Historical Research Workshop

Learning from Strangers

I found Weiss’sĀ Learning from Strangers to be a very interesting read, especially because it was very informative and enlightening about certain aspects of the interview process when it comes to conducting an oral history. Things such as posing unbiased questions are often seen as basic rules of thumb for interviewing and yet Weiss points out that it is easy to mess this up. He also points out that it is easy for the interviewer to create a bias within the interview through the responses and reactions he or she gives to the respondent’s relay of events. I found that to be a very interesting piece of enlightening information since we usually do not pay attention to our comments. They just sort of slip. He also points out that it is important to create a decent flow of conversation in order to create a successful interview. It isn’t all about the formality. I also found the argument about using the tape-recorder and the long-hand methods to record an interview to be very compelling. Overall, I think that this reading shed a lot of light on things that we, as amateur interviewers, are unaware of.

Leave a Reply