How to cite an interview

Using an interview in your research paper gives a readers a firsthand account of the topic. Modern Language Association style has three ways to cite interviews on a bibliography and one in-text method. The bibliography citation depends upon whether you are using a personal interview you conducted yourself, an interview published in a printed reference or an interview published online. Yet the in-text citation is the same regardless.

Step 1

Cite any interview according to the last name of the interviewee for in-text citations. You do not need a page number for interview citations.

For example: (Swift).

Step 2

Back up the in-text citation with a corresponding entry in the bibliography. Cite interviews that you have conducted with the interviewee’s name and the date.

For example: Swift, Taylor. Personal Interview. 16 June 2009.

Step 3

Cite published interviews in print or broadcast form with the interviewee’s name, the title of the interview, the publication name, the date, page numbers (if applicable) and the medium.

For example: Swift, Taylor. Interview with Diane Sawyer. ABC World News (2009): Broadcast.

Step 4

Cite online interviews similar to other published interviews. Include the name of the website and the access date.

For example: Lambert, Miranda. Interview by John Smith. CMT Artists. CMT, 2008. Web. 4 Aug. 2011.

  • “MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 7th Edition”; Modern Language Association; 2009

Melissa Hamilton began writing professionally in 2007. She has enjoyed cooking creatively in the kitchen from a young age. In addition to writing cooking articles for various publications, she currently works in the restaurant industry as a food and beverage trainer.

How to cite an interview

When writing an in-depth article, paper or other written work, it may be necessary to interview others to get more information. How to include the contents of the interview varies depending on the style guide you follow for your writing. When using American Psychological Association (APA) style, your interview should either be cited as personal communication or recorded in detail in your text. The APA interview writing format has specific rules for how to write an interview paper.

Explain the Interview

The APA format for interviews expects you to explain the clear purpose of your interview. You should not use an interview for information that can be obtained elsewhere, such as publications or online sources. Before your interview, you should be familiar with the background literature and have clear, concise questions prepared.

Example:

Published research does not include a detailed or frank discussion of patient reporting bias in emergency medicine.

Introduce Your Source

Introduce the subject of your interview in-text, describing her qualifications, background and why she is suitable to answer your questions.

Example:

I contacted Jane Jones, M.D., Ph.D., for a knowledgeable discussion of patient reporting bias. Dr. Jones is an expert in the field, having practiced for 15 years and published high-profile research studies that accounted for patient reporting bias.

Present the Question

Present the question you asked the interviewee when explaining her response in the text of your paper. This is important to provide the context in which the interviewee presented fact or opinion. Be clear whether the question was open-ended or close-ended.

Example:

To assess the methods used to correct for reporting bias, I asked Dr. Jones via telephone, “What are the steps you used in your research to account for reporting bias?” I also asked her to discuss other biases that need to be accounted for in observational studies.

Include Exact Quote

Use quotes, rather than paraphrasing, when citing specific information and facts given by the interviewee. A quote longer than 40 words should be set aside as a block quote, according to APA style.

Example:

Dr. Jones answered, “My primary method for correcting reporting bias is a carefully constructed questionnaire in lieu of a free-form patient interview.”

A longer discussion of other biases should be set aside in a block quote.

Properly Cite Your Source

When citing sources using the APA interview format, you must always include an in-text citation in parentheses. The citation must be included directly after a quote or paraphrased text, and include the first initial of the person interviewed, last name, “personal communication” and date the interview took place.

Example:

“My primary method for correcting reporting bias is a carefully constructed questionnaire in lieu of a free-form patient interview.” (J. Jones, personal communication, April 9, 2018).

If you mention the interviewee in the text introducing the quote or paraphrased text, their name doesn’t need to be included in the in-text citation.

Example:

Dr. Jones contends that a questionnaire allows for more honesty and accuracy in reporting (personal communication, April 9, 2018).

APA interview format does not require a reference to the interview in your reference list since it is not a source that can be found by another person.

APA reference lists only include works that can be found by the reader. As a personal interview is not published or “findable,” it should not be included in an APA reference list. Instead, a personal interview should be referenced as a parenthetical citation.

(J. Smith, personal communication, May 17, 2008).

Any personal interview conducted via the following (and that are unpublished) can be considered “personal communication”:

  • in-person interview
  • email
  • phone interview
  • text messages
  • online chats
  • memos
  • unrecorded lectures

If you would like to include a personal interview as part of your APA reference list, then include the interviewee, the date of the interview, and the type of interview.

Interview Citation Structure:

Last name, F. (Year, Month date). Personal communication [Communication type].

Interview Citation Example:

Cloyd, A. (2014, July 29). Personal interview [Personal interview].

Video overview

Citing a published interview

Interview published as an online article

MacInnes, P. (2021, August 24). Ellie Simmonds: ‘I’ve found the expectations harder as I’ve got older.’ The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/aug/24/ellie-simmonds-expectations-tokyo-paralympics-interview

Interview published as YouTube video

In-text citation, parenthetical example:

Reference list entry examples:

60 Minutes Australia. (2018, June 23). Meet the tallest man in the world | 60 Minutes Australia [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjG6qIfoMeI

O’Brien, C. [Team Coco]. (2021, June 11). Tig Notaro full interview – CONAN on TBS [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imMsszmCdr4

APA Formatting Guide

APA Formatting

Citation Examples

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To cite an online interview, you need to know what format the interview is in. Was it an online video? An online article? A podcast? Whatever the medium (video, article, podcast, etc.), create a citation as you would normally for that medium. The author is usually the interviewer’s (or publishing company’s) name.

In-text citation template and examples:

When citing information from an interview, make it clear who the interviewee (the person being interviewed) was. If you are citing a quote, include the location of where the quote came from. That could be a page number (p. 22), paragraph number (para. 12), or timestamp (1:42).

Here is an example of a video interview on YouTube.

Narrative:

Author Surname or Organization (Publication Year)

Manufacturing Intellect (2020) published a video of Romney Wheeler interviewing Bertrand Russell.

Parenthetical:

(Author Surname, Publication Year)

In one interview with Romeny Wheely, the philosopher Bertrand Russell said, “I wanted to know whether there is any truth in realities known, and I thought if there was any, it’s probably in mathematics” (Manufacturing Intellect, 2020, 8:58-9:05).

Reference list entry template and example:

Author Name. (Date published). Title of the video [Format]. Video Site Name. URL

Manufacturing Intellect. (2020, July 10). A conversation with Bertrand Russell [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL_sMXfzzyA (Original work broadcast in 1952)

An interview is a talk or an exchange of information via electronic media. An interview can be published or unpublished, depending upon the type and nature of the interview. Interviews can be any of the following types:

  • Published interview
  • Personal interview
  • Interview of participants in a study

Published interview

Interviews appearing in newspapers, magazines, television programs, YouTube videos, podcasts, and radio broadcasting will fall under this category. Here is a template and an example of how a published interview is cited in the text:

Template:

(Author Last Name, date of interview)

Example:

Personal interview

If you get details through emails or phone calls to make the statement in your paper effective, you need to cite them as “personal communication,” since they cannot be published. A few examples of interviews that need to be treated as personal communications include:

  • in-person interview
  • interview on the telephone
  • text messages or emails
  • online chats

Template:

(Author Last Name, personal communication, date of interview)

Example:

(Sethusankar, personal communication, December 2, 2016)

Interview of participants in a study

If you interview your participants as a part of your study, APA style doesn’t require you to cite them. However, follow the APA guidelines on how to present the interview of participants.

Published on August 8, 2019 by Shona McCombes. Revised on July 7, 2021.

When citing an interview in MLA style, the name of the person being interviewed appears as the author in the in-text citation.

In the Works Cited entry, the interviewee’s name is followed by the title of the interview in quotation marks. If there is no title, use the description “Interview” (with no styling or quotation marks).

If you conducted the interview yourself, add your own name and the date on which the interview took place. If you found the interview in a published source, include the name of the interviewer and full details of the source.

MLA interview citation examples

Works Cited entry In-text citation
Personal interview Streefkerk, Raimo. Interview. Conducted by Shona McCombes, 20 July 2019. (Streefkerk)
Published interview Spark, Muriel. “Unsentimental Voyager.” Interview by Stephanie Merritt. The Guardian, 10 Sep. 2000, www.theguardian.com/­books/­2000/­sep/­10/­fiction.murielspark. (Spark)

Table of contents

  1. Citing a personal interview in MLA
  2. Citing a published interview in MLA

Citing a personal interview in MLA

To cite an interview that you conducted yourself, start the Works Cited entry with the name of the interviewee. Then simply describe it with the word “Interview,” followed by your own name (or “the author”) and the date on which the interview took place.

Works Cited entry Gray, Alasdair. Interview. Conducted by Duncan Thaw, 8 Aug. 2017.

In the parenthetical citation, you only need to include the interviewee’s last name.

In-text citation (Gray)

Citing a published interview in MLA

To cite an interview that you found in a published source (e.g., in a newspaper, book, podcast, or video), treat the person being interviewed as the author, and put the title of the interview in quotation marks. Then include full details of the source according to the MLA core elements.

In the parenthetical citation, include the interviewee’s last name and (if available) the page number.

Interview in an online magazine

For an interview published in an online magazine, newspaper, or blog, you add the name of the publication, the date it was posted, and the URL.

Works Cited entry Shonkoff, Jack P. “How the Stress of Separation and Detention Changes the Lives of Children.” Interview by Isaac Chotiner. The New Yorker, 13 July 2019, www.newyorker.com/­news/­q-and-a/­how-­the-­stress-­of-­separation-­and-­detention-­changes-­the-­lives-­of-­children. In-text citation (Shonkoff)

Interview in a book

For an interview that appears as a chapter or section in a book, you need to include the book’s title; the author(s) or editor(s); the publisher; the publication year; and the page range on which the interview appears.

If the author or editor of the book is the same as the interviewer, you can leave out this part of the citation to avoid repetition.

Works Cited entry Foucault, Michel. “Polemics, Politics, and Problematizations.” Interview by Paul Rabinow. The Foucault Reader, Pantheon, 1984, pp. 381–390. In-text citation (Foucault 383)

Interview in a journal

For an interview published in an academic journal, you need to include the journal name, volume and number, the date or year, and the page range. If you accessed the interview on an online database, include the name of the database and the DOI or stable URL.

Works Cited entry Butler, Judith. “How Bodies Come to Matter.” Interview by Irene Costera Meijer and Baukje Prins. Signs, vol. 23, no. 2, 1998, pp. 275–286. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/­stable/­3175091. In-text citation (Butler 280)

Online video of an interview

If you accessed a video or audio recording of the interview online, include the platform or website, the user who uploaded the interview, the date it was uploaded, and the URL.

In the in-text citation, you can use a timestamp or range of timestamps to specify the relevant part of the recording.

Works Cited entry Smith, Zadie. “On Shame, Rage and Writing.” Interview by Synne Rifbjerg. YouTube, uploaded by Louisiana Channel, 17 Apr. 2018, www.youtube.com/­watch?v=4LREBOwjrrw. In-text citation (Smith 04:25–04:40)

Our MLA citation generator makes it easy to cite published interviews in any format.

How to cite an interview
Why are interviews not included in the references?

Personal interviews/communication whether it is conducted in-person, phone, email, virtual (i.e. Skype, WebEx, Google Hangouts. ) are not "recoverable" data and therefore a reader would not be able to go back to the source to review the interview.

NOTE: If you recorded the interview or Skype meeting and posted it online (i.e. YouTube, web site) you can then include the reference and direct the reader to the audio or video file that captured the interview.
See: APA Blog – How do you cite an interview?

An Interview

Important Note: Personal interviews are not included in the reference list because they do not provide recoverable data. Cite them IN TEXT ONLY.

Personal Communication Includes letters, phone calls, email messages, and interviews.

General Format

In-Text Citation (Paraphrase):

(Interviewee First Initial. Second Initial. Surname, personal communication, Month Day, Year)

In-Text Citation (Quotation):

(Interviewee First Initial. Second Initial. Surname, personal communication, Month Day, Year)

Published on November 6, 2020 by Jack Caulfield. Revised on March 24, 2021.

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

In APA Style, published interviews are cited in a different format from interviews you conducted yourself.

A personal interview you conducted that can’t be accessed by the reader should not be included in the reference list. Instead, it’s cited as a personal communication in the text.

To cite a published interview, follow the standard format for the source type it was published in (e.g. book, newspaper).

Table of contents

  1. Citing interviews you conducted
  2. Citing published interviews
  3. Frequently asked questions about APA Style citations

Citing interviews you conducted

An interview you conducted yourself is not included in the reference list, because it is not retrievable by your readers.

The way you refer to these interviews in the text depends on whether you include a transcript of the interview in an appendix.

Quoting your research participants

If your research methodology involved conducting formal interviews with participants, transcripts of these interviews are typically included in an appendix. You don’t need citations when quoting your research participants; just mention where the transcripts can be found.

One participant, David, stated that he found the experience “very challenging” (full interview transcripts are presented in Appendix A).

This only needs to be mentioned once; don’t refer to the appendix every time you quote from it. Similar advice applies to surveys.

Citing personal interviews

Personal interviews are those you conducted informally to obtain additional information to support your arguments. They are typically not included in an appendix.

As these are not published anywhere, they should be cited as personal communications in the text and omitted from the reference list.

Include the interviewee’s initials and last name, the words “personal communication,” and the date on which the interview was conducted.

Via email, one of the researchers involved in the project clarified that it was “still ongoing” (L. Singh, personal communication, April 24, 2020).

Citing published interviews

To cite a published interview, follow the format for the source type in which it was published.

The author is usually the interviewer. The name of the person interviewed is not included in the citation or in the reference list.

However, it’s important to make it clear exactly who said what when you quote from an interview conducted by someone else. In the following example, the citation incorrectly implies that the quote is from Davenport:

The United States aims to return its space program to its former glory: “A big objective is to once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil” (Davenport, 2018, para. 20).

To make it clear that these are the words of the interviewee, not the interviewer, name the speaker directly in the sentence:

The United States aims to return its space program to its former glory, as highlighted by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a recent interview with the Washington Post: “A big objective is to once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil” (Davenport, 2018, para. 20).

Citing a newspaper interview

To cite an interview published in a newspaper, follow the standard newspaper format, listing the interviewer in the author position.

Format Interviewer name , Initials . ( Year , Month Day ). Interview title . Newspaper Name . URL
Reference list Dundas, D. (2019, November 8). Zadie Smith on fighting the algorithm: “If you are under 30, and you are able to think for yourself right now, God bless you.” Toronto Star. shorturl.at/eiyzW
In-text citation (Dundas, 2019)

Citing a podcast interview

To cite an interview from a podcast, follow the format for citing a podcast episode, listing the host in the author position.

Format Host name , Initials . (Host). ( Year , Month Day ). Episode title (No. Number ). [Audio podcast episode]. In Podcast Name . Production Company . URL
Reference list O’Brien, J. (Host). (2020, September 24). Margaret Atwood. [Audio podcast episode]. In Full Disclosure with James O’Brien. LBC. https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/margaret-atwood/id1454408831?i=1000492394615
In-text citation (O’Brien, 2020)

Citing an interview from YouTube

To cite an interview you viewed on YouTube, follow the standard format for citing a YouTube video. Note that the person or organization that uploaded the video, rather than the person conducting the interview, appears in the author position.

Format Author name , Initials . ( Year , Month Day ). Video title [Video]. YouTube. URL
Reference list The New Yorker. (2018, April 4). Malcolm Gladwell explains where his ideas come from [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/zvv8iFupg9M
In-text citation (The New Yorker, 2018)

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Interviewee Last, First M. “Interview Title.” Interview by First M. Last. Magazine Name, Date Month Year, pp. page number(s).

How to cite an interview

Interview Citation Example:

Obama, Michelle. “Oprah Talks to Michelle Obama.” Interview by Oprah Winfrey. O, The Oprah Magazine, Apr. 2009, pp. 116-125.

Citing a personal interview

Personal Interview Citation Structure:

Last Name of Interviewee, First Name M. Type of Interview (Personal Interview, Phone Interview, Skype Interview, etc.). Date.

Personal Interview Citation Example:

Cloyd, Allison. Personal interview. 24 July 2014.

Interview in-text citations

Interview In-text Citation Structure:

(Interviewee Last Name Page #)

Interview In-text Citation Example:

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

Citation Examples

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To cite an interview with two or more people in MLA style, you need to have the name of the interviewees, title of the interview, and year. The templates for an in-text citation and works-cited-list entry of an interview with two or more people, along with examples, are given below:

In-text citation template and example:

Cite the names of the interviewees in the same way as you would cite multiple authors. The below example is for three interviewees.

(Interviewee’s Surname et al.)

(Sethusankar et al.)

Works-cited-list entry template and example:

Interviewee Surname, First Name, et al. Interview. Conducted by Interviewer’s Name, Publisher, Publication Date.

Sethusankar, Krishnan, et al. Interview with College Professors. Conducted by Kirubakaran, Ajantha Publishers, 2021.

To cite an interview on television, radio, or podcast in MLA format, you need to have the name of the interviewee, title of the interview, name of the host, name of the TV channel, radio, or podcast, and year. The templates for an in-text citation and works-cited-list entry of an interview on television, radio, or podcast along with examples are given below:

In-text citation template and example:

Works-cited-list entry template and example:

Interviewee Surname, First Name, “Title of the Interview.” Title of the show, hosted by Interviewer’s Name, TV Channel, Day Month Year.

Singh, Amarinder. “Hammers ‘Incapable’ Sidhu.” Captain Speaks to Arnab, hosted by Arnab Goswami, Republic World, 18 Sept. 2021.

Amanda Tust is a fact checker, researcher and writer with a Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

10'000 Hours/Getty Images

The reference list of an APA format paper contains a list of published sources that can be located by readers. While much of your research may come from books, professional journals, newspapers, and online databases, sometimes you may find yourself needing to cite information that you gather from other sources, including interviews.

So how should writers handle the sourcing of personal interviews? If you use information or quotations that were taken from an interview with a source, you need to cite the source, how the information was collected, and when the interview was conducted.

Because these interviews are not something that can be located by a reader in any published source or searchable database, they should not be included in your reference section.

When you include details gathered from a personal interview in an academic or professional paper, you should cite the information parenthetically in the main body of your text in a format similar to that of other in-text citations.

How to Cite an Interview

There are some basic rules you should follow for an APA interview citation:

  • Include the last name and first initial of the interviewee
  • Include the date the interview took place
  • Note indicating the type of interview

Here is the basic structure you should use:

An example of how this would look in the body of your paper:

If, however, you include the name of the interview subject in-text to introduce or paraphrase a quote, you do not need to list the source’s name again parenthetically.

How to Note the Type of Interview

The APA offers some guidelines for how to handle different types of interviews:

  • Personal interviews: Whether your interview was conducted in person or via text or telephone, you should cite the information as a ‘personal communication.’
  • Emails: Because emails are not retrievable by other readers, the APA considers these as personal communications. They should be cited only in-text just as other interview sources and should not be included in your reference list.
  • Class lectures: Like emails, information taken from a class lecture, guest lecture, or group discussion cannot be accessed by other readers, so it should be cited as personal communication.
  • Research interviews: If you are interviewing a research subject, you will need to preserve the participant’s anonymity for ethical reasons. When referring to a specific participant, whether by summarizing their results or directly quoting their comments, you should be careful to avoid providing any identifying information. You might simply state that the individual is a participant or you might refer to them by non-identifying letters or nicknames (i.e. Student A, Participant B, etc.).

When to Use an Interview

There are a number of reasons why you might want to conduct an interview to gather information for your paper.

Some reasons you might want to use an interview:

  • You have further questions that you want to ask an expert or researcher
  • The written information on a topic is scant
  • An expert is able to offer specific insights that you cannot find elsewhere

Before You Do an Interview

There are some things that you should consider before you reach out to an expert for an interview. First and foremost, do not interview someone about the information that is easily available in published sources. You are responsible for conducting your own background research on a topic.

Once you have done a thorough literature review and it becomes clear that there are knowledge gaps in the information that is publicly available, then consider reaching out to an expert for additional insight.

Next, you should always approach the interview subject respectfully.

  • Be observant of their time constraints
  • Be willing to conduct the interview on the subject’s schedule
  • Conduct the interview in the manner that best suits the subject’s needs, whether it is by phone, interview, or text
  • Have your questions prepared in advance
  • Send a follow-up note or email thanking them for their time

A Word From Verywell

While APA format dictates that you should not include unpublished interview sources in your reference list, you should cite these sources in the text of your paper. By doing so, you help ensure that your readers have a better understanding of where you got the information. These citations also help readers better appreciate the special insights that these sources add to your arguments.

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