Interview Guide


Women Social Activists of Atlantic Canada: Profiles of Wisdom

Note: Probes were used extensively to follow the interviewee's thinking as she narrated anecdotes in order to arrive at new insights or underline earlier lessons. The sequence below acted as a guideline and was often adapted to take advantage of the interviewee's thinking routes. As interviewer, I had freedom to be somewhat flexible, since the final result would be an integrative profile of a certain word length, not a clean, final, full transcript that is not easily processed by readers. The interview guide was sent out well before the interview and contained space for the interviewee's notes. Interviewer: Dr. Liz Burge

  1. Let's begin with the key social activism issue for you over the years—the one claiming much of your energy:
    • How would you name it?
    • Who or what triggered your interest in it?
    • How did you begin your activity on this issue? [Then, extensive probing about what actually happened]
    • Has your activity changed much over the decades?
  2. You must have faced some challenges over the years in being active around this issue. Do any stand out for you? Let's begin with the first challenge you mentioned:
    • What was it?
    • How did you manage it?
    • Any other challenges you would like to talk about?
  3. Are there other activism projects of yours that you'd like to reflect upon? [Then similar question set]
  4. Generally, what have been some high points during your activity? Low points?
  5. Regarding the lessons you've learned from social activism: you've mentioned a few already. [Lessons may be repeated and clarified as required] Are there any others?
  6. The skills you think are needed for effective activism: what is on your list?
  7. Is there anything that you wish you'd learned before you began work as a social activist?
  8. Imagine you're in a room with some younger women thinking about getting involved with social activism. Might you have advice from your own experience to pass on?
  9. How would you like to be remembered as an activist?
  10. Anything else you'd like to say before you end the interview?

[Explain next steps for her checking of the transcript and thank the interviewee.] Thank you so much!