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The Interview Process. This is how you do it! . Planning . Interview subject(s) Interview family members who can provide you with interesting and engaging stories and experiences. Seek out people who are good storytellers.

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The Interview Process

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    1. The Interview Process This is how you do it!

    2. Planning • Interview subject(s) • Interview family members who can provide you with interesting and engaging stories and experiences. • Seek out people who are good storytellers. • Remember, the stories can be positive or negative, happy or sad, serious or humorous, etc.

    3. Planning, cont’d. • Preparing interview questions • Ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this interview?” • Then, make a list of specific questions. • What about the subject’s experiences would you like to learn? • For oral histories and personal experiences, begin questioning at a general level (gather background information first) and then move to the more specific. • Make sure you have open-ended questions and NOT questions with yes or no answers in order to get the subject talking. • Also keep in mind the kinds of information an interview can provide better than other sources like anecdotes, strong quotes and descriptive material. • Be sure you go into the interview prepared and focused.

    4. Types of Interviews • Conduct face-to-face interviews. • If the relative does not live here, then either video chat with them or conduct the interview over the phone. • Interviews that are not done face-to-face are very difficult. To gain the full interview experience, you must complete the interview face-to-face.

    5. Setting Up Interview • Through phone call, letter, or face-to-face interaction, explain your project/purpose. • Set up your interview ASAP. • If you wish to record your interview, ask permission to do so prior to the interview.

    6. During the Interview • Interviews are conversations so do not be alarmed if you end up not using all of your questions. • Think of your questions as a guide but since an interview is a conversation, be prepared to ask follow up questions and to just talk to your subject. • Be a good conversationalist. Demonstrate to your subject that you really want to learn from him or her.

    7. After the Interview • End the interview by verifying your information. • Ask if you can contact him or her with follow up questions. • Make sure that you have noted direct quotes. • AND, always thank your subject.

    8. Note-taking • You can use a tape recorder, a note pad or both. I think a combination of both is effective. • We will practice, in class, note-taking techniques. Practicing on your own and devising abbreviations and shortcuts for words and phrases are also helpful. • If you are organized prior to the interview and prepared with writing utensils, a list of questions, etc., note taking will be easier. • We will do this next time.

    9. Analyzing the interview and preparing to write the paper: • What are the most important things you learned? • What, if anything, surprised you? • Can you relate to anything your subject discussed? Have you had similar or different experiences? • What does the interview contribute to your understanding of education? • What questions does interview raise? • What information and/or direct quotes were most powerful or important? • What do you want your readers to learn from this?