Oral History Interview & Importance Part 15

How to ask questions?

Hamid Qazvini
Translated by Natalie Haghverdian


How to ask questions has always been an issue of concern for interviewers. Despite having tens of good questions in hand, some interviewers fail to ask them or to receive a proper response to their questions. Asking the question the wrong way or in no proper time might seriously affect the interview process.

The following points have to be taken into consideration while asking questions.

  1. Questions shall be asked in a manner to be fully understood by the narrator to enable them to give a proper answer.
  2. When direct questions might lead to sensitivity, they have to be raised indirectly.
  3. Asking multiple sensitive consecutive questions shall be avoided.
  4. General questions shall be avoided.
  5. In order to ease the narrator, permission shall be granted by them to ask sensitive questions.
  6. Precipitancy and excitement shall be avoided in an interview session and asking questions.
  7. Questions shall be asked calmly and transparently.
  8. Don’t shy away from asking questions.
  9. Borderline or trick questions shall be avoided.
  10. When the response to a question is not compatible, ask the question once again by further elaboration and definition.
  11. When you don’t clearly percept the intention, ask the narrator to elaborate.
  12. Ask the narrator to elaborate on the technical terms.
  13. When local dialect or foreign words are used, ask the narrator to define them to provide an integrated understanding of the terminology for the audience.
  14. When names of non-prominent features are stated, ask the narrator to give the full name and briefly introduce the individual.
  15. Arrangement of the questions shall encourage the narrator and avoid boredom.
  16. Let the narrator finish before asking the next question.
  17. Intervene to stop the narrator in due and proper time.
  18. Observe silence to give narrator time to think and concentrate on their response.
  19. Avoid unnecessary activities or movements which might affect narrator’s focus.
  20. When the response to one question is incomplete, keep asking questions respectfully to get there.
  21. It might help to ask the question in different forms to receive a full response.
  22. Questions shall be pre-outline.
  23. When the narrator raise a new subject which is unexpected, let them finish and then return to the main subject and continue your query in its right path.
  24. Avoid arguments with the narrator since it might affect their mentality and perspective and eventually the interview.
  25. When the narrator states wrong dates or incidents, refer to them in respect. For instance when the narrator is mistaken in the date of an operation or an incident; for example, when the narrator states that Khoramshahr was liberated in Fath Olmobin Operation and not in Beyt Olmoghadas.
  26. Finish the interview with easier and light questions.


Oral History Interview & Importance Part 1 - Oral History, Path to Cultural Dialogue

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 2 - Characteristics of an Interviewer

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 3 - Selecting a Subject

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 4 - Narrator Identification & Selection

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 5 - Goal Setting

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 6 - Importance of Pre-interview Data Collection

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 7 - To Schedule & Coordinate an Interview

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 8 - Required Equipment & Accessories

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 9 - Presentation is vital

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 10 - Interview Room

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 11 - Pre-interview Justifications

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 12 - How to Start an Interview

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 13 - Proper Query

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 14 - Sample Query

Number of Visits: 1728


Full Name:
Memory Telling of Zahra Almasian, Veteran Lady of the Holy Defense

Relief in Khorramshahr and Abadan

The first young years of Zahra Almasian coincided with victory of Islamic Revolution and beginning of the imposed war by Saddam Army against Iran. She began working in several fields in Abadan in early days of invasion of Iraqi Baathist in Iran. But as Khorramshahr situation became critical, which was at high risk more than Abadan, she goes to Khorramshahr for relief, and after several days of activity under heavy fire of the enemy, she is injured there.

Research Literature & Oral History

We are constantly dealing with oral history texts that, if included in the historiography circle, their genealogies are missing. Perhaps under appreciation of the most important part of the writing, which is a major contribution to the endurance and validity of the text, has been neglected. Negligence and hurriedness, have caused a lot of work not to be desirable. To this end, we try to recall in this succinct series, the literature of research in accrediting the text.
Three books included memories:

"The Seeds of Pomegranate", "You Are Iranian; Are not You?", "Thirteen in Seven"

By reading this book, you will be familiar with books "The seeds of pomegranate", "You are Iranian, Are not you?" and "Thirteen in seven". These books include memories about Saddams army imposed war against Islamic Republic of Iran.
First chapter of oral history films of Isfahan Bazar unveiled

Accompaniment of oral and visual history

According to the website of Iranian Oral History, “the ceremony for unveiling the first chapter of the collection of oral history films of Isfahan Bazar” attended by a number of veterans of the bazar and organized by Assar Khaneh Shahi Museum (the Center for Studies of Isfahans Public Culture) was held in the Conference Hall of the Central Library of the city of Isfahan on Sunday 29th of April 2018.