Avoid using personal communication as a reference unless it provides essential information not available from a public source. This includes e-mails, discussion lists, lectures or lecture notes, interviews, letters, conversations.
If you decide you must use a personal communication, do not make it a formal numbered reference; instead give the details in the running text of your document. Check with your instructor that it is acceptable to use this type of source. Also, since this is “personal” and not public communication, you should obtain permission from the source.
Include the nature, date, and source/name of the person of the cited information, and use a term or terms to indicate clearly that no corresponding citation is in the reference list. Place the source information in parentheses in the text.
… and most of these meningiomas proved to be inoperable (May 15, 2012 letter from Richard Grant to me; unreferenced), while the few that …
That the outbreak occurred in London at this time was later verified (e-mail to Matthew Hart from Stephen Savieri, March 17, 2012; unreferenced).
The most frequent causes that inspire a spirit of volunteerism (Dr. Jennifer Bloggs, lecture notes on service learning, Wilkes University School of Pharmacy, May 18, 2013; unreferenced) appear to involve…
Public health practitioners often express frustration at these issues (lecture presented March 7, 2010 at the University of Adelaide; unreferenced).
Recommendations based on inadequate evidence often require reversal when sufficient data become available (personal interview with CDC Director Thomas Frieden, June 24, 2013; unreferenced).
In a conversation with a colleague from the School of Population Health (Laurence Jameson, July 25, 2013, oral communication; unreferenced), it was established that he was not under consideration for the position.