Concerns and Hopes in interviewing Peter Pearson

Dear reader,

this Thursday will be a big day to me, as it I will be conducting my first interview.
I will be interviewing Peter Pearson, who retired at the age of 54, finishing a great career within the army which took him to all parts of the world. At the moment he has a few honorary jobs, for instance as Lieutenant of the Tower of London. As he had a short, but very intense career, I hope to learn a lot about him, and his visions on a range of topics.

To start, I hope to hear how the life within the army is and as he was in Bosnia and Albania in the height of the battle in the end of the nineties, I hope to hear his visions of life on a mission. How this differs from the papers, but also how this affected his personal life. Firsthand interviews of the army nowadays could complement knowledge of the army that already exists. Furthermore, it could give a insight into a fairly closed off institution and hence giving insight into another community in society.

During the interview, I hope that I will be able to listen carefully and follow Peter’s pacing. If I am flexible to his answers, set challenging questions and probe where needed, I hope to be able to create a narrative interview and not a dialogue – which I am used to in daily life.

Furthermore, silence is important to generate time to think and draw out a further comment. I am concerned I can not maintain my silence. If I interrupt Peter, or frequently repeat what he just said, I will probably lose his trust hence not being able to get the truth I would have otherwise obtained.

In general, I hope to pick up on important topics indicated by Peter himself and grab opportunities given to deepen major themes. This will hopefully prevent the interview from wandering off into irrelevant topics or moments where I put out leading questions by accident. I hope this will get me behind stereotyped generalizations and into detailed memories.

Well, even considering my hopes and concerns, I look forward to this interview.



2 Comments on “Concerns and Hopes in interviewing Peter Pearson”

  1. nicolaraimes2013 says:

    How did it go Stephanie? Any tips for those of us who are yet to do our interviews? Anything you might have done differently?

    • It went very well! I had a really good ‘click’ with Peter, we got a long very well. Maybe too well, as we did not get very far in his life. (Only until his thirties in 1,5 hours, so I am seeing him again on Tuesday)
      He was telling a lot of stories – and we did not have enough time to get behind the stories. Because what he told about his parents, his wife; are stories he already had told over and over. So next time I hope to have more time, to get behind the ‘usual stories.’
      I also caught myself asking leading questions and maybe too eager to ask another question.
      He was telling his stories very broadly, maybe getting of track. But it were very nice stories, so I am not sure if I should have interfered to get him back; because I liked what he told.
      So I would recommend knowing really well what you want to get out of the conversation. Maybe I didn’t too much…

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