Office of Oral History
Role of the Interviewer
Remember that your job as the interviewer is to guide the interviewee, not to be a participant in a conversation. Your voice should be heard sparingly, and the best way to achieve that is to think carefully about what questions to ask, how to word the questions to get the fullest response, and in what order to ask the questions (flow of the interview).

Location, Location, Location
Choose a place that is quiet with minimal distractions. DO NOT conduct interviews in public places, such as restaurants or cafes. Be aware of open windows, slamming doors, kitchen noises, utensils, squeaky chairs, fans and air conditioners, pet birds, traffic, open spaces and high ceilings that cause echo sounds, etc.

How to ask Questions
It is often how you ask the question that accounts for the richness of the answer. Below are some ways to ask questions that can be quite helpful, and also some techniques to avoid. Always try to keep in mind that the person you're interviewing knows more about their life and connection to the subject than you do, and if you give them sufficient berth with your questions, they will often provide information on matters you couldn't anticipate. Click here for question tips.