APA Style CENTRAL® Expert Tip: Citing Personal Communication

The purpose of a reference list in APA Style® is to acknowledge the work of previous scholars and provide a reliable way to locate that work.

What if you want to acknowledge a source that can’t be retrieved, such as a conversation, live lecture, or private letter?

This information should be treated as a personal communication, which is cited in the body of the paper but not included in the reference list.

You can cite a personal communication in your APA Style CENTRAL® paper by clicking the Personal Communication button in the editor menu or selecting from the Insert menu.

 

 

 

Once you provide the information needed—the individual’s name and the date of communication—the citation will appear in the paper body, including the words personal communication.

 

Because personal communications can’t be retrieved by a reader, they are not included in the reference listIn APA Style CENTRAL, you can edit personal communication in the body of your paper, as you would any other text.

 

Please note:

  • Research interviews with participants are NOT considered personal communication; they are qualitative data and should be reported in a way that respects confidentiality. For more, see this post on the APA Style blog.
  • If the communication was shared with you personally but is now retrievable—the conversation is on a discussion board, the lecture can be found on YouTube or a podcast, or the letter is published in a periodical or book—you can treat it as any other reference (i.e., create a reference to that retrievable source).

 

For more information, see the APA Style CENTRAL quick guide “Personal Communications.”

Related Resources

APA Style Blog: What Belongs in the Reference List?

APA Style Blog: How to Cite a Class in APA Style

APA Style Blog: Let’s Talk About Research Participants

PsycARTICLES Expert Tip: What Journals Are Included?

PsycARTICLES®, our full-text database of articles published by APA and affiliated journals, is a rich resource of peer-reviewed articles dating back more than a century. Researchers can find the latest scholarship from across psychology and the behavioral sciences, and can also look back at the history and development of psychology.

But what’s in PsycARTICLES? As of today, the full-text of more than 100 journals is available, back to Volume 1, Issue 1 in most cases. One way to peruse the list of titles is to simply use the Browse menu on APA PsycNET, where you can choose to see the list alphabetically by title, or arranged by topic. (EBSCOhost, Ovid , and ProQuest offer a similar feature.)

Screenshot showing the Browse page for PsycARTICLES on APA PsycNET

Browsing PsycARTICLES on APA PsycNET.

The advantage of using the Browse function built into PsycARTICLES is that you can easily access individual issues of each journal, and from there the full-text of individual articles. However, we also have the full list on our website, where you can easily see the years of publication available, as well as the volumes. This can be helpful if you simply want to quickly check whether or not a particular publication is included.

Screenshot of PsycARTICLES coverage list from the APA website.

The full list of journals in PsycARTICLES is available on the APA website.

 

We also provide access to a document that details any name changes for journals covered in PsycARTICLES.

This information, and more, can be found on the PsycARTICLES Coverage Information webpage. You can find coverage information for our other databases in the Search Help and Training Center.

In Case You Missed It: New Terms Added to the PsycINFO Thesaurus

In November 2015, we released an update to The Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms, the source of the controlled vocabulary used in indexing PsycINFO® and the other APA databases. This particular update was significantly larger than previous vocabulary updates, containing 227 new Index Terms.

In December, we shared the details of the update, highlighting some of the new terms and other changes that were incorporated. We also provided a document with the full list of Index Terms included in the update.

Did you miss that post? Take a look! It explains several important points about the new terminology, including a change to the language used to tag research on Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Related Resources

Changes to the Thesaurus sometimes impact search alerts and saved searches. For example, when a new term replaces an older term, saved searches and search alerts created with the older term will no longer generate updates. In this update, 5 terms were changed such that any saved searches or search alerts that use them will no longer retrieve the desired results.

Here are the terms that were changed, along with the new Index Terms that have taken their places:

Terms that are now Use references New Index Terms to search
Aspergers Syndrome
Autism
Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Complications (Disorders) Sequelae
Q Sort Testing Technique Q-Sort

 

For assistance in updating your search alerts, please see our post PsycINFO Expert Tip: Updating Search Alerts When a Thesaurus Term Changes.

PsycINFO Expert Tip: Classification Codes

Have you ever noticed the Classification Codes in PsycINFO® and wondered what they’re for?

Screenshot of the Classification Codes limiter on APA PsycNET.

The Classification Codes limiter on APA PsycNET.

Our indexers tag and categorize each item in PsycINFO so searchers can more easily locate exactly what they need. Classification Codes categorize an item, such as a journal article, by its main theme. Each item receives one, sometimes two, Classification Codes. Continue reading

PsycINFO Expert Tip: Finding the Tests in PsycINFO

Have you ever needed to find a psychological test? It can be a surprisingly difficult task! Many of the tests you may know by name, such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, are commercial tests. This means those who are interested in using them must pay a fee, and may also need to meet other criteria. If you’re a student who needs a test to review for a class, or if you’re researching how to create an effective psychological measure, you’ll need to find non-commercial tests.

You can, of course, find these types of tests in PsycTESTS®, our database of psychological tests and measures. This database contains information about, and excerpts from, more than 34,000 tests in the behavioral sciences. But what if you don’t have access to PsycTESTS?

Try PsycINFO®! You probably know PsycINFO as a database of journal articles from publishers around the world. PsycINFO doesn’t contain any full-text, but each article included is represented by a record, which has been extensively tagged by APA’s indexers. This information allows you to assess how useful the article may be before you try to find the full text. Continue reading