PhD Candidate in American Studies

Oral History: What to Expect

Oral History: What to Expect

Interview Timeline

24-48 hours beforehand, I will call to confirm our interview meeting time and location, as well as ask if there are any questions you have before the interview.

On the day of the interview, I will arrive at our scheduled location, where there will ideally be a table and two chairs. To get the best sound quality possible, the location will also be a quiet space. While I set up the recording equipment, you will read over and sign a release form for the interview. I will bring two copies of the release form with me, so that both of us will have a copy of the form for our records. I will ask if you have any questions about the form or the interview.
We will then begin the interview (includes a mic check), which will last approximately one hour, although you may stop the interview at anytime.
If you decide to participate in a second session involving family photographs, we will coordinate the logistics of that interview when we are finished recording.

After the interview, you will receive an audio copy of your interview in the mail to keep and share with family and friends. This may take a few days to weeks, based on the post office. If you participate in the second session, you will also receive high-quality scans of the photographs you choose to speak about over email the following day.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does an oral history interview take?
Interviews take a little over an hour and are often conducted by one person with an audio recorder. I recommend that you reserve 1.5 to 2 hours for the full visit, if possible.

Where do the interviews take place?
In a quiet setting in town, or in your home.

Who will your interviewer be?
Your interviewer will be me, Ida Yalzadeh, a PhD Candidate in the Department of American Studies at Brown University. By participating, you will be helping me research for my dissertation on Iranian Americans living in Los Angeles.

What kind of questions will I be asked?
I will respond to those subjects you wish to discuss; I am interested in the everyday experiences of your life in Iran, in the United States, and everything in between. It's okay if you cannot remember specific details and/or names.

What are my rights in the interview process?
This is your story, how you want to tell it. You do not have to answer any questions you don't want to, or talk about anything you don't want to, and you can stop the interview at any time.

What happens after the interview?
You will receive your own audio copy of your interview in the mail a few days to weeks after the interview takes place. If you participate in the second session involving family photographs, you will also receive high-quality scans of the photographs that you choose to talk about in the interview. Your interview and/or photographs may be featured in my dissertation, if you want.
I will be in continued contact as I move through the writing and eventual publication of my dissertation. I will leave my contact information with you during the oral history session.

Have more questions?
Please feel free to contact me at (805) 669-6725 or

Template for FAQ section generously provided by the Oral History Summer School.