Skip to main content


Purpose of the role

  • To interview individuals selected by the project team
  • To record their memories using digital recording equipment provided by the University of Exeter
  • To prepare the recordings for archiving
  • To transcribe the recordings to create searchable text documents

Requisite skills/experience

  • An interest in people and their stories
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • A good understanding of the need for confidentiality
  • Accurate typing skills (for transcribing interviews)
  • Previous experience in oral history would be an advantage
  • An interest in history – in particular the history of mental health care
  • Reliability, trustworthiness, responsibility
  • Ability to travel within Devon

Information for volunteers

  • Interviews will be conducted in various locations in Devon
  • Transcribing the interviews can be done at home
  • All interviewing volunteers will be interviewed and may require a DBS check
  • Volunteers will receive a comprehensive induction and training in using any relevant equipment
  • New volunteers will be supported by staff and experienced volunteers, including dealing with potentially distressing content

Setting up and conducting an interview

Prior to the interview

  • Agree a convenient time and place (plenty of time, no background noise, good access etc.)
  • Make sure interviewee has all information necessary (mention that you will want to audio record the interview)
  • Contact interviewee again (if the interview is a few days’ away)

On the interview day

  • Go through the information again and give the interviewee a chance to ask questions
  • Reassure about confidentiality
  • Take consent – copy for interviewee
  • Follow topic guide flexibly, give interviewee time to reflect and respond, prompt where necessary
  • Give signals when coming to the end of the interview

Your needs

  • Safety – leave details with a fellow volunteer and arrange to contact him/her when the interview is over
  • Interviewing can be draining - talk to someone afterwards

Links to relevant documents