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Research and Citation

Questions for Interviews

  • ask open ended questions
  • avoid questions that can be answered with "yes" or "no"
  • don’t ask multiple choice questions
  • don’t fish (= give the answer you want in the question)
  • be prepared to change the direction of your questioning: insert follow-up
  • repeat back what you've heard for clarification or more detail
  • be brave!

Snow, Shane. "The One Conversational Tool That Will Make You Better at Absolutely Everything." Lifehacker. Lifehacker, 20 Dec. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2013.


• Confirm time and place
• Dress nicely
• Bring paper, writing utensil and recording device (optional)
Even if you are counting on using a recording device, bring backup. 

Tips for Recording Interviews

Take notes by pen/pencil and paper as your primary memory helper for what your interviewee says.

Use your phone recording app as a backup only. 

  • Test your recording device. Download Just Press Record if you choose (and have permission).

  • Make sure your phone is fully charged.

  • Make sure you have enough data space to store the file when it is finished. (Thanks, Margot Herried!)

  • Voice Recorder is a recommended, free app. Evernote will also record voice notes well. VoiceMemos on iPhone will not work for a long interview.

  • Whatever app you use, test it before your interview.

  • And make sure that the app actually started recording. At the end, pay attention to which button you are clicking! 

At the Interview

  • Introduce yourself
  • Thank the interviewee
  • Greet them and ask them how they are. Treat them as a person, not just a subject.
  • If applicable, ask if you may record the interview
  • Briefly recap your project and overarching question
  • State your goal for your time together
  • Ask the questions you wrote, following up where appropriate


  • Thank them for their time.
  • Ask if there is anything else they would like to add.
  • Graciously depart with all of your belongings.


Immediately after

  • Sit down and review your jottings, clarifying and elaborating
  • Send a thank you email

That Evening 

  • Listen to the recording
  • Take notes from the interview categorized according to your subquestions (not by your interview questions!)