Interview Preparation /
DOI link for Interview Preparation /
Interview Preparation / book
Interviewers often are chosen for their knowledge of interviewing and their backgrounds on the interview topics. Given these initial qualiﬁcations, if the interviewer already is knowledgeable about the history of the reservation and tribe, why is interview preparation needed? Regardless of the type of information collected, whether it is archival, ﬁrst-person information, or traditional stories, interview preparation helps the interviewer get fully ready for each narrator and for each new interview. Interview preparation is a busy time for an interviewer. It involves a number of tasks, many of which take place simultaneously. A good place to start is with project orientation and interviewer training (see page 75 for a sample interviewer training workshop agenda). The project leader will want to make sure the interviewer has a thorough understanding of the project and how each interview ﬁts into overall project goals. This information is based on planning decisions, but it becomes more practical at this point. Will the interviewer be collecting ﬁrsthand information or traditional stories? Based on this, how should the interviewer prepare for the interview? Is the narra-
tor’s information expected to be sensitive, and how should the interviewer handle it? What are the tribal and project protocols? What about unexpected information, especially if it is culturally sensitive or sacred? How should the interviewer handle a situation like this? All of these issues can be covered in interviewer training sessions. The interviewer should be prepared to help the narrator fully understand the purpose and the expected uses of the interview. Will it become part of the tribe’s archival collections? Will it be available to researchers, either tribal members or outsiders? Will it be used primarily for educational purposes? Each of these outcomes can have an effect on the interview and how the narrator chooses to communicate the information. The narrators also will want to know if the information is gathered for commercial use. If so, with possible ﬁnancial gain in mind, modern protocols and oral history ethics state that narrators should beneﬁt in some tangible way. Answers to questions like these help the interviewer think about the narrator and the interview. They remind the interviewer that both the narrator as a person and the information given in an interview are important and deserve respect. Also, having an understanding of project protocols helps build conﬁdence for the interviewer, which can translate into a trust relationship with the narrator.