Tips for interviewers:
Ask open-ended questions that will lead to concrete answers.
Example: What was your childhood home like? Who else lived in the house with you? What did your bedroom look like?
Consider the order of questions. The progression of questions is important for establishing rapport and eliciting memories. Start with fact-based warm-up questions before moving on to more complex questions. You can choose two or three of the suggested questions below to get the conversation started.
Listen more than speak. Allow time for the interviewee to fully answer the question.
Listen with curiosity. Be willing to go “off script” and follow the direction of the conversation with follow-up questions.
Tips for interviewees:
Try to be as specific and descriptive in your answers as possible. Feel free to expand as much as you like.
Tell me about your parents. What was your life like growing up? For example, describe a typical day when you were 10 years old.
What was your childhood home like? Who else lived in the house with you? What did your bedroom look like?
Who lived in your home and what were they like?
How would you describe the area you grew up?
What is your earliest memory?
Tell me about a teacher or other adult that impacted your life while you were growing up.
If you could go back and relive your teenage years, would you? Why/why not?
Did you get into any trouble growing up? What was the worst thing you did?
What lessons did your time in the military teach you? Did it change you?
How do you feel the political climate affected your life?
Where were you and how did you feel when you heard that Chiang Kai-shek had passed away?
Where were you and how did you feel when you heard that martial law had ended?
How did you meet my mom/dad?
How and why did you immigrate?
How did you feel about leaving Taiwan?
How did you feel when you arrived in America?
What was the biggest difference between your life in Taiwan and your life in America?
What surprised you most about America?
What was your favorite and least favorite part about America?
What were unexpected challenges of raising children in America?
What were some of your favorite and least favorite parts about raising me?
Tell me about a time that I made you upset.
Tell me about a time that I made you proud.
Of all the family members you have either known or heard stories about, who do you think lived the most interesting life? Why?
Who were your favorite relatives? Do you remember any stories they told you?
What is your most vivid memory of your parents?
What do you miss the most about your hometown?
What is your biggest regret?
Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
What do you see as our family’s legacy?
In what ways did you want to ensure that my childhood would not be like your childhood? In what ways did you want to ensure that it would be similar?
How has your life been different than how you imagined it would be when you were young?
What was one of the most important lessons you’ve learned in life? How did you learn them? Describe an experience that led you to this realization
How do you identify ethnically? i.e. Taiwanese, Taiwanese American
When you think of being Taiwanese American, what comes to mind?