Interviewing as a Research Method
Interviewing as a research technique is a very powerful tool when writing a document because it allows you to obtain information that may not be available elsewhere in text. Interviews provide the opportunity to obtain new information on your topic directly from a primary source.
Important Steps in Conducting an Interview: In order to conduct a successful interview, you should take time to prepare in advance. There are several ways to prepare for an interview.
Do Your Homework: First, obtain a general understanding of the person you will be interviewing and your topic of interest. Educating yourself on who you will interview, their background, and how it pertains to your topic will allow you to ask more detailed questions.
Generate Questions: Once you have obtained some background information, create a list of questions you can ask at the interview. It is often helpful to brainstorm a list of many questions, then decide which ones are most relevant to your topic. In addition to questions concerning your topic, consider formulating some fun and interesting questions. These types of questions serve to “break the ice” at the beginning of an interview and may even be incorporated into your document if you are working on something like a newsletter.
At the Interview: Now that you have formulated a list of relevant questions and familiarized yourself with your interviewee, you are ready. Ideally, a recorder should be used in the interview process. If you do not bring a recorder, remember that you will not be able to write every detail but rather will jot down key words and phrases or just listen carefully.
After the Interview: Immediately after the interview, spend time writing either a summary of the information you obtained or a rough draft of your document. After just a few days the details will escape you; therefore, relying on only your memory is typically not effective.