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How to Conduct an Interview


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How to Do an Interview

1. Write your subject's name and the time and date of the interview at the top of the page.

2. Prepare ahead of time appropriate questions considering what you already know, and what you want to find out.

3. Bring extra blank paper with you. You may need more paper than the page or pages with your interview questions.

4. Take notes on what your subject says. It's better to write phrases, not whole sentences. Get the main idea, or summarize what you hear. To get your subject's approval, paraphrase what you have heard before you write it down.

5. Ask your subject to repeat what he or she said if you missed it.

6. Ask your subject to help spell or explain unusual words.

7. If you think of a new, important question during the interview, ask it. Write the question and the answer on your interview sheet.

8. Thank the subjects for sharing their time with you.

9. Revise and edit your work using correct punctuation. Use direct discourse int eh answers using quotation marks.


Preparing for Interviews: Ideas for Teachers

Create the questions in class using brainstorming techniques. At this point, introduce the concept of "open-ended" questions.

Open-ended questions will include starters such as:

what kind

how

what are some examples

why

what is

when

tell me about

Open-ended questions avoid yes or no answers.

Students may write down what they already know, and use it as an introduction to the subject of the interview.

Use the technique of "questioning the questions." This requires taking a look at the audience,and making sure that teh questions will not produce repeated answers, or provide already knwon or irrelevant information.

For relatives that live far away, the students may write letters, and send extra paper with self-addressed envelopes for answers.

Students may tape conversations and transcribe them later on.



"How to Do an Interview:" A Checklist

1) BE PREPARED: with questions.

2) INTRODUCE YOURSELF: by name, where you come from, the project you are working on.

3) KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO FIND OUT: Remember that people like to talk about themselves and their past. If you have specific information you want to find out, make sure you keep them on track. If you want general information, you can let them ramble, but not for too long!

4) BRING A GOOD PEN OR PENCIL AND A NOTEBOOK: It will take a while to train yourself to write quickly and to record the most important points.

5) BRING A TAPE RECORDER and tapes. Good historians transcribe their interviews word for word, including the "ahs" and "ums."

6) MAKE EYE CONTACT: Even though you will be writing a lot, try to keep looking at the person you are interviewing as often as possible. They'll know that you are listening and you won't forget what they look like.

7) WRITE DOWN OTHER DETAILS: such as the date and time of the interview, some general descriptions about the person, and where the interview is taking place.

8) SAY THANK YOU and ask for the person's PHONE NUMBER, in case you have follow-up questions or need clarification.

Next: Do's and Don'ts for the job interview - Interview Preparation - How to Prepare for an Job Interview


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