Personal Communication

What is the best way to cite personal communication for example an email or phone call. Is it really even possible with Zotero? Is it worth the trouble as APA says such things do not go in a reference list but are only acknowledged inline, e.g. (J.Smith, July 4, 2015)?
  • Zotero does have items for e-mails and letters (I'd recommend the latter), but yes, I'd not cite these if they are personal letters rather than communication that is to some degree part of the public record (e.g. in archives or online repositories such as e.g. the Clinton e-mails).
  • Good advice Adam. Thanks
    And Regards,
  • In formal writing this is true, however in my master's course we always have a reflective writing assignment and there are many video conference calls to cite and personal conversations so this oversight is a real pain to edit over and over and over and over - you get the point ;-)
  • You can make the letter item type serve as all sorts of personal communication by adding the type of communication (i.e. "video conference", "personal conversation," etc.) in the type field and citation styles will pick this up fine.

    As a question of academic writing, though, I'd still question whether something that can't be retrieved or verified by others in any way should be in the list of references.
  • For academic writing, that really is the fundamental distinction—is it retrievable? If no, then it’s a personal communication that can’t be verified. If yes, then cite it with its archival information.
  • Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. In my case if my tutor requires it then for me 'it is academic'. Perhaps it is required for the practice of adding references regardless of the technical/esoteric argument. I just want it to be easy to add at the end of the writing process without hand typing each one. Zotero allows me to create one and duplicate it 10 times and add a couple words to the title which satisfies the marking. We had video meetings which are not recorded and occassional phone calls which I used 'interview'. Sort of silly but every course in the masters has at least one reflective essay and this crops up. People always find way to use tools in unexpected (wrong :-) ways. Thanks again!
Sign In or Register to comment.