“Starter” questions for an oral history interview

I thought I would post some ideas to get us started for next week’s seminar on interview questions.

A: Basic Information – perhaps say “I’d like to ask you some questions about your childhood”

  1. Can you tell me your name and address – (for the sound-check)?
  2. What is your date of birth?
  3. Where were you born?
  4. Do you have any brothers and sisters? (Probe: birth order and spacing)
  5. What was your father’s job?
  6. Do you remember your father ever being out of work? (Probe: if yes, how did you manage then? How did that affect your lives?)
  7. Did your mother work?
  8. What did your parents do in their spare time?
  9. Did you go out together as a family?
  10. Did you go on holidays?
  11. Where did you go to school?
  12. What did you enjoy most about school?
  13. What did you dislike about school?

I might then go onto ask more detailed questions under the theme  B: School and Work  to include; hopes on leaving school, part-time work whilst at school , jobs, hours worked etc….

Looking forward to reading other ideas for opening questions.

 

 

 

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3 Comments on ““Starter” questions for an oral history interview”

  1. Graham Smith says:

    Great questions although some could be better:

    e.g. Did your mother work? I take this mean ‘was in employment’? There would be many unpaid jobs that women undertake that have been and still are considered to be work.

    Did you go on holidays? This is a closed yes/no question. How might you reformulate this?

    • Nicola Raimes says:

      Would this be better:

      What paid job(s) did your mother have?

      Can you tell me about any holidays you had as a family – probe: or day trips?

  2. Graham Smith says:

    Great questions although some could be better:

    e.g. Did your mother work? I take this to mean ‘was in employment’? There would be many unpaid jobs that women undertake that have been and still are considered to be work.

    Did you go on holidays? This is a closed yes/no question. How might you reformulate this?


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