Conducting an Interview

Given that we are bound to our homes for a while, we can use this time to do something we may not be able to do otherwise. I would like to ask you to interview your parent(s)–if you’re in quarantine with them), or your grandparent(s), a friend, or a partner about something related to them you would like to know more about (for example, I could ask my aunt about his travels to faraway places when she was younger). This can be face to face (while physically distancing/masking, please), or via Zoom, FaceTime, or a phone call. It’s up to you.

The topic of the interview can be about their careers (say…a doctor, engineer, or an electrician), travels, culinary skills, stories about migration, hardships, and successes….This about this person’s lived experience, from witnessing events that shaped their lives that YOU (as the researcher) would like to know more about (it can be something that seems to be mundane, like asking someone about their transformation upon becoming a parent, for example). 

The interview can be in any form, but not a transcript. It will need to be done in a narrative form, describing the person youre interviewing and why. Think of reasons why a reader would be interested in the interview. In a way, imagine yourself to be a journalist interviewing someone who is of interest to you. Provide a relevant description of the person, and a narrative that includes your exchange (Q&A) as part of the narrative.  Please remember this is NOT a journalism course, so think of this assignment as one that allows you to take the drivers seat as you try to extract information relevant to your questioning of this person. Interviewing is not only conducted by journalists, and is a very important research tool across disciplines.

Please be respectful of your “human subject.” Interviewing is a skill that you learn better with experience. You have read a great deal on interviewing and can tell what are “good” interviewing techniques vs. the bad ones, so I’m leaving the structure of the interview entirely up to you. Ask at least 5 substantive questions (you may add clarifying questions).

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