Homework: Interview a Friend or Classmate

CS 6470: The Design of Online Communities
Professor Amy Bruckman
Due:Thursday, Feb 9th, 2012
Format:Double spaced, 12 pt. font
Approximate Length:Two to three pages

The purpose of this assignment is to help you learn how to do a good interview.

Interview a classmate or friend about his/her online experiences. Try to learn about when this person first started using the Internet, what they initially did on the Internet, how that usage has changed over time, and what they now do on the Internet. What does this tell you about them as a person? What does it tell you about Internet technology? How has this technology affected this person?

Remember to follow the guidelines from Seidman about how to do a good interview, including asking non-leading questions.

You may do your interview via either instant message, in person, or on the phone. You'll get a better quality interview in person or on the phone, but IM works OK. Please use the interview method that you intend to use for your project interviews. Although IM gives you somewhat lower quality data, it saves you transcribing your tape, which is a huge amount of work.

If you use IM, keep a transcript of your IM conversation. If you do your interview on the phone or in person, record your interview. Listen to the tape at least once, and take general notes on what was said. If there are spots where your subject said something especially interesting, transcribe those short sections word-for-word and quote them in your writeup. You do not need to do a full transcript for this practice interview.

To hand in:

  1. Tell the story of your subject's Internet use (approx. one to two pages)
  2. Comment on how your interview went. What was easy? What was hard? What was fun? Is there something you think you could do better next time? Any questions that were poorly phrased? Any topics you forgot to return to? Any times when you interrupted when you didn't mean to? (approx. one page or less)