Some guidelines for conducting an interview

Hi Class,

Obtaining information by direct questions is a form of primary source material, so you may want to conduct a short interview with a person connected to your topic/site. You may conduct the interview in person, by email, or by phone.

Conducting an Interview:

1. Determine your purpose, and be sure it relates to your research question and perhaps even your hypothesis.

2. Set up the interview well in advance. Introduce yourself cordially and professionally. State who you are and why you want to conduct an interview.  Specify how long it will take, and if you wish to record the session–always ask permission to record or photograph.

3. Prepare a written list of factual and open-ended questions. Brainstorming or freewriting can help you come up with questions. Leave plenty of space for notes after each question. If the interview proceeds in a new or different direction, don’t panic, let the person speak. Do not feel that you have to be prepared for every question or response.

4. Record the subject, date, time, and place of the interview.

5. Thank the person that you interview (in person or by email). Be professional in all interactions.

6. Very important: right after the interview, sit down and rewrite your notes and reflect on the interview. If you do not do this now, you will forget vital information. Do this while it is fresh.

Cheers,

Sean

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