The 45-minute research interview

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Interviews make your reports and book chapters come alive; the more you can get, the better. To get them, you’re typically asking busy people to give you a little of their time on the phone or by video. How much time? 45 minutes. That’s my magic number, and I’ll explain why. The setup and the … Continued

Writers: say these words before every interview you conduct

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You’ve lined up some time with a smart person. You’re about to interview them on the phone or in person, and you’re eager to get started. So after the small talk is done, you ask the first question. You’ve made a mistake. There’s something you’d better say first. And based on the tears and rending … Continued

The Economist interview: Orwellian rambling from Donald Trump

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The distinguished editors at The Economist interviewed President Trump. When I set out to analyze his statements, I felt as if I had wandered into a hall of mirrors. Donald Trump is a persuasive person who, one-on-one, has been able to make deals all over the world. He’s the master of communicating in tweets and campaign rallies. But … Continued

Preparation is the key to a great research interview (Ask Dr. Wobs)

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Preparation is the key to a successful research interview. Deliberate planning makes sure your time isn’t wasted — which is the concern expressed in today’s reader question. Dear Dr. Wobs: Good analysis requires research: analyzing data and interviewing people. I know how to make my research data sing. But how do I prepare for and conduct … Continued

Stalking the interview in 4 steps

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While Web research is great, interviews generate insights and spark in your writing that you can’t get any other way. But your interview won’t be successful with a haphazard approach. Follow these four steps to maximize your chance of success: Find ’em, contact ’em, persuade ’em, and interview ’em. Find ’em: Figure out who to talk to Ask … Continued