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The Routledge Guide to Interviewing: Oral History, Social Enquiry and Investigation (Routledge, 2014)


by Anna Bryson and Seán McConville

The Routledge Guide to Interviewing sets out a well-tested and practical approach and methodology: what works, difficulties and dangers to avoid and key questions which must be answered before you set out. Background methodological issues and arguments are considered and drawn upon but the focus is on what is ethical, legally acceptable and productive:


  • Rationale (why, what for, where, how)

  • Ethics and Legalities (informed consent, data protection, risks, embargoes)

  • Resources (organisational, technical, intellectual)

  • Preparation (selecting and approaching interviewees, background and biographical research,  establishing credentials, identifying topics)

  • Technique (developing expertise and confidence)

  • Audio-visual interviews

  • Analysis (modes, methods, difficulties)

  • Storage (archiving and long-term preservation)

  • Sharing Resources (dissemination and development)


From death row to the mansion of a head of state, small kitchens and front parlours, to legislatures and presbyteries, Anna Bryson and Seán McConville’s wide interviewing experience has been condensed into this book. The material set out here has been acquired by trial, error and reflection over a period of more than four decades. The interviewees have ranged from the delightfully straightforward to the painfully difficult to the near impossible – with a sprinkling of those that were impossible.


Successful interviewing draws on the survival skills of everyday life. This guide will help you to adapt, develop and apply these innate skills. Including a range of useful information such as sample waivers, internet resources, useful hints and checklists, it provides sound and plain-speaking support for the oral historian, social scientist and investigator.

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