• 2-minute read
  • 23rd May 2020

How to Cite a Letter, Email or Interview in Harvard Referencing

Letters, emails, and unpublished interviews are all forms of personal communication you might wish to cite in an essay (e.g., if you conducted interviews as part of a study). But how do you cite a letter, email, or interview in Harvard referencing? Follow the tips below to find out.

Citing Personal Communications in Harvard Referencing

In-text citations in Harvard referencing consist of a name and a year. For a personal communication, this could be the sender of a message and the year it was sent, or an interviewee and the year of the interview. For example:

Malcolm Turnbull (2018) confirmed that the policy was never implemented.

The policy was never implemented (Turnbull, 2018).

Notice we do not mention the source type – e.g., a telephone call or letter – in the citation. Instead, we will give this information in the reference list.

Emails and Letters in a Harvard Reference List

The format of a personal communication in a Harvard reference list depends on the type of communication. For emails and letters, the full reference is:

Surname of Sender, Initial of Sender. (Year) Letter/Email to Recipient Name, date of email/letter.

In practice, this would look something like this:

Turnbull, M. (2018) Email to John Smith, April 20.

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Turnbull, M. (2018) Letter to John Smith, April 20.

Interviews and Voice Calls in a Harvard Reference List

Entries for interviews and voice calls in a reference list follow a similar format. The only difference is the type of communication. For example:

Turnbull, M. (2018) Unpublished interview conducted by John Smith, April 20.

Turnbull, M. (2018) Telephone conversation with John Smith, April 20.

You can adapt this format for any kind of communication. For example:

Turnbull, M. (2018) Skype conversation with John Smith, April 20.

Harvard Referencing Proofreading Services

Harvard referencing is a style rather than a system, so it can vary between universities. The version we use for this blog is from the Open University [PDF], but remember to check whether your institution has its own guide.

And if you need any more help with your academic writing, why not ask Proofed’s editing experts to check your referencing?

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