Notes for Conducting Interviews

  1. Make sure to have something to record with–either an app on your phone, iPad, or computer, or digital recorder if you have one (not required unless you want to be a reporter or ethnographer). NOTE: Test the device first and do a trial record-run before you do the interview to make sure the device is working. 
  2. Have generated multiple who, what, where, when, and why questions (5 each from members in the group, all different). These can lead to further follow-up questions, but it’s best not to ask yes/no questions. In fact, the best thing to do is not ask questions at all but request a story, for example:  “Can you tell me about a time when you felt ashamed eating Mexican food?” If that doesn’t get a good response, then follow up with, “Can you tell me why you decided to become a vegetarian?” If you begin with “Can you tell me about . . . “ rather than ask questions, you are guaranteed to get responses that won’t be short answers, and which will give you some fantastic stuff to look back over for quoting. (For example, Can you tell me what . . . Can you tell me who . . . Can you tell me when . . . Can you tell me where . . . Can you tell me why . . . Can you tell me how . . . )
  3. Keep the interview no longer than 30-35 minutes. More than that is too long, but feel free to hang out and chat. You will have to review the tape, so you don’t want it to be too long.
  4. Share the file with your partner. With this, you have the material to listen back to for quotes. You will have to type of some of the quotes that you think are important.
  5. Be sure to cite your interview both in the body of your assignment, as well as in the works cited.
  6. Also, feel free to bring in any quotes you may have captured from Ms. Ramirez in class the other day!
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