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The Art of the Ethical Interview

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Class: PWR 1/PWR 2

Activity brief description:  The first part of this activity is a student-led discussion about why and how we would use interviews as primary sources in a research-based argument; the second part is a small-group activity where students share ideas, questions, and contacts for people they might like to interview and begin to generate a list of questions. The third part is a general over-view of practical interviewing tips from the New York Times website. (We discuss how these tips can be applied in an interview for an academic or scholarly article.)

Schedule: This activity works best in the fourth or fifth week of the quarter, when students already have a solid grasp of their project and have just begun to compile their sources.


Activity length:  It’s a full class for PWR 1; one hour for PWR 2 (I shorten the discussion in the beginning.)


Activity goals: Help students gain experience practicing ethical interviewing (and a rhetoric of listening) as part of the research and writing process while also encouraging critical thinking around primary and secondary sources.


Activity details: See handout.


Additional notes:


This activity was originally published as an Activity of the Week in fall 2014.