Historical Event Interview
Historical Event Interview for COMM 342 (Informational Interview Assignment) Overview In this assignment, each student will interview one person about how an historical event affected that person. Historical events are defined as things that have happened in the past that made a difference in the lives of a large number of people. (Examples: Vietnam War, Civil Rights movement, 9/11, Desert Storm in 1991, the invasion of Iraq in 2003, any major hurricane, the Aiken ice storm in 2013, the election of Barack Obama, the floods in Columbia.) Objectives The objectives of this assignment are to: • practice researching information for an interview • prepare a moderately scheduled interview, paying particular attention to the phrasing of questions and the planning of possible probes. • gain real-world experience conducting an interview of 30 minutes or more. • use note-taking skills, then summarizing the information gained from your notes. • give you the opportunity to gather not just facts, but a person’s perceptions and his or her stories. Procedures Your goal is to gain an understanding of your interviewee’s recollections, significant memories, and emotional reactions to the event. You want to understand how the event influenced the person and his/her life. You want to know the stories, his or her individual pieces of our collective past. Steps to follow are: 1. Do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the historical event, so the interview can focus on stories and reactions, not on telling you about the event. Learn about the individual if you can. If Granddad was a Navy Seal, you ought to know that before beginning the interview, as well as knowing what a Seal does. 2. Schedule your interview. Identify a place where you can conduct the interview effectively. Remember how different kinds of noise may affect the outcome of your interview. Make sure it will be conducive to good interviewing for the duration of your interview. 3. Prepare a moderately scheduled interview: the opening, major primary questions, several anticipated probes, and the closing. Consider the order of your primary questions and be able to name the pattern and sequencing of your interview schedule. 4. Conduct the interview. Tips: a. Get to the interview early. b. Be appropriately dressed and well prepared. c. Have your interview schedule with you, along with materials for note-taking and (optional) tape recorder or charged phone, batteries. d. Remember: You are creating an impression. You represent both yourself and USCA. 5. Prepare a written report that includes: a. Final version of the interview schedule b. A short (2- 3 pages) recounting of the person’s recollections. Do not try to include everything the person said. Focus on a few memorable events, stories or recollections. Be sure to get enough details and quotes to bring the person’s story to life. Do not write a transcript of the interview. Tell a story. Remember the three parts of any communication. c. A separate section (2 pages) of your reflections on yourself as an interviewer. Possible inclusions might be your assessment of your preparation, the effectiveness of your opening, whether your questions drew the kinds of responses you expected, and the comfort you had with the closing. Assess what you did and what you could do better. You may also want to assess your listening skills and your note-taking abilities. Evaluation Your product will be evaluated on how well you prepared your interview schedule (30 points); how well you present your interviewee’s recollections, perceptions and memories (30 points); and how completely and critically you assessed yourself as interviewer (30 points). Writing quality, organization, and grammar count (10).