Personal interview

How to Cite an Interview

Just like any other formal document, an interview needs to be cited correctly. Like other forms of writing, interviews follow the author-date method for citation. An interview citation is essential if the interview is used as a source of information in academic writing.

Types of Interviews

There are two main types of interviews in research. These are: Personal interviews and published interviews.

Personal interview: this is an unstructured conversation between the interviewer and interviewee. In this interview, the information collected can be used as primary data.

Published interview: this is a formal conversation that has been transcribed and then published in a formal document such as a newspaper, journal, e-book, or blog. In this interview, the information is collected from a specific event.

A published interview can be considered a primary or secondary source. When citing this interview, always include the date of publication and page number in the case of a written interview. The web address can also be included.

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Citing a Personal Interview

APA style (7th Edition)

A personal interview is an interview in which the interviewer directly quotes the interviewee. Personal interviews fall under the larger category of expert interviews. Expert interviews are generally used for research papers.

Researchers use these interviews to establish what experts in different fields think about a specific topic or idea.

Citing an interview in the APA format begins with the quote’s author (the expert or person interviewed). If you want to cite someone quoted as speaking for themselves, they would be the author. For example, if you were writing an interview about what it is like to be a firefighter, your expert (the interviewee) would be a firefighter.

Personal interviews are not included in the appendix and reference list but are quoted in the text as personal communication. This format of citing an interview is called a parenthetical citation or in-text citation, and the process is as follows:

• Put an opening bracket
• Write the name of the interviewee followed by a comma
• Write ‘personal communication’ followed by a comma
• Indicate the month of the interview, then the date followed by a comma, then finally the year. Close with a bracket followed by a full stop.

For example:

One of our consulting researchers expressed their satisfaction with the results and said the findings were “highly reliable” (W. Walsh, personal communication, August 20th, 2021).

MLA style

Citing a personal interview in MLA style takes a slightly different turn from the APA style. The citation is done twice: in-text citations and in the works cited section.

  • In the in-text citation, all you need is the interviewee’s last name written as the author’s name.
  • In the works cited Entry:
1. Start with the interviewee’s name-last name, comma, first name initial and full stop.
2. The interview title in quotation marks (if available)
3. If the interview’s title isn’t indicated, write “interview ” as the description without quoting or styling.
4. Write Conducted by ‘interviewer’ comma, date, month, year (without commas) then full stop.

Note: If you were the interviewer in the published interview, indicate your name and date of the interview. If someone else was the interviewer, add their name and the source details.

For example:

The interviewee’s name is Mark Wesley, and the interviewer is John Gray. The date of the interview is 7th June 2018. The interview title isn’t indicated.

In-text citation: (Wesley)

Works Cited Entry:

Wesley, M. Interview. Conducted by John Gray, 7th June 2018.

Citing a Published Interview

APA style for an online article interview

In the APA citation style, you don’t need to include the name of the interviewee on the reference list. However, in the in-text citations, you must mention the interviewee. Also include:

  • The location of the quote, e.g., pg number(p. 35)
  • Paragraph number (para. 13)

For example:

In-text citation:

“The time spent on homework per night was significantly correlated to achievement,” said Sanders Clain on elementary school homework (Sanders Clain, Young Achievers, 2004, p. 35, para 13).

References Entry:

Young Achievers. (2004, September 23). Sanders Clain: ‘The time spent on homework per night was significantly correlated to achievement.’ The Newsvendor. https://www.thenewsvendor.com/2004/sept/sanders-clain-elementary-school-homework-interview

MLA style

Citing a published interview takes in MLA takes different forms depending on where the interview is published. However, there are general rules that apply in the works cited Entry:

• Write the interviewee’s name as the author
• Include the interview title in quotation marks
• Finally, include the source’s full details

In the in-text citation, write the last name of the interviewee and the page number where the interview is in the source.

An interview published in a book

The order in work’s cited Entry:

Book’s title; author’s name(s) or editor(s); Publisher; year of publication; page range/number.

For example:

Andrew, Jones. “Politics and public resources.” Interview by John Stephen. The Politician, Greg, Scribes, 1999, pp. 18-20.

In-text citation: Last name of the author, then the exact page where the interview appears.

(Andrew 19)

Interview in an online magazine

For the works cited Entry, add the publication name, date posted and the publication URL in addition to the standard MLA details.

For example:

The interviewee is Ronald Brown. The interviewer is Kevin Johnson, and the date of the interview is 18th June 2012. The interview was published in eplanetearth.com under the title Life in 2050 in 2012.

Works Cited Entry:

Brown, Ronald. “Future Travel.” Interview by Kevin Johnson. The eplanetearth, 18th June 2012, http://www.eplanetearth.com/life-in-2050.

In-text Citation: (Brown)

Interview in an online video (YouTube video)

Include the website or platform where the interview was conducted/uploaded, the one who uploaded the video and the date. Also include the video URL.

For example:

The interviewee is Michael Cochran. The interviewer is John Smith, and the date of the interview is 12th June 2018. The video was uploaded on Youtube.com by the Erica talks channel on the 12th June 2018. The relevant part is from minute 3:45-6.30)

Works Cited Entry:

Cochran, Michael. “A Trip to Mars.” Interview by John Smith. Youtube.com, uploaded by Erica talks channel, 12th June 2018, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8s_Ct84QeU.

In-text citation: (Cochran 3:35-6:30)

A Journal Interview

When citing an interview published in a journal, include:

• The name of the journal
• The volume and number
• Date or year of publication
• The page range
• If the journal is online, remember to include the database name and stable URL.

For example:

Works Cited Entry:

Cochran, Michael. “A Trip to Mars.” Interview by John Smith. Space Exploration, vol. 9, 2018, pp. 41-45. PSTOK, www.pstok.org/stable/9072341.

In-text citation: (Cochran 43)

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Bottom Line

Citing an interview can be tricky, especially where you need to quote your research participants. However, there are rules that guide such technical citations. The guidelines discussed here and the examples given will greatly help you and others who need similar help.

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