METHOD 15: Interviews

Interviewing provides direct learning and personalizes human rights issues and history. Those interviewed might be family, community members, activists, leaders, experts, or witnesses to human rights events. Participants need to be clear on the goals and desired outcomes for their interviews and to prepare in advance with key questions. They also need to plan how they will document the interview and to understand the ethical implications of how they use the information they obtain. Interviews might be conducted by the whole group, teams, or individuals who later consolidate and compare their results. Careful preliminary research and preparation of questions is essential to effective interviewing.

1. Oral Histories: Interviews with eyewitnesses to history can build a nuanced picture of an issue or event that reflects many points of view. Prepare participants by discussing oral history techniques, doing background reading, and comparing interview questions. Consider publishing these, perhaps in collaboration with local historical societies.

Examples of Method:

ABC: "Councils and Courts," "Speakers," "Once upon a Time."[www.unhchr.ch/html/menu6/2/abc.htm]

Bells of Freedom: "Big People-Little People."[erc.hrea.org/Library/Bells_of_Freedom/index.html]

Here and Now: "Getting to Know the Activists Among Us."[www1.umn.edu/humanrts/edumat/hreduseries/hereandnow/Default.htm]