For my English class, we are working on writing a profile based on an interview we have conducted with an individual. This is a new form of investigation for me, I’m use to doing my own static research on a subject, curating the good from the bad and then polishing the result into something someone would maybe want to read. It’s been the same process since high school.
With writing a profile, it’s different. The person you’re interviewing is a living, dynamic individual. Even if you go into an interview with thirty of the best, most relevant questions to ask your subject, you are almost guaranteed to never get to all of them and to be sidetracked down a different avenue of their life before you’re through. This is one of the most addicting parts of doing this form of research; the type of the information you find depends entirely on where you, and the subject, steer the conversation.
As I sit in my chair with my iPhone’s microphone recording the interview, I’m quickly switching gears between asking questions and scratching down notes next to the time of the interview they’re relevant to. Later, when I go through the arduous task of transcribing a 30 minute audio file, it’s like going back into a time machine. I get to fly back through the timeline of our conversation and pick out that one specific thing they said about their home life, or that experience they had in college; all perfectly recounted in their own words.
Other than the fact that the whole process takes a substantial amount of time, researching by means of interviewing individuals has to be my new favorite way to gather information.
—Wednesday, 1 February 2012