A Guide to Oral History Interviews

The Holocaust Museum

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has a fantastic guide to doing oral history interviews. Their guidelines clearly focus on interviews dealing the subject of the Holocaust, but there is still so much that can be gleaned from this work.

This guide goes beyond simple interview techniques. It’s hard to illustrate how in-depth it is without simply listing its extensive table of contents. The guide includes two chapters on preliminary interviews and interview arrangements, followed by two more on preparing your questions. The sections on conducting the inteview include advice on “Interjecting vs. Interviewing”, on “Non-Verbal Responses” and “Taking Breaks. Further sections give technical advice, as well as information on how to authenticate a transcript.

For a researcher looking to do professional level oral history work we haven’t seen a better, more detailed guide out there. Please let us know in the comments if you have.

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