PART II: Great Interviews/Great Questions - StoryCorps
PART II: Great Interviews/Great Questions

PART II: Great Interviews/Great Questions

Prepare students to conduct great interviews by selecting and asking “Great Questions,” identifying an interview partner, and creating thoughtful titles, summaries, and keywords for future historians and researchers.

Students can complete this entire project through the StoryCorps App interface and their corresponding user accounts at Students can select interview questions, summaries and keywords directly in the App, so they are ready to go on interview day.

How To Prepare

  1. Distribute the Make History with StoryCorps handout as an overview of the project for students and as a reference for their recording partners.
  2. Prepare students for their interviews by choosing a recording partner, making a plan for interview day, and identifying great questions to ask. We have three different tools to support this:Interview Planning Worksheet The Great Questions handout
        • Great Questions Generator in the

    StoryCorps App

  3. Students will need to reach out to their recording partner in advance to plan a date, location, and time for their interview. When contacting their recording partners, students should describe The Great Listen and provide a few sample questions to let their partners prepare for the upcoming interview.
  4. Learn how to download and use the StoryCorps App by practicing in class and use the resources on our App page.
  5. Emphasize the importance of creating a thoughtful interview title, summary, and set of keywords after recording. Review the Using the App & Keywording 101 handout

Interview Practice Activity (In Class)

Four Tips for an Effective Interview (5 min.)
How to ask open-ended questions that help
you guide your subject through personal
stories and share in a great conversation.

Title Watch Download
Q & A (3 min.)
12–year–old Joshua, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD),
interviews his mother, and they cover everything from
cockroaches to Sarah’s feelings about Joshua as a son.
Tips for Active Listening (4:30 min.)
Tips from StoryCorps on how both
people—interviewer and interviewee—can
contribute to having a great conversation.
The StoryCorps App: A Recipe for Success (1 min.)
Ingredients for The Great Thanksgiving Listen:
a quiet place, you, someone you love, and
the StoryCorps App.
  1. Watch the videos above.
  2. Pair students up randomly and designate one as partner A and the other as partner B.
  3. Using the Great Question Generator in the StoryCorps App, at, or the Great Questions handout , instruct each student to select 3–4 questions to ask their interview partner.
  4. Remind students to use the skills they learned in the videos and to ask follow-up questions (e.g. Can you tell me more about that? Why do you think that happened? What do you mean by that?)
  5. Practice interviewing! Partner A should start by asking questions of partner B. Switch after 3–5 minutes: partner B asks questions of partner A.
  6. Debrief: Facilitate a short discussion using the following prompts:
    • What is one thing your partner did during the interview that was effective?
    • What challenges or surprises did you encounter during your interview, and how did you work to address them?
    • What is the significance of what you talked about during your interview?
    • What is one thing from this practice interview that you want to remember for when you conduct your interview over Thanksgiving?