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I'm writing a master thesis where part of the source material is from conversations with employees and is not necessarily written anywhere. What would be the best way to cite this?

I am considering using @misc and just have title="Information from <3-4 people in the company>" and then cite to this whenever I feel it is needed in the paper. Another solution could be to use the preface to thank for the help and explain that some of the information is taken directly from them. However, I feel this is not accurate enough.

Of course I could try and ask them for written information about it, but I fear this would take too much time, since the deadline is not that far away.

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You might also be interested in raising this at Academia.SE. –  gerrit Dec 6 '12 at 12:48
    
These conversations sound rather like 'interviews'. Does your citation style not discuss how to deal with this kind of thing? If not, and if no style that does deal with this kind of information seems appropriate, I'd suggest you talk to your thesis committee and ask for some general guidelines. Ultimately, it is the school/department which must be appeased (for good or ill). Who knows, it might be as simple as including the information in an appendix.... –  jon Dec 7 '12 at 1:22

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Sometimes you get an insight talking to people at conferences, and the category "personal communication" allows you to cite this, possibly using @misc and with the field howpublished as "personal communication".

Here's a website I remember reading some time ago which will give some guidance on the conventions for giving credit, but maybe a person more senior than a research associate could venture an opinion. It may be a matter that varies by discipline.

http://abacus.bates.edu/~ganderso/biology/resources/writing/HTWcitations.html

This question is very similar to another one here Citing personal correspondence with function of cited person via email?

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Solving it with howpublished and "personal communication" and then adding names and title under note is a good idea. Will add a thank you in the preface as well. Thanks for the help. –  steffea Dec 6 '12 at 13:04

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