- Locate a veteran (someone who has completed their term of service) who is willing to have his or her story archived in the William H. Berge Oral History Center’s “Veterans Studies Collection.”
- Here are some questions to ask the first time you meet your veteran and prior to developing your script. Include the answers in your selection paper:
- What was their branch of service and military occupational specialty (job)?
- Were they enlisted or an officer? (Do you yourself know the difference? It matters to the veteran.)
- Did they serve in war or peacetime? Get the years of service. Get the major duty stations. Do not accidentally imply that one form of service is superior to another by making assumptions.
- Did you familiarize yourself with major global events that occured during the years your chosen veteran served? These historical details likely influenced the nature of your veteran’s service and will help create good questions.
- Make it clear to the veteran that you are expected to archive their story using their name, and that this is a requirement on your part.
- Explain to the veteran that they have the right to restrict the interview in terms of when it is placed in the public repository and with whom it is shared. They can also ask to have their interview removed from the archive at anytime by simply emailing or calling the oral historian. They retain the right to their story after it is published. However, if your veteran says they are not willing to use their name and sign a release form (either for immediate publication, delayed publication, or posthumous publication) you need to locate a new veteran.
- Write a short essay (one-page, double-spaced, 12 font) organized with an introductory paragraph and clear body paragraphs and using proper spelling and grammar. Answer these questions: How did you locate the veteran? Why do you think the veteran wants to tell his or her story? What do you hope to learn about the veteran’s experience? Where/when do you plan to meet? What questions or concerns do you have as you are preparing for the interview? Or clearly state that you have no concerns.
- Read the Interview Script Instructions and Preparing for Interview document in its entirety.
- Remember that you are creating something historical.
- Ask meaningful questions that researchers and future generations may want to know about your interviewee’s military experience.
- Ask open-ended questions in which the veteran can just talk—”tell me about…” instead of questions that could have a short one or two word answer.
- Make contact with your interviewee ahead of time to discuss what you and he or she wants to talk about and is comfortable recording.
- Your Interview Script will contain all of the following:
- The Interview Lead – This is a standard introduction that must be stated verbatim at the start of your interview. See the wording in the instructions.
- The Basics – These questions cover basic demographic information about the veteran. Only ask the interviewee to answer those questions with which they are comfortable recording.
- Documenting Experiences – Include at least 20 questions that document the veteran’s experiences. You will select a total of at least 10 questions from the “Documenting Experiences” lists provided, then, come up with at least 10 questions of your own (please bold these original ones). Base the questions on what you and veteran have decided should be talked about in the interview. The questions should help to elicit a deeper understanding of the veteran’s identity, cultures, and experiences using the themes you have learned in the course to help guide you. War experience should be part of this interview if appropriate, but make sure to avoid topics the veteran has stated are off limits.
Upload the both the short essay and the script as a single Word document here prior to the due date listed on the semester calendar.
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