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Occupational Folklife Project

Interview Questions

Interviews should be 45 to 60 minutes in length. Below are some suggested questions. Don't worry if you do not cover all of them, or if other work-related issues arise and are discussed during your interview. These questions are meant to provide general guidance and stimulate discussion. You may also find helpful information in the guide Folklife & Fieldwork, available online.

An African American man cuts the hair of and African American woman.
Hairdresser and salon owner Patrick Wellington of Wellington Hair Spa in Manhattan was interviewed for the Occupational Folklife Project "Hairdresser and Beauty Shop Culture in America." Photo by Candacy Taylor.


1. What jobs have you had?

2. What sort of work do you do now?

3. How did you come to do your present job(s)?

4. If you’ve been in the same job for a while, how has it changed?

5. Tell me about when you first started/your first day of work.

6. How did you learn what to do?

7. Describe your place of work.

8. Tell me about your co-workers.

9. Would you walk me through a typical day?

10. What special knowledge or skills are required for your job(s)?

11. Do you and your co-workers have job-related stories, jokes, traditions, or nicknames?

12. What do you like about your current job(s)?  

13. What do you wish you could change about your current job(s)?

14. What was your favorite/most meaningful job?

15. What would be your "dream job"?

16. In the future, do you think your children or other members of your community will do the same kind of work?

17. What advice would you give someone starting in your field/job?


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   September 13, 2017
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