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Prepare for the Interview

  • List the missing information you need to write your lifestories.
  • Who are the people who might provide you with this information? Prioritize your list according to how knowledgeable your interviewees are likely to be about the information you need and how “interview-able” you feel each of these persons are.
  • Plan ahead. Set up interview times. Ask the interviewee to bring memory jogs. Anticipate problems you are likely to encounter from other people and from the location where you will be.
  • In what ways could other people contribute to the success of this interview? Think of who they are and invite them.

At the Interview

  • In the previous exercise, you set up an interview. Now, based on the information you need, make a list of questions to ask during this interview.
  • If you intend to bring an audio-recording device, use it at home first to ensure that you are comfortable handling it and that it works. Make sure you have enough memory available on the device for a long interview. Arriving with a nearly full memory is not what you need.
  • Review your list of questions. If you are not used to asking open-ended questions, practice wording each one on your list as an open-ended one.
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