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Conducting the Interview

  1.  Begin by verifying narrator’s consent to record: Illinois law requires this.

  2.  Use your interview guide to move through the interview but focus on listening carefully to the narrator and allowing the interview to flow naturally.

    • Let the narrator do most of the talking—it is their story and history that is of interest.

    • Ask follow-up questions—e.g., “Tell me more about X,” “Can you take me to that moment and walk me through it?” Probing for detail is essential in oral history interviews.

  3.  Immediately after the interview, ask the narrator if they have questions about the information sheet and request that they sign or give verbal consent. 

  4.  Take some time to write down post-interview reflections about the interview. See Box 4.1 of Yow (E-book p. 107) for a checklist to guide your interview reflection.

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