STEP 4: How to conduct an interivew
When you first begin doing interviews, you may feel shy and nervous. Even if you are doing the interview in your own house, an interview will turn a familiar place into a formal setting! If you decide to record your interview, you will need to do two things before the interview begins:
• Permission form. The interviewee will need to sign a permission form before the interview begins. If the teacher or school intends to use the interview for anything besides the classroom project, this needs to be explained, too. This form should include full name, contact information, signature, and date.
• Before the interview begins, ask students to do a “tag line” at the beginning of the tape. A standard one: “This is NAME and today is Day MONTH, YEAR, and I’m sitting WHERE with WHO about to do an interview for NAME OF CLASS PROJECT. NAME, do I have your permission to begin the interview?”
Here are some tips on being a good interviewer:
• During an interview, you need to find a quiet place without distractions. All phones and TVs are off. If you are recording, do not have backround music on.
• Throughout the interview, you must work at making good eye contact. Do not act bored! Even if you are interested, you need to work at showing the person you interview that you care. Write out your questions ahead of time and bring extra paper to take good notes on the answers. If you can write down what someone said verbatim, it’s even better, but don’t worry if you have to summarize.
• Don’t judge or correct people. Don’t tell anyone they’re wrong or show disapproval.
• Show them that you’re interested with your body language. How do you show respect and attentiveness? This is the way you want to behave in an interview.
• Active Listening. .Ask follow-up questions!!! If they talk about something that you can tell is important to them, don’t just jump to the next question!
• Take notes on things you want to follow-up on—other questions.
• Don’t dominate the interview by talking about yourself.
• Offer comfort if your interviewee becomes upset.
• At the end of the interview, say thank-you and explain again how you are going to use the interview. Ask if you can follow-up with them if they have any more questions.
Note: Listening to these suggestions is a bit like someone explaining how to do a dance or play a song. Instructions make much more sense when you start to actual do it, so go back to these tips later and you will become an even better interviewer moving forward!