Prior to this course, I never thought about the information gathering that goes into a media project, and I especially did not consider how interviews would need to be conducted in order to gather the information from experts. When conducting an interview effectively, I think it is important to establish a rapport with the interviewee and work to make them feel comfortable from the outset of the interview in order to get the most information out of them. If you have built up a rapport with someone, it will likely be easier to draw them out if they seem quiet. By helping them to feel comfortable, especially someone who is quiet, you are putting them in a position to feel as though they can open up and share information. As DiZazzo mentions in the textbook, there are a few key techniques for interviewing – which I have personally used in my professional life and in research for another course in this program – such as recording the interview, using open-ended questions, and keeping it simple. From the beginning, I think it is important for the interviewee to understand that goal of the project and how the information they are providing fits into it, which could also help to combat hesitancy. Another technique that is very valuable to getting insightful answers is guiding the discussion and making sure to ask questions that set you up to get the answers that you are looking for, especially as the person who has the overall scope of the project in mind.
The interviews that I conducted for the Research Methods course last semester proved to be effective, and they followed many of the techniques shared by DiZazzo. I recorded the interviews, which allowed me to go back and listen, and really guided the questions, which allowed me to get the information I was really looking for (going in prepared with an interview guide helped tremendously here), and keeping the questions open ended. I have had a few ineffective interviews, especially when interviewing prospective students for Admissions, when they didn’t necessarily understand the end goal or why I was asking the questions I was asking. From this, I’ve learned how important it is to share the purpose of the interview and how it relates to the project or situation overall.
In addition to completing interviews, you can also gather information about a subject by doing research. There are a variety of ways to get information from subject area experts that don’t involve you specifically doing an interview. Research can be done through books, websites, blogs, or even listening to other interviews that experts have completed through something like a podcast.