Top interview tips for human rights researchers

Nov. 18, 2019

Interviewing victims of human rights abuse for testimony-based research can be a sensitive matter. To help you get the most out of your sit down interview, we’ve come up with a number of top tips:

1. As a general rule, make sure these sensitive subjects are broached about halfway through the interview.
2. You need the interviewee to be comfortable with you first. Develop some trust.
3. Make sure you do not end on these difficult subjects.
4. You want the interview to wind down before you leave them.
5. Make sure the person is out of that traumatic headspace. You could end the interview with some small talk as a way of transitioning into less emotional topics.
6. ​Never push your interviewee. If certain subjects are really too much, you will need to find another source to fill in the details for you.

Want to give your research skills a boost for future human rights work? Check out CUNY’s free course on human rights testimony.