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.
- 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.”
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
The APA Databases & Electronic Resources Customer Relations team is growing! Emily Shotick, MSLIS, joined the team in March 2018 as an APA Style Training and Support Specialist.
Prior to joining APA, she was the Regional Librarian at Chamberlain University in Indianapolis, where she provided APA Style instruction as well as other reference and information services. In addition, she worked as a librarian at The Chef’s Academy in Morrisville, NC, which also included providing training in APA Style®.
Emily has an MS in Library and Information Science from Indiana University, and a BA in English from Miami University.
Emily’s role at APA will focus mainly on training for APA Style CENTRAL®, and she will join the other training specialists in providing webinars, creating print and online training materials, and conducting in-person training sessions. Her experience working with students, faculty, staff, and librarians and APA Style will ensure training materials are as useful and relevant as possible.
Our next series of PsycINFO® webinars for students and faculty will run on April 11, 12, 13 from 11 – 11:30 a.m. EST. The sessions may be attended separately, but we encourage those who are interested to take all three, so we offer them on consecutive days:
We will provide information relevant to all search platforms including APA PsycNET®, EBSCOhost, Ovid, and ProQuest. The platform demonstrated will be based on the needs of the attendees of each session. For more information on this series, including full descriptions, please visit our databases webinar training for students and faculty web page.
These webinars are an ideal way for students to get a refresher on PsycINFO if they have had a previous training session. Please help us spread the word to interested students and faculty!
APA Style CENTRAL recently added and updated tools to help with your research and writing in APA Style. See our previous blog post for details about spell-check and appendices.
You can now cite references in abstracts, figure captions, table bodies, and table captions, in the same way you cite references in the body of the paper.
Why cite within these parts of the paper?
- If your research is a reply or follow-up to previously published work, you’d usually cite that work in the abstract.
- If your figure summarizes data from another published work, you’ll want to credit that researcher in the figure caption
- If you’re doing a literature review or meta-analysis and want to summarize the results of several previous studies in a table, you’ll want to cite those studies in the table body.
- If your table includes results you found using a concept or a survey developed by another researcher, you’ll want to credit them in your table caption.
To cite within a paper element, you can create a new reference, search for a reference in PsycINFO, or choose from My References.
Once the in-text citation is created, the reference is added to the Paper Reference List and marked as cited.
You can read the full list of platform updates on APA Style CENTRAL’s training and support page.
APA Style Blog: How to Cite Sources in a Table
APA Style CENTRAL Handout: Adding References to Papers
Tutorial: Inserting References
Want to see more features added to APA Style CENTRAL?
Let us know! firstname.lastname@example.org
In January, APA added 3 new APA titles to PsycBOOKS®
In February, APA added 5 new titles to PsycBOOKS®, including a 2-volume handbook.
- Unifying Effective Psychotherapies, ©2018, by J. Scott Fraser. ISBN: 9781433828676
- Modern Parliamentary Procedure, ©2018, by Ray E. Keesey. ISBN: 9781433828652
- Gender Typing of Children’s Toys, ©2018, edited by Erica S. Weisgram and Lisa M. Dinella. ISBN: 9781433828867
- Assessment Using the Rorschach Inkblot Test, ©2018, by James P. Choca and Edward D. Rossini. ISBN: 9781433828812
- APA Handbook of Psychopathology, Volumes 1 & 2, ©2018, edited by James N. Butcher. ISBN: 9781433828348 ; 9781433828355
In March, APA added 4 new titles to PsycBOOKS®
- Concussion, ©2018, by Anthony P. Kontos, and Michael W. Collins. ISBN: 9781433828232
- Forensic Geropsychology, ©2018, by Shane S. Bush, and Andrew L. Heck. ISBN: 9781433828928
- Heroic Humility, ©2018, by Everett L. Worthington Jr., and Scott T. Allison. ISBN: 9781433828140
- Meaning in Life, ©2018, by Clara E. Hill. ISBN: 9781433828874
Bibliographic records are available through your PsycBOOKS vendor. You may also download RDA records directly from APA by following the instructions in the APA PsycNET® Administrator Help Menu.
View the past monthly PsycBOOKS update lists, a list of sample PsycBOOKS titles, and the full coverage list for PsycBOOKS.