How To Cite A Personal Interview

When you’re drafting a professional paper, you must cite your sources. This is to avoid plagiarism and to not confuse your reader as to who said what – additionally, it gives the reader the guarantee that the source was reliable, such as an expert.

Generally, the correct citation format is in APA and that has specific rules and guidelines when you’re citing a source. This includes a secondary, primary and personal source and in all methods such as online, paper or spoken.

With so many ways to cite a source though, it can be difficult for people to know exactly how to do it. So, we’ve made it a little easier.

In this guide, we’re going to provide you with the easiest step by step solution as to how you should be citing your sources in a personal interview.

What Do You Mean By APA Formatting?

Academic and professional papers can have different methods of citation including things like APA, Turabian, MLA and Harvard. APA is usually the preferred format when it comes to things like social sciences.

The idea of citation is to indicate to the reader who said what when it comes to a direct quote or for when the writer is going to paraphrase a larger body of work. And of course, this is primarily to avoid plagiarism.

The normal method of citation is within the body of work and at the end of the paper, which is known as a reference list.

If you’re writing a personal interview though, the format is different. Because APA can only be used for published work – you cannot use a personal interview within the resources.

Having said that though, at the risk of plagiarism – you still must cite and provide credit to the interviewee.

So, How Exactly Do You Cite A Personal Interview Using APA?

From our previous point, it can often baffle writers as to the correct way of citing a personal interview. You should follow these steps though in order to properly cite within your text.

Start with an introduction of the interview and then stating who the source is. Next, is where you would create the overall context of what you’re trying to convey and then slot in your quote from the source. The last part is where you would cite your chosen source.

What Does That Mean?

For us to explain the APA citation processes for a personal interview further, it’s important that we break down these points into much more detail.

Introduction Of The Interview

This is where you’d begin the work. It’s important to start with a concise and clear introduction that tells the reader the starting context of the interview. For example, you could say:

“Mental health has long been a matter of political debate when it comes to financial investment from the Government. I have interviewed a political and economic expert to understand why this is the case”.

Source Identification

This is the area where your source will be included and explained why they have been chosen by you. Why exactly does this source matter within the context of your paper? So, for example, you could say:

“Doctor Joe Smith is a Professor of Economics at Harvard and has studied political discourse and party financial decisions for decades”.


The context of your work is crucial to the paper and this is where you’re preparing the groundwork for your direct quotations. So, for example, you could say:

“I was looking to find out why mental health research and resources were being grossly underfunded when the Republican party was in power”.

This is your meat of the paper, but you aren’t the expert in this situation, you are merely asking an expert. Therefore, it’s important to get an expert’s opinion and then cite them as a source.

What Is The Quote?

This is where the expert’s quote would come into play. Using APA format, you will present these quotes differently depending on how long the quote you wish to use is.

Forty or more words need to be in a new and indented paragraph below, but less than forty words can remain as it is with quotation marks. So, for the latter example:

“It is difficult to say if it is a Republican policy, or whether funding is being allocated elsewhere unconsciously”.

The next step is the most important though.

Source Citation

APA formatting requires the first initial to be used and then the full surname. The method of interview is next and finally the date. So, in our example:

(J. Smith, personal interview, January 03, 2020).

What If I’m Citing A Published Interview?

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When citing a published interview, you would follow the same guidance but you would change the document type, depending on where you have found the published interview.

So, a textbook for example you’d list as a textbook, magazine as a magazine etc.

What Careers Might Require Me To Cite Personal Interviews?

There are actually a large number of career paths that might involve you writing, performing and therefore citing personal interviews.

Perhaps the most obvious will be a journalist or reporter due to the nature of their jobs and then they must present their interviews to other readers. But there are so many more, for example:

  • Communications
  • PR
  • Business analyst
  • Financial officer
  • Researcher
  • Professor
  • Executive assistant

In many jobs that involve research, particularly for Government departments, you may need to gather huge amounts of data using personal interviews in order for the Government to produce the data for public knowledge.

It may also be used as a way for the Government to take action on certain issues.


Personal interviews are a common method for data presentation and data gathering, so understanding how to cite a personal interview is crucial – particularly when it is a part of your career.

Hopefully, our guide has given you some great insight into how it works.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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