1. Background Oral historians should conduct background research on the person, topic, and larger context in both primary and secondary sources
2. Training Whether conducting their own research or developing an institutional project, first time interviewers and others involved in oral history projects should seek training to prepare themselves for all stages of the oral history process.
3. Narrators Oral historians should choose potential narrators based on the relevance of their experiences to the subject at hand.
4. Communication Before any interview takes place, you should inform your interview subject of the purpose of the interview, the general subjects to be covered, the time and place of the interview, how the interview will be conducted (will it be taped, video taped?), and what will be done with the information. After securing the narrator’s agreement to be interviewed, the interviewer should schedule a non-recorded meeting. This pre-interview session will allow an exchange of information between interviewer and narrator on possible questions/topics, reasons for conducting the interview, the process that will be involved, and the need for informed consent and legal release forms. During pre-interview discussion the interviewer should make sure that the narrator understands:
- oral history’s purposes and procedures in general and of the proposed interview’s aims and anticipated uses.
- his or her rights to the interviews including editing, access restrictions, copyrights, prior use, royalties, and the expected disposition and dissemination of all forms of the record, including the potential distribution electronically or on-line.
- that his or her recording(s) will remain confidential until he or she has given permission via a signed legal release.
5. Equipment Before the interview, interviewers should become familiar with the equipment and be knowledgeable about its function.
6. Questions Interviewers should prepare an outline of interview topics and questions to use as a guide to the recorded dialogue.