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: 69


Full Name:
The memoirs retold in the 10th meeting of “Oral History of Book”

Fourteen years of follow-up for a book

According to the website of Iranian Oral History, the 10th meeting out of the second round of the meetings “Oral History of Book” was the second session of talking with Mrs. Mahdieh Mostaqni Yazdi, the owner of Karnameh Publications and Roozbeh Zahraee, the son of the late Mohammad Zahraee, the late head of Karnameh Publications. The meeting was held with the attempt of Nasrollah Haddadi, a writer and researcher in the Institute of Book House on Wednesday 28th of June 2017.
36 years were passed...

A Memory of June 1981

According to Oral History Website of Iran, ceremony of 36th anniversary of tragedy of June 28, 1981 (the 7th of Tir 1360 (SH)) and martyrdom of Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini Beheshti and a group of Islamic Revolutionary helpers was held in memorial place of the martyrs of June 28, 1981 in Cultural Institute of Shohadaye Hafte Tir, which is located in Sarcheshmeh intersection of Tehran, before a group of the martyrs families of the tragedy, national officials and people in the evening of Wednesday, June 28, 2017.
The 281st Night of Reminiscence of Sacred Defense Was Held (Part II)

With the Memoirs of Line Breakers; From South of Iran to South of Syria

Sediqeh Samii who was the second narrator in 281th night of reminiscence for sacred defense told his memoirs as follows:" I hold M.A in the field of nursing. I was a junior in collage while the Islamic revolution of Iran were being headed for victory. One of friends said me that they had established a group and needed a nurse. He asked me to join with their group; I accepted. We went to visit garrisons, because they were busier than other places.
Memory Night held in presence of Supreme Leader

Whatever has really happened should be narrated

On the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the liberation of Khorramshahr, the third program of the Memory Night of the Sacred Defense was held in presence of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in Imam Khomeini Hossianieh on 24th of May 2017, according to the website of Iranian Oral History.