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APA 7th Edition Referencing Guide1

A Wintec Library guide to referencing in APA 7th edition style

Personal Communication

As personal communication is not recoverable or archived, it is not included in a reference list, but is acknowledged in-text. Personal communication might include private letters, tutor comments, your own class notes, interviews, telephone conversations, intranet documents, social media, etc. Use the initials and surname of the person with whom you corresponded (or the organisation's name) and as exact a date as possible.


In-text citations

K. W. Wiremu (personal communication, January 18, 2010) commented in his interview that...

...(K. W. Wiremu, personal communication, January 18, 2010). 

Narrative in-text citation within a paragraph

According to Learn and Grow's Early Childhood Centre Policy (personal communication, March 9, 2020), the centre has a strong mandate for ensuring enrolments are inclusive.

Parenthetical in-text citation within a paragraph

"The centre must ensure that children of all ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds are considered for enrolment" (Learn and Grow, personal communication, March 9, 2020).

Traditional Knowledge (shared)

If you need to reference Traditional Knowledge found in a recoverable source (a book or a website, for example), reference it in the correct format for that type source. See here for a definition of a non-recoverable source (personal communication).

If you have researched Traditional Knowledge by speaking to someone, provide the person's full name and the name of the indigenous group they belong to if known (iwi or hapū, for example), as well as their location or other details as relevant, followed by the words "personal communication", and the date of the communication. Ensure the person agrees to have their name included in your assignment and confirms the accuracy and appropriateness of the information you present.

You do not need to provide a reference list entry.


Narrative in-text citation within a paragraph

I spoke with Mihiwai Taylor (Tainui, from Hamilton, New Zealand, personal communication, April 2021) about Tainui's traditional understandings of the world. She described...

Parenthetical in-text citation within a paragraph

"Tainui's understanding of ..." (Mihiwai Taylor, Tainui, from Hamilton, New Zealand, personal communication, April 2021).


Traditional Knowledge (your own)

If you are an indigenous person and are sharing your own experiences or the previously unrecorded Traditional Knowledge or Oral Tradition of your people, describe yourself in the text (e.g. what iwi or haapu you belong to, where you live or where you are from) to contextualise the origin of the information you are sharing.

You do not need to use a personal communication citation or provide a reference list entry because you do not need to cite personal information.

This also applies to whakataukī that have been passed down to you. Simply state what iwi or hapū the whakataukī comes from in brackets after the proverb.

For whakataukī that is not traditional knowledge (you had to find a version in a book or online), provide a full reference for where you sourced that version.
For whakatauākī, you will need to provide a full reference for the original source.

Research participants

A research participant is "A person who voluntarily participates in human subject research after giving informed consent to be the subject of the research" (American Psychological Association, 2020).

They will be one of a number of people you have interviewed for a research project in order to gather data. You will have gone through a formal ethical process of getting their consent to be part of your research, and you will not disclose their identity in your assignment.

They are considered 'original research'.

They are not:

  • an expert you have interviewed for your research/assignment as one of your information sources
  • referenced as personal communication

So, how do you reference them?

Just like personal communication, there is no reference list entry.

There is also no in-text citation, even if you are quoting.

You may choose to give each research participant a generic pseudonym, like Student A, or Participant A, or a different first name.


Different first name

Participant "Shane", a 42-year-old man from Ngāti Apa, described his decision to change his career model from a corporate office job to a work-at-home contractor as "empowering. I have more autonomy and a better work-life balance".

Generic label

Student A, a 19-year-old non-binary nursing student, stated their experience during placement at a public hospital as "rewarding, but exhausting", and "a steep learning curve".

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th. ed.). 

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