On Research: The Interview Method
Using the interview method to get facts for a research work is highly recommended for writing new, original and authoritative content.
Of course, when your are headed for an interview: be professional. Act like the enthusiastic journalist. Don't be shy to ask questions because if you don't, you will omit the expertise of the interviewee.
Here are some tips:
Select the right person. Be sure he is the right person to provide the information. Plan a meeting /date with him/her. Usually, if someone handles his schedules like a secretary, get an interview date, but better if you can get the schedule directly from the interviewee.
Do your homework. You have to outline your interview questions in advance. Know some details about your topic and about the person you would be meeting. Ask both open and closed questions. Closed questions ask what kind of information you want that gives brief responses. Open questions ask for general information.
Ask follow up questions. If you would like to verify something and want more details, you can always ask follow-up questions. This time of modern technology, follow-up questions can be emailed. The resource person if generous will surely respond and give you more than what you ask for. Sometimes, they give free brochures and cite other significant references.
Take down quotes and notes. Note-taking is very important even if you have a recorder. Note-taking highlights most sought for information and content.
Get a good working recorder, camera, and/or interview tools. Be sure your recorder and camera are fully charged. Don't embarrass yourself by giving the excuse of running out of batteries. The interviewee would always enjoy working with someone prepared. However, some unavoidable circumstances happen. Be always prepared to push through, anyway.
Confirm important assertions. When you ask questions, know when to confirm answers. Ask the reasons why and know the answers carefully.
Review notes. Review notes and integrate materials. Get supporting ideas from additional /quoted reference materials. Think critically and see if sources are reliable. Get only needed facts. Avoid dwelling on "off" content conversations.
The interview/research method in getting facts is truly interesting and teaching. Sometimes, the researcher gets more content than what he/she expects. But if you're not serious at doing this and become so nervous - do practice before the process.
The interviewee would be pleased if you did your homework and could ask intelligent questions. And don't throw your notes, compile and label them properly, there might be cases you would still need them in your research study.
Rose Flores - Martinez