games improve reaction time.”

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    Tips

    • If the person's first initial is available but his middle initial is not, write his first initial and then his last name.
    • Including or not including the person's first initial and middle initial does not dictate which citation method you need to use. For example, you could write the citation as either "According to J. D. Smith (personal communication, December 11, 2005)" or "(J. D. Smith, personal communication, December 11, 2005)."

    References

    About the Author

    Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.

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