AMA Citation & Reference Style

Citation Tips:



Do I need to ask permission when citing an email or phone conversation?


You should obtain the permission of the author before citing either electronic (email, listserv), written or oral communication.

Email/Personal Communication:

Email/Personal Communication Citation:

When referencing communication from an e-mail or e-mail listserv message, AMA regards them as personal communications and should be listed in the text and NOT in the reference list The in text reference should be in parenthesis and include the name and highest academic degree(s) of the person who sent the message and the date the message was sent. You should also clearly indicate whether the communication was oral or written and include online email. 

Example: e-mail (In text citation)

  • Similar findings have been noted by G. P. Mackenzie, MD (email communication, January 2012).
  • The latest data on the ecological impact of the Gulf of Mexico’s marine mammals shows the affect oil spills have had on the immune systems of aquatic organisms (Gerald P. Mackenzie, MD, e-mail communication, January 2012).

Example: listserv (in text citation)
  • The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) will be hosting an award ceremony announcing the winners of the Innovations in Professional Nursing Education (Susan H. Scherer, MD, AACN listserv, November 29, 2011).

  • Research funding opportunities in the field of nursing education. AACN listserv discussion. January 11, 2012. Accessed January 25, 2012.

Example: oral communication (in text citation)
  • According to the drug manufacturer (C. E. Beaton, oral communication, December 2011), the drug became available in France in May 2010.
  • In a conversation with M. A. Rosenberg, MD (January 2012)....
  • According to a letter from J. P. Mackenzie, MD, in January 2012....


Thanks to the George Washington University Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library for the content of this guide, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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