|HOW TO CONDUCT AN ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW
By Janet Sims-Wood, Ph.D.
VARIETIES OF ORAL HISTORY PROJECTS:
TIPS FOR THE INTERVIEWER:
- Learn as much as you can about the
interviewee before the taping session.
- Prepare an outline of questions to ask the
Check tape recording equipment before going to the interview and check it again just
before the interview session begins.
- Keep notes of names, places, events, and
- Listen carefully to the interviewee:
- Follow leads in the conversation.
- Know when to let the interviewee get off the
subject and talk about something else. Interviewee may want to further discuss the topic,
tell a story, or name people who were also important to the topic.
- Gently lead the interviewee back to the
topics you need to cover. After the interviewee tells his/her story, you may need to
restate your original topic and lead into the next question.
- Know when to move on to the next question.
When the new lead has been fully discussed, get back to the questions on your list.