1. Determine who should be interviewed.
2. Prepare a list of questions for the interview. Prepare 8 - 12 questions or follow-up questions on your topic for an interview of 15 - 20 minutes in length.
* Ask questions that require more than a yes or no answer.
* Ask brief questions.
3. Establish rapport: eye contact and empathetic listening.
4. The interviewer should ask one question at a time.
5. The recorder should take notes during the interview.
6. Start with noncontroversial questions; save the delicate ones, if there are any, until later in the interview. Try to end on a positive note.
7. Do not let brief periods of silence fluster you.
8. Do not worry if your questions are not as beautifully phrased as you would like them to be for posterity (even if you are recording the interview.)
9. Do not interrupt a good story because you have thought of a question or because you are straying from the planned outline.
10. When the individual does not understand a question, rephrase the question using other words. Sometimes, giving a brief example may help to clarify your question for the interviewer.
11. Follow-up questions may be necessary if a response does not provide you with the answer to a question.
12. At important points in the interview, try to establish what is eyewitness information and how much is based on reports of others.
13. Do not challenge accounts you think may be inaccurate during the interview.
14. At the end of the interview thank the individual for his or her time.
15. Immediately after the interview, review the interview with your interview partner. Make as many notes as possible while the interview is fresh in your mind.
16. Determine what information from the interview is important to your presentation.
AUDIO AND VIDEO TAPE RECORDING
1. Practice with the tape recorder or video camera.
2. OBTAIN PERMISSION IN WRITING TO RECORD THE INTERVIEW BEFORE THE INTERVIEW STARTS. Clarify how the audio or video tape will be used.
3. Record full name of subject, your name, the location, and the time of the interview at the beginning of the tape. This is important for good record keeping and documentation.
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