Here are a dozen doís and doníts:
as much research as you can before you start your interviews.
whom you wish to interview and in what order.
(Tip: the most important interviews should
be done last).
out your questions ahead of time and in the order you think they should be
asked and never start out with a big, important question. Ease the person
into the interview in a conversational way.
an appointment to do the interview.†
After introducing yourself, explain briefly what story you are
all the questions you have written out but be alert.† Youíll find that added questions often
will pop into your mind as the interview unfolds.
sure to have enough paper and pencils or pens.†
- Use a
tape recorder when appropriate and ask permission to use it.† Donít totally rely on the tape
recorder.† Be on the safe
side.† Take notes.†
- Be a
good listener, but donít let the interviewee ramble.† Try to draw out specifics:† How much, how long, when, etc.
mental or written notes about the person (gestures, mannerisms) and the
place (color, size, decorations, furniture, etc.).
contact information in case either of you wishes to contact the other at a
later date with new, added or corrected information.
forget a photograph.† If you are
having someone else take a picture at a later time, make the arrangements
at the end your interview.
the interview is still fresh in your mind, go to a quiet place to review
and reconstruct your notes.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Copyright, 2003, MIT Media Laboratory