Talking to people who remember events of long ago is a good way to learn about the past. In every community live people with valuable stories to share about their lives and their experiences. You can learn about your town by interviewing people who have recently immigrated to your community.
Select and research a topic. The best interviews are those which select specific topics to pursue in depth. You don't get a good answer if you ask someone to "tell me about the old days". Focus your interview on a specific topic. In this case, the topic is immigration
Step 1 - Select a Person to be Interviewed
If you don’t know of someone in your community to interview, your teacher can help you find a person.
Step 2 - Get Permission
Whenever you interview someone, make sure you have their permission ahead of time to talk to them about their lives and to quote them. If you are planning to tape the interview, be sure to get permission for that as well.
Step 3 - Prepare Interview Questions
Asking the right questions is the key to a good interview. The best questions are those that are specific. Try to avoid questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” Because you have studied the topic of immigration, your questions will be focused and clear. Here are some examples to get you started:
- When were you born?
- Where were you born?
- Tell about your family, children, parents, spouse, etc.
- Did relatives live close to one another when you were growing up?
- What games did you play as a child?
- What sort of things did you do for fun as a child?
- What is the best memory of your lifetime?
Step 4 - Conduct the Interview
Step 5 - Summarize Your Findings
View an example
of an Interview Summary.
As soon as possible, write up a summary of the major points of the interview. If you taped your interview, use the tape and your list of questions as a guide in writing your summary. Be sure to write about the most important points the person talked about.
Step 6 – Share Your Interview Summary with Your Classmates!