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How to Cite an Interview in MLA


As you research your academic paper, you may find that using interviews of prominent researchers in your field is a good source of information. You may even decide to interview someone yourself! Depending on the type and manner of publication, interviews may be considered primary sources. Use the container system with the nine core elements when you cite an interview in MLA 8 style.

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Primary Source Interviews

As you know, a primary source is one that contains original material, not an evaluation of a source. In the case of interviews, if you find a published interview in a magazine, check these items to determine if it’s a primary or secondary source.

  1. Was the interview conducted by the author themselves?
  2. Is the interview about the subject?
  3. Is the published version the original one?

Two Types of Interviews

Interview used for research paper

There are two types of interviews that you’ll use for your MLA essay:

  • Personal interviews
  • Published interviews

Personal Interviews

If you interview a person, cite your entry the same way as a personal communication since it hasn’t been published. Three common ways of conducting a personal interview are through email, telephone, and in person.

Example of an Email Interview

Last Name of Person Who Was Interviewed, First Name. “Subject Line of Email.” Received by Name of Person Who Received Email, Day Month Year of Email. Email Interview

Anaya, Rudolfo. “Re: Banning of Bless Me Ultima.” Received by Jessica Carranza, 4 June 2019. Email Interview.

Example of an In-Person Interview

Last Name of Person Interviewed, First Name. Interview. By Interviewer First Name Last Name. Day Month Year of Interview.

Anaya, Rudolfo. Interview. By Jessica Carranza. 4 June 2019.

Example of a Telephone Interview

Last Name of Person Interviewed, First Name. Interview. Day Month Year of Interview. By Interviewer First Name Last Name. Telephone Interview.

Anaya, Rudolfo. Interview. 4 June 2019. By Jessica Carranza. Telephone interview.

Published Interviews

If you want to cite an interview published in print or found online, do so according to the format of the publication. For example, format an interview published in a magazine the same way as any other magazine article. Place the interviewee’s name where the author’s name would go.


Saro-Wiwa, Ken. “English Is the Hero.” No Condition Is Permanent: Nigerian Writing and the Struggle for Democracy, edited by Holger Ehling and Claus-Peter Holste-von Mutius, Rodopi, 2001, pp. 13–19.

Source: ( MLA Handbook)

A Note on Online Interviews

What if you want to cite an interview that was published online? Consider this interview of Rudolfo Anaya discussing the reasons why his book Bless Me Ultima is often banned. Follow this example for how to cite it:


Anaya, Rudolfo. “Bless Me Ultima.” C-Span 2013 LCV Cities Tour. 6 Feb. 2013. https://www.c-span.org/video/?311198-1/bless-me-ultima. Accessed 4 June 2019.

Accurately Cite an Interview in MLA Style

Using personal or published interviews is a good way to give your readers a direct link to your subject’s mind. You can direct your questions to help guide your project and develop your thesis. Cite your sources in MLA format accurately so researchers can readily access your reference material.

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