Confidentiality and approvals

Before conducting the interview, you will have told the interviewee exactly what will be done with the interview and/or profiles. In some cases, you will have promised him/her that no one except you and your professor will read either the transcript or finished profile. In other cases, the two of you will have agreed that this profile will part of a larger class project and will be read by other students or practitioners participating in that project. In any event, your signed consent agreement should have specified who will see this work. You must keep this agreement!

Do I change names or leave them as they were told to me?

This depends on your agreement with the interviewee. In general, unless the interviewee specifically requests otherwise, names of people, places and organizations should be left as they were told to you.

What do I do about sensitive information?

If an interviewee has said during the interview, “don’t include this,” don’t include it! If you are concerned that something in the profile might be problematic for the interviewee or for someone else they were talking about, then highlight it. When you return the finished profile to the interviewee for review, ask him/her specifically whether it is OK to include or should be removed.

Can I share my transcript, profiles or the stories I heard with others?

No. You must keep whatever level of confidentiality you promised the interviewee. This means you must not share the transcript, the profile, or the stories they told you with anyone except those who have specific approval to see or hear them.

If you want to share the profile – or any part of it – more widely later on, you must go back to the interviewee with a new consent form for his/her permission. This can happen if you later decide that you want to share the profile with other students or colleagues, want to include it in a profile collection that is being published, or want to excerpts from the profile in other course papers, research projects or journal articles.

When and how do I check the edited profile with the interviewee?

You offer the interviewee the chance to review the profile after you complete whatever editing you think is necessary and before you consider the profile “final.”  Most people find emailing the profile as an attached Word document easiest, but you can also snail mail a “hard” copy.

It’s important, however, to make sure that your interviewee understands what you are trying to create. Often, people find that reading their speaking voice sounds odd or even worse, “unprofessional,” and they are be inclined to “re-edit” it.

Here are two excerpts from the cover notes that we’ve sent to interviewees along with the review text to help them understand what we would – and would not – like them to do in the review stage:

Sample 1: If you want to make changes to clarify or extend a point or add a sentence, please just do it “in a speaking voice,” so that the style isn’t jarring and remains accessible. That accessibility is one of the things that students have loved about this material (to say nothing of the powerful stories!).

Sample 2: I loved talking with you last month. Here is an edited version of your story for your review. Please note: most people find it odd or uncomfortable at first to read their "speaking voice." However, this is what we're trying to capture -- and what seems to reach readers most powerfully. So while you're certainly welcome to make corrections and/or add clarifiations, please resist the urge to edit this into more formal language.