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REL 401 (Nickodemus): Tips on Interviewing & Surveys

Faith for Life

Preparing for the interview

Preparation is the key to gathering the data in an interview.*

1. Gather information on the organization and the people it serves. 

  • Look for journal and news articles using the Community Service tab in this research guide
  • Visit the organizations website if one is available

2. Contact the person(s) you wish to interview to set up a time and place convenient for them. 

3. Read over your research and construct questions.  Word your questions so they cannot be answered by a Yes or No to allow you to gather more  information.  Write down the questions and practice asking them before the interview.  Practice is most effective when you ask them to another person.

4. If you plan on recording the session instead of  taking notes, remember to ask permission before the interview day. (Reminder:  Personal names should not be included in your paper)

5. Be courteous of their time.  Plan on arriving on time and timing the interview to be over on or before the time allotted.

6. Conducting your interview:

  • Ask for clarification if you don't understand the answer given
  • Relax if there are moments of silence.  The interviewee may just need time to think about their answer.  
  • Listen carefully.  If the interviewee includes an answer to one of your other questions, either pass over that question, or ask if they have anything to add to their previous information.
  • Remember to have eye contact with your interviewee.  Make the experience as much of a conversation as possible, blending the end of their response into your next question.

7. Even if you're recording, take a few notes to highlight what is being said.  It will help you locate key comments later when you're compiling your research  for your paper.  

8. Review your research and your interview notes, and highlight quotes you'd like to include. Your paper should focus on answering what causes the issue you are analyzing, and what you suggest as remedies to help this community. 


*Scholastic. "How to Conduct an Interview."

Writing the survey

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