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This guide will assist students in Prof. Borgia's WGST 1100 course with their oral history paper.

During The Interview Checklist and Resources

A helpful checklist for your interview:

  • Provide an introduction for your recording including your name, the date, interview name, location, your relationship to the interviewee, and what you will be discussing.
  • Have interviewee sign consent form and understands the purpose of the interview process.
  • Confirm when you start and stop the recording device.
  • Keep the interview to a reasonable length. Be considerate of your interviewee's time.
  • Don't turn off your recording device unless asked. You will need to capture as much as possible.
  • BE PATIENT! Interviewees will not answer questions immediately. Don't force the issue.
  • Maintain eye contact and treat this as a normal conversation. Fill silence with conversational tones and consider how to integrate your topic.
  • Do not interrupt your interviewee.
  • TALK AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. Use non-verbal cues to show you are engaged.
  • When interviewee gestures, make a note for your recording. For examples, if they say "He was this tall" and demonstrates with their hands, say "About 6 feet tall" in your recording


Additional tips for interviews can be found at:

Post-Interview Checklist and Resources

Now that you have completed the interview, a few things to consider:

  • Thank the interviewee in person and discuss how the interview will be used, transcribed, and where, if at all, it will be publicly accessible
    • Make sure you have their contact information (name, number, email) in case you need to follow up on any comments later
    • Offer a transcript of the conversation if the interviewee would like one
    • Send a thank you email or handwritten letter 
  • Write up field notes. This may include:
    • Any comments or opinions about the interview
    • Reflections from the interview or questions still to be asked
    • For each interview session:
      • Your name, interviewee name, date, location, and time of interview
      • Short description of the interview and why he/she/they were interviewed
      • Short description of the interview including themes and key points, unexpected moments, and the overall dynamic of the interview (did they seem nervous? was there a tension? was it very relaxed/comfortable overall?)


  • Save and play your recording to make sure you have it all
  • Upload your recordings to several spaces (LMU Box, MyLMU Google Drive, etc.) in case of error
    • Upload original formats and export to mp3 for later use on different devices
    • Name your files clearly with name of interviewee, location, time, date of interview. Ex: JoanSmith_Feb13_17_Interview1_Childhood

Additional post-interview resources can be found here: