The purpose of oral history interviewing and recording is to collect interesting and significant information by questioning men and women about their personal experiences within prescribed subject areas. Interviews should be based mainly on activities or events in which informants were directly involved. Opinions and attitudes may also be of interest and value, provided they generally derive from some personal knowledge on the part of the informant. Completely unfounded views are unlikely to be useful, unless the particular oral history project has some special purpose.

Interviews may often provide original information; they should always produce interesting reminiscences. The application of these two criteria is the best test of whether an interview has been successful or not.