Search

Follow STTBooks on Twitter

Our Author's Guide

view on Amazon.com

This form does not yet contain any fields.
    « The Role of an Editor | Main | What if I Can't Remember? »
    Saturday
    Feb142009

    An Interview, Using Oral History Techniques

    The situation: Say that you have decided to help a relative to record her memories. You’ve agreed upon a time to get together and you have a list of questions ready. Before you go, you might want to consider a few tips for interviewers like yourself, offered by the Regional Oral History Project at the University of California, Berkeley.

    • Interviews usually work better if there is no one present but you and your relative.
    • An interview is not a dialogue. The whole point is to get the your relative to tell her story. Limit your own remarks.
    • Ask one question at a time.
    • Ask brief questions.
    • Start with questions that are not controversial; save the delicate questions (if there are any) for later in the interview.
    • Don’t let periods of silence fluster you. Give your relative a chance to think of what she wants to add before you hustle her along to the next question.
    • Don’t interrupt a good story because you have thought of a question, or because your relative is straying from your outline.
    • End the interview at a reasonable time. An hour and a half is probably the maximum.

    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments

    There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Post:
     
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>