Oral History Interview with Lynda Turner by Noah Chapman
Process: What did you learn about the technical parts of conducting an oral history interview? What aspect did you find most challenging? What aspect was most enjoyable?
I learned that the order of the questioning is essential to obtaining a successful interview. If your questions aren’t arranged in such a way that the questions seem to bounce off of each other, the interview will feel more like an interview than a casual conversation. I didn’t find too much of the actual process to be challenging. The only challenging aspects were in the fear of the interview not working according to plan. The most enjoyable aspect to me was the actual interview. While already, my interviewee was very interesting and informative, I also surprisingly felt comfortable during the whole process.
Content: What did you learn about the topic that you didn’t already know?
Something that I found new and insightful from my interviewee was how she found a brighter side to seeing her family during this quarantine. She would normally have to travel very far to see family, but due to the pandemic, she has been participating in video chats with her family. While this wasn’t the first time she could have used this tool, the situation initiated the motive and now seeing her family is less pressure and much easier to make contact.
The experience overall:
It was interesting how the interview made me feel so authoritative. I got to initiate a conversation and I had control over the discussion.
Suggestions for improvement: What recommendations do you have? If your instructor uses this assignment in future FYS sections, what changes would you recommend?
My only recommendation that I can think of is that maybe in the future, have more than just two themes to choose from. I think that this gives students more of a chance to find themes that they are most passionate towards.
Finally, talk to a future FYS student about this project: What would you like to tell them about this assignment? What tips and/or advice would you offer a future FYS student as s/he begins examining oral histories and prepares to conduct one?
I would tell them that this assignment can be challenging, but it can also be a learning experience. If you put in your all when taking on this class, you will be just fine.