Things to do Ahead of the Interview

Decide on your objective. What is your topic? Will this oral
history be used for personal knowledge or is it for others' use? Topics

Get a little background information on the person you will be interviewing. If this is a close family member it should be no problem. If not, a phone call or visit to get acquainted would be helpful.

Organize a list of s you would like to ask. This will help you to stay on the topic during the interview.These should be open-ended s. An open-ended is one which begins with when, where, why, how, or what. Open-ended s can not be answered with a yes or no. Do not give this list to the narrator. You want your oral histories to be spontaneous. You can, however, share some ideas of what you will be talking about with the narrator so he/she can begin thinking about the topic.

Set up a place and time for the interview with the narrator. This should be a place where the narrator is comfortable and should be relatively free of distractions. Perhaps the narrators home would do. The interview should last no more than an hour.

Practice using the tape recorder, digital voice recorder or video camera before the date of the interview.



Preparation Recording Equipment Interviewing techniques After the Interview