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Community Psychology: Tips for Interviewing

Citing the personal interview

In APA Style, unpublished interviews are only cited in the text of your paper, there is no reference in the References List.  
The components:

  • Name of the person interviewed:   Brent Mai
  • Format: personal communication
  • Date of the Interview:  October 1, 2014

Appreciation was expressed to the local artists for their participation in the art exhibits at library events (B.Mai, personal communication, October 1, 2014).
B. Mai (personal communication, October 1, 2014) expressed his appreciation to the local artists for exhibiting their works at library events.


Unpublished interviews should only be cited in notes -- do not cite in the bibliography
Use a comma after the interviewee's name, a comma after the name of the interviewer, a comma after place of interview, and a period at the end of the note.
Date = date the interview was conducted
Note (First mention, full reference):

  • interviewee's name:   Brent Mai
  • interviewer's name:  Judy Anderson
  • place of the interview: Portland, OR
  • date:  October 10, 2014

5. Brent Mai, interview by Judy Anderson, Portland, OR, October 10, 2014.

Note (Subsequent Mentions):
Use the shortened format for additional notes referring to this interview but not immediately following the initial note. Use Ibid. for a note immediately following the full note referring to the same interview.  

  • Interviewee's last name:   Mai
  • Descriptive word:  interview   

5. Brent Mai, interview by Judy Anderson, Portland, OR, October 10, 2014.
6. Ibid.
7. Washburn, A. P. The Making of a Researcher (Portland, OR: Portland Press, 2012), 25.
8. Mai, interview.

Personal Interviews are part of your Works Cited page, Use a parenthetic reference following the sentence in the main body of your paper.  

  • Name of the interviewee:  Brent Mai
  • Format:  personal interview
  • Date the interview was conducted:  November 10, 2013

The name is entered last name, first name, followed by Personal Interview.  Last, enter the date, using the day month year format.  Abbreviate the month using the MLA approved abbreviations.  The  components are separated by a comma and a period is put at the end.
Example  for Works Cited
Mai, Brent, Personal Interview, 10 Nov. 2013.
(If the interview was by phone, use Telephone Interview in place of Personal Interview).

Example for inclusion in the paragraph
The library appreciates the artists lending participating in the Artist Series at the library (Mai).

Basics for Interviewing for a research paper

Decide on your topic.  What information will you need and who is the best resource for that information.

  • Step 1. Call to request the interview.  Tell you potential interviewee who you are and, if they are not on campus, that you are a student at Concordia University in Portland. Explain the topic of your research and request the interview.  If they say, "yes," set up a date, time and location for the meeting.  It's best to find a place that fits their schedule and convenience.  
  • Step 2:  Research the person you will be interviewing and the organization in which they work, if that is relevent.  Having background information will show both interest and give a basis for your questions.
  • Step 3: Write down the questions you will ask.  This shows you are interested in them/their work and appreciate the time they are giving to help in your research.  
  • Step 4: Show up on time for the interview and introduce yourself.  Begin with some casual conversation to create a more relaxed environment for both you and your interviewee.  
  • Step 5: If you brought a recorder/video device, ask for permission to use it. Hand written notes are also an acceptable way of recording your interview.
  • If you're recording, taking a few notes to record the time parts of the conversation are taking place may help when your are replaying the information to write your paper.  
  • Step 6: Ask your questions and take notes during the answers.  Be sure to phrase your questions so they must be answered with sentences, not yes or no.  (e.g. Tell me about...   or What are your thoughts on...) Be polite and LISTEN.  Remember that eye contact is important.   If your interviewee, in answering one of your questions, answers another of your questions, skip the question that has already been addressed, or acknowledge that they have already spoken about the next question, is there any additional information they would like to add.  
  • Step 7:  Conclude the interview by thanking them for their time.  Try to stay within the time that was scheduled.  It will show that you respect the time they are taking to help you with your project.

Source:  Magnesi, J. How to Interview Someone for an Article or Research Paper. (n.d.). eHow. Retrieved from


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