Step 1: clarify the focus of the interview

For example, water as a natural source of energy or the countryside when I was young etc. looking in particular at the local environment.

An interview will have a much greater chance of success if the teacher has clarified in his/her own mind what the purpose of the interview will be. Teachers might choose to use oral history to add an extra dimension to

• A detailed study of a particular period, for example life in the countryside in the 1950’s

• An integrated line-of-development study: for example, a study of farming in the locality through the ages might include interviews with a farmer / farm labourer

• A study of local buildings or places, for example interviews with the workers from a closed factory, interviews with farmers who remember the mill as a mill and not as a heritage centre or where the mill stream once run, whose natural energy drove the local mill wheel and whose waters provided many a supper trout

• Make children aware of some simple instances of change and continuity in aspects of their everyday lives

The detail of the questions to be pursued by the children with the interviewee should be worked out by the pupils under the guidance of the teacher (see step 3 opposite), but the teacher must have a clear idea of the way in which the interview will contribute to the study. For example, an old woman who agrees to be interviewed about her childhood in the Dublin of the 1950s might be asked about her home, food, clothes, the games she played and her memories of school.