Oral History Interview & Importance – Part 26

Interview Report

Once the interview process is over, it is essential to draft a report on interview status and methodology; the report shall contain the data on idea emergence to narrator identification and contact and interview conduct which shall be archived as the background of the project and submit it to relevant organizations. This report shall be drafted by the interviewer and it is important to inform the project sponsors and beneficiaries.

Oral History Interview & Importance – Part 25

Ending the Interview

Oral history interview like any other activity has an ending. The ending is as important as its beginning. It is not an exaggeration to compare it with a musician who starts a piece in lento and then progresses to allegro and then back to lento at the end. In oral history interview, the beginning shall be slow in a natural pace to maintain its framework and assist the narrator in recalling memories.

Oral History Interview & Importance – Part 24

Mental Stimulation

Our mind is more active and productive while we enter into a dialogue with others. The more satisfying the dialogue would be for both parties, there is greater interest to pursue. Hence, oral history interviewer shall promote satisfaction in the narrator to entice them to continue the interview and stimulate their mind. Various studies indicate that in case of and effective dialogue, people enjoy a better mental and psychological status which reinforces memory.

Oral History Interview & Importance – Part 23

Arguments with the Narrator

One thing that the interviewer shall seriously avoid is long discussions and argument with the narrator. In some cases the narrator insists on the credibility of their information and perceptions and the interviewer has a different idea based on their sources of information. In such cases, both sides might insist on their position and interrupt the interview.

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 22


Sometimes the senility or mal-health or weakness of the narrator limits the time of the interview during which breaks shall be considered for the narrator to rest. I remember in my interview with an old political feature we had to cut the recording every twenty minutes to give him time to rest. In another interview, the narrator fell asleep. I mean, he closed his eyes and stopped talking. The interview team perceived that he is thinking and we waited but moment later we realized that he has fallen sleep. Also, an old veteran was anxiously telling us his story that suddenly he suffered loss of energy and we had no choice but to constantly cut the interview. Hence, due consideration of the narrators physical and emotional status is crucial.

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 21

New Questions

Obviously, the questions shall not remain limited to the list and during the interview the interviewer shall come across new questions and issues for which he has to raise questions to achieve further elaboration and clarity. These questions are based on the narrators story and rise through careful detection of his speech. Also, by asking new questions and expressing points which further elaborate what the narrator has said the research will demonstrate interest into the story which will encourage the narrator to share more.

Oral History Interview & Importance – Part 20

Listening Carefully (2)

It is recommended to nod during an interview or express verification such as “yes” or “that is right” to show that you have fully understood the narrators intention and are interest in the interview. Note that reacting to what the narrator is saying promotes the spirit and ensures them that the interviewer is listening carefully. Bear in mind that the average pace of speaking is between 125 to 175 words per minute. While the thinking speed is between 400 to 800 words per minute.

Oral History Interview & Importance - Part 19

Listening Carefully (1)

Most of us falsely believe that we are good listeners while hearing someone is different from listening. Hearing is the ability of receiving voices while listening requires deep focus and employs other senses. Hearing is an accidental and involuntary incident and includes all the noises and voices we receive from our surrounding; while listening is an active action in a well-informed process which occurs based on our will.

Oral History Interview & Importance – Part 18

Application of Body Language (2)

Nodding or head movement is a sign of interest in the interview and attention to the interviewee. Also, it shows that you have actually understood the interviewee. Some people do it out of habit while listening to others. Make an effort to nod. However, unnecessary movements and excitement are to be avoided. Don’t exaggerate in nodding. It will create an uncomfortable situation.

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 17

Application of Body Language (1)

In our previous note we said that the oral history interviewer shall be well versed on communication techniques and apply them for quality management of the interview. One of these techniques is body language. Below, we present a number of impacts that body language might have and observing them is vital in an interview.

How Imam Khomeini Was Under Siege in Baghdad

Ahmad asked me [Dr. Fatemeh Tabatabai] not to talk to anyone about the upcoming plans and the decisions sometimes made. We traveled from Najaf to Karbala by bus in one hour. All the way, I was worried and anxious. When we returned, Ahmed said: ‘We will leave Iraq in two days.’ I was shocked. I asked bewilderedly: ‘What happened? He replied: ‘The situation worsened in these two days, the siege has become more intense, ...
A memory from Mohammad Reza Yousefi

Stealing medicines from the city pharmacy

In the days after the Islamic Revolution, many people remember that young people gathered in different parts of the cities, and each one represented a group: groups such as the Tudeh party, Monafeghin or the hypocrites, the Fedai Guerrillas, the Democrats, Hezbollah, etc. each of which debated with each other with different political opinions and worldviews, and sometimes physical conflicts occurred between them during the debate. I was also interested in such street debates.

An Intelligent Demonstration

The people of Kurdistan did not have the courage to attend the demonstration due to pressures the regime had put on them. Whenever there was a demonstration across the country, there was no news in Saqqez until we, as the exile who were 10 to 11 people, decided to hold a demonstration there. When we started to demonstrate, two-three police cars had turned on their lights and followed us along with ...

Feeling of suffocation in runnel

Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan
Saturday and Sunday, 9th and 10th of Dey 1357 (December 30 and 31, 1978) had coincided with the first days of the lunar month of Safar 1399. It had been four or five days since we left the sit-in. The regime showed terrible and intimidating behaviors and confrontations. On the other hand, we also prepared a big rally, which ended at Khorasan Governorate. From the first days of the Dey, the Pahlavi ...