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FYS 1007: Uncommon Experiences, Community Identity

Resources and information focusing on exploring communities for FYS 1007.

The Interview Process

When you prepare to interview, think about both where you will do the interview and also the questions you will ask. Below are a few sites that may provide useful information.

Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide A handy overall guide to the process.  Look particularly at the section Some Possible Questions
The Heart of Oral History: How to Interview  Chapter 3 from Oral History for Texans by Thomas L. Charlton. Access provided by Baylor's Institute for Oral History
Interviewing Mom and Grandma: Oral History Tips "Instead of asking who, where, and when, I should be asking these women why, how, and what"

Basic Interviewing techniques

This video, while doing an interview about a specific event, provides many useful interviewing tips.


General tips when you interview:

1. Avoid  Yes/No questions.  Focus on Who, What, Where, When, and Why.  "Do you like Columbus?" isn't a very useful question - it isn't well thought out (they are part of the community after all) and it is a closed question.  "What are your thoughts about Columbus?" gives more room for the person to answer.

2. Prepare your questions ahead of time, even if you know the person.  This helps you avoid closed questions and helps you focus one what you really want to ask.

3. Avoid compound questions.  For example, "What do you think about the travel ban and how this impacts your family"  These are two separate questions.

4. Watch for your own assumptions. The clip played in class is about assumptions from some food pantries about their clients.

Citation Styles

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