How to interview family members
Linda Shopes teaches oral history at Penn State University. She warns that its frequently difficult to interview family members. Some distance and nonjudgment is required, she believes.
Although there are thousands of guidelines, Shopes' advice for the interviewer is not to have a structure or outline. Talk informally, go with the conversation, she recommends.
People tend to date their lives by personal and national events, said Kim Lacy Rogers, professor of history and American studies at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. They remember the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, the day Kennedy was shot.
There is much to be learned about the values a family passes down by asking questions about daily life - when did the person start school, did they walk to school, how many cars were on the roads, how long did they stay in school?