Re: The Covert Interview

Subject: Re: The Covert Interview
From: Romay Jean Sitze <rositze -at- NMSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 15:03:10 -0700

While I have not used the "covert" interview as a means of gathering
information for a formal use, I do believe Tom has something worth our
attention with this idea. I know that I have gained a great deal of
information and new insights on various topics through such casual
conversations. This sounds like a useful technique when used with a
specific purpose in mind.

On Thu, 5 Jan 1995, Tom Williams wrote:

> Most technical writers have found that it can be difficult obtaining
> information from some technical specialists. Occassionaly, however,
> one can get around this by using a "covert" interview.

> Rather than showing up in the specialist's office with a clip board and a
> list of questions, one might strike up a casual conversation in the lunch
> room or while waiting for a job to print. By expressing interest in or
> admiration for the software (or whatever) or by asking a particularly
> astute question, one can sometimes elicit an almost overwhelming flow
> of information from engineers who, when they know they are being
> "interviewed," are reticent or even rude.

> I'm thinking or writing an article on "The Covert Interview." Have any of
> you had experience with this kind of information gathering? I am most
> interested in specific examples of success and the techniques you
> used. If the article sees the light of day, I would be happy to credit you
> or keep you anonymous, whichever as you prefer.

> If you think your experience would be of general interest, reply on the
> list; otherwise respond to me directly.

> tom_williams -at- novell -dot- com

RoMay Sitze A musician must make music, an artist must
rositze -at- nmsu -dot- edu paint, a poet must write, if he is to be
ultimately at peace with himself.
-Abraham Maslow-

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