US Homefront WW2 Unit - Basic Rules of Oral Interviews, Handout #2 Illustration

Basic Rules of Oral Histories
Be Prepared, Be
Considerate, Review

  1. Do your research. Know what questions you want to ask in advance

  2. Prepare your questions. If possible, provide the questions to the person you are interviewing to give them time to think about it and remember.

  3. Bring paper, pen, pencil or whatever equipment you need to the interview.

  4. Explain everything. Explain the purpose of the interview when you first contact the person, and again before the interview.

  5. Make the person comfortable. Be sure they have a comfortable chair.

  6. Use your best manners.

  7. Go quickly over the notes you made in the interview to make sure you have everything correct.

  8. If possible, contact the individual again after you have written your piece to make sure all your details are correct and to fill in any pieces that may be missing.

Some Information from Through My Eyes, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Co-Sponsored by the National Archives-Central Plains Region and the Johnson County Museum System, reprinted by permission. All Rights Reserved.