Serving History: A Guide to Conducting and Submitting an Oral History Interview

Capturing Stories, Honoring Legacies


Oral history interviews are powerful tools for capturing personal narratives and preserving the rich tapestry of local history. At, we believe that everyone has a story worth telling, and we invite you to embark on a journey of discovery by conducting an oral history interview. In this article, we will provide you with tips and techniques to ensure a successful interview experience and guide you on how to submit your interview to our platform. Let’s dive in!

Choosing Your Candidate welcomes oral history submissions from individuals who have witnessed or participated in significant events, experienced cultural shifts, or possess unique knowledge about the local community. Consider interviewing:

  • Long-time residents with deep connections to the area.
  • Community leaders, activists, or prominent figures.
  • Veterans, first responders, or those with remarkable life experiences.
  • Historians, educators, or individuals with specialized knowledge.

Preparing for the Interview

Before conducting the interview, thorough preparation is crucial. Follow these steps:

  • Research the candidate’s background and relevant historical events.
  • Develop a list of open-ended questions that encourage storytelling.
  • Use question prompts to delve into specific aspects of their experiences.
  • Familiarize yourself with any available apps or recording devices for capturing the interview.

Setting the Stage

Creating a comfortable environment ensures an authentic and engaging conversation:

  • Choose a quiet location with minimal distractions.
  • Test your recording equipment beforehand to ensure clear audio.
  • Begin the interview with a friendly introduction and explanation of the process.
  • Establish a rapport with the interviewee by displaying genuine interest and empathy.

Conducting the Interview

During the interview, employ effective techniques to draw out captivating stories:

  • Listen actively, allowing the interviewee to tell their narrative uninterrupted.
  • Use follow-up questions to encourage elaboration and delve deeper into their memories.
  • Be patient and allow for pauses, as they provide time for reflection and recollection.
  • Maintain a respectful and non-judgmental demeanor throughout the conversation.

Recording and Documentation

Ensure that your interview is properly recorded and documented for future reference:

  • Utilize reliable recording apps or devices to capture high-quality audio or video.
  • Take detailed notes to supplement the recordings, including key highlights and timestamps.
  • Obtain consent forms from the interviewee, granting permission for publication on

Submitting the Interview

Once you have conducted and documented the interview, it’s time to share it with the world:

  • Visit and navigate to the submission page.
  • Follow the instructions to upload audio, video, and any accompanying documents.
  • Provide a brief description of the interviewee, their significance, and the interview’s context.
  • Ensure adherence to guidelines and terms of submission.


Conducting an oral history interview is an extraordinary opportunity to capture and share unique personal stories, adding depth and richness to local historical records. By following these tips and techniques, you can create an immersive and compelling interview experience. Remember, every voice matters, and at, we look forward to hearing your stories as we work together to preserve our shared heritage.


  • Best Practices | Oral History Association: Link
  • Guidelines for Conducting Oral History Interviews – National History Day: Link
  • How to conduct an oral history interview – JotForm: Link
  • Step-by-Step Guide to Oral History – DoHistory: Link
  • How to Conduct an Oral History Interview – National Trust for Historic Preservation: Link
  • Interviewing Tips and Steps – Guilford College Libraries: Link
  • 10 Steps To Conducting Oral History Interviews – The Bay Area Chinese Genealogy Group: Link
  • How to Conduct Oral History Interviews: Methods and Techniques – LinkedIn: Link