There are more ways to
gather information than from your text or your teacher. Experts, grandparents,
historians, scientists, authors, and many others all have interesting and
important stories to tell. To get the most out of interviewing these people, you
need to consider a few things that will help you get the most out of your
Preparing for the
- Make an appointment with the person (it is rude to
just show up and expect the person to give you their time).
- Learn a little about the person before meeting
- Know what you want to get out of the interview ahead
- Write your questions down before the interview, but
be prepared to take a different path of questioning if necessary.
Conducting the Interview
- Be on time, and be prepared with paper and
- Be friendly and courteous - remember they are giving
you their valuable time!
- Ask your questions clearly.
- Don't interrupt! Really listen to your subject!
- Ask specific, thought-provoking questions. Avoid
- Try to stay focused, but if something interesting
comes up go with it.
- Take good notes. Ask the interviewee to repeat what
they said if necessary, but only do this when it is something important.
- Don't volunteer information unless it is to get the
interview going, to get it back on track, or to give background
information relevant to your goals.
- Obtain all the information needed before ending the
interview. If necessary, review your notes with the person.
- Thank the interviewee for his/her time.
The 2013 Addendum:
- Don't ask veterans about
killing unless they volunteer the information first.
- Ask about actions instead of
feelings, particularly with older generations.
- Meet relative strangers or
strangers in common areas and with other group members or parents. Be safe.
Do not go into people's houses if you don't know them or without parental
Start with easy questions (even small talk) and then
make questions more harder / controversial as you go.
Ask an Expert advice Many experts are offering their time to students.
If you have this opportunity either in a chat room or e-mail, you should follow
the above advice, with the exception of getting straight to the point. Don't
waste time "getting to know" the expert. Ask your questions and move