1. rhapsdyblue
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    rhapsdyblue New Member

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    Advice on writing an interview

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by rhapsdyblue, Jun 23, 2010.

    I am interested in writing an interview but am not sure what is the best way to go about this? Do i just send them my list of questions and let them answer it as they wish? do i have the opportunity to edit their response? what if i have follow up questions? are there guidelines as to how these interviews are conducted? or should i record the interview and transcribe?

    i have "interviewed" people but only as sources for an article i wrote. this time, i have a topic that i think these people would be able to enlighten my readers who are interested in this topic.

    help?:confused:
     
  2. theSkaBoss
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    theSkaBoss Member

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    I think you ought to record and transcribe. That's the best way to get flexibility, after all. Like you said, it'll help when you have follow-up questions. Plus, if you don't actually sit down with them and get the answers yourself, it's not really so much an interview as it is a survey.
     
  3. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the best way is to send the questions in before hand, let them answer them email them back, read them and then go trough the answers together in some IM program. Asking for clarifications, and agreeing on how to edit the answers.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...yes, if you can't do it in person... and even if you do it in person, some interviewees like to have the questions beforehand, so they can be prepared with notes on the answers, if necessary...

    ...of course you do, since you're the one who'll be submitting/selling the interview... but that doesn't mean you can change a single word of what was said... only that you can leave out parts that aren't needed/wanted in the final article, in which case you must insert ellipses where parts of a sentence are omitted... but whether or not any editing is done, the interviewee should be given a chance to look over the final article for mistakes... and any interviewee with half a brain will insist on that as one of the conditions for agreeing to the interview...

    ...no, only your own way of doing it, or following the interviewee's rules, if they set any...

    ...you should always record it, so you won't get anything wrong and can refer back to the tape, if there's any disagreement over what was said...
     
  5. rhapsdyblue
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    rhapsdyblue New Member

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    Thank you everyone for your helpful advice.
     
  6. keepwriting
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    keepwriting New Member

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    I'll share a couple of things things that have helped me:

    First, I always submit a few questions beforehand. I save the good questions for the interview but it is helpful to have the subject ready to go with some biographical or background answers.

    Second, I always hold my interviews in person and record them. Interviewing in person adds a more personal touch to the interview. Questions are posed more spontaneously and the subject must formulate their answers with immediacy. Transcribing the interview may seem like an arduous process - and it can be - but it is definitely worth the effort.

    Third, I always send the transcript back to the interview subject. This is a courtesy more than anything else. I find that sometimes your subject will develop a better answer to a question after the fact - letting them see and propose edits to the interview is a good way to fill in any gaps. Don't forget, though, that you do not have to accept their edits.
     
  7. rhapsdyblue
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    rhapsdyblue New Member

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    thank you, very helpful advice. i have considered sending the questions before hand and they have also asked too. i'd like to do a recorded interview so it could be more of a conversation however, there is one person who is overseas and so calling them would be costly. have to figure out if i can record conversation via skype.

    thank you again. :)
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've been interviewed by email and it works just fine... you may want to try that...
     
  9. rhapsdyblue
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    rhapsdyblue New Member

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    Interview

    is there an etiquette where if i am interviewing someone, i am restricted to publishing the interview in the typical interview fashion? for instance, interviewer question or comment in bold while the interview is in regular text or even italicized?

    I've seen published interviews as written in a more prose format where the author describes what they are doing, where they are, etc. and i may write it that way. i guess i would then have to record it...

    but first, i probably should figure out how i am going to write it first? and then decide how to interview my subjects?
     
  10. Paul
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    Paul New Member

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    As a courtesy to your interviewee you could send them a draft copy of what you have written. I have been interviewed a few times and come to the conclusion that I won't do it again without reviewing the piece. I have been misquoted to the point of not even being relevant or accurate to what I was being interviewed about.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    imo, that's bass-ackwards... after you have all the material on hand is when you should be deciding how to present it... the material itself may well suggest to you how it will be most effectively written up...

    after you have it all on tape and down on paper, then check out interviews in the best publications that are similar to where you want yours to go, and see what your options are... i'm sure you won't be undecided by the time you've done that...
     
  12. kirstypatrick
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    kirstypatrick New Member

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    For our joint blog, my friend and I interviewed each other. Initially, we just sent a list of questions then when we received the answers back by email and edited them, we made it look as though we had been in the room with each other as we asked the questions.

    Hope it helps!
     

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