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            Conducting the Information Interview Modules

Each module addresses one stage in the information interview. Although these stages appear in a linear fashion, you'll likely find yourself back and forth between stages. For example, after researching the topic, you may find you need to revise the statement of purpose.

Stage 1: Determining the purpose. As the interviewer, you must identify why you are conducting the interview(s) and what form the final product will take. Because the interview is a cooperative interaction, phrase the purpose so that others, such as your interviewees, can understand it.

Stage 2: Researching the topic. In this stage, interviewers conduct background research on the topic to develop an interview guide. Questions, the heart of an interview, are based on the interviewer's previous research. Demonstrating a basic understanding of the topic can motivate the interviewee to participate.

Stage 3: Selecting interviewees. After researching the topic, interviewers identify who has the information they want, if interviewees are available, and how willing and able interviewees are to provide information.

Stage 4: Structuring the interview. Unstructured, impromptu research interviews typically fall far short of achieving their purpose. Effective interviewers develop an interview guide for each interviewee, listing primary questions and possible probing or secondary questions based on the interview's purpose and previous research conducted.

Stage 5: Conducting the interview. This module provides guidance in implementing each part of the interview: opening, body, and closing. Flexibility is key to a successful interview. Good interviewers practice active listening, critical thinking, and effective notetaking during the interview.

Stage 6: Preparing the report. In this stage, you must analyze, evaluate, and synthesize all the information you've gathered for your project. Then, based on ethical principles associated with information interviewing, determine what information to include and what to edit out.

Stage 7: Presenting the report. After completing the report, identify the most effective methods of presenting the information.