Step Four: Practice

Well Fed Community Garden

No garden experience? Practice interviewing your classmates about favorite foods, holidays, or hobbies. In her story, Amanda B. interviewed the garden manager of the Well Fed Community Garden in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

In class, pair up and practice interviewing each other, ideally using the same equipment to be used during the actual oral history interview. If you do not have gardening experience, interview each other about a favorite holiday or hobbies. Start the interview with the following dialogue: 

  • My name is (your name). I am here with (interviewee’s name) on (date) at (place) to interview them about gardening [or other topic]. 

Tips for Interview Day:

  • Know your interviewee! Make sure you have their name correct and have done some research. 
  • The interview should feel like a conversation. It is okay to skip around between questions or ask different questions. 
  • Sometimes the best question is “Can you tell me more?” 
  • If you interviewee has paused, allow them to gather their thoughts instead of rushing ahead with the next question. They might be about to say something interesting. 

If you use equipment to record the practice interviews, play the interviews back. Did the equipment work properly? Is the audio or video clear and easy to hear/see?

If you wrote down the answers to the interview questions, share your notes your interview partner. Do your notes accurately reflect what the interviewee said? What can you do to improve your note-taking skills?