How to Conduct an Interview–for Essay 3

Hi Class,

For Essay 3, I recommend making use of an interview. You may find an interview that has already been published, or you may conduct your own interview with a person connected to your site/subject. In either case, the interview is an excellent way to include a PRIMARY resource in your essay (and in your annotated bibliography). Please note that you need at least one primary resource.

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 (15 minutes is a fine length), 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. I like this follow-up: “Wow, I didn’t know that…can you explain that a bit more?”

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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