Oral History Question Cards

Stack of printed oral history question cards

These question cards feature suggested topics and prompts to guide you through a simple oral history interview. We created them for the kits we provide to our community partners, but they are also freely available to the public (you!) to use or modify.

Download the printable PDF. You can print multiple question cards on one piece of paper and cut them apart to use them for your next interview.

Question List

  • Describe the neighborhood or community you grew up in.
  • How would you describe your personality?
  • What music do you like? How does music influence your life? Do you have a favorite song?
  • Do you have stories about how your family survived the great depression?
  • How did your family celebrate holidays? Any favorite memories?
  • Do you have hobbies or play sports?
  • Have you experienced or observed prejudice or racism during your life?
  • Did any of your family serve in the military? Who and what conflicts?
  • What stories have been passed down in your family?
  • Do you have siblings? What are their names? Tell me about them.
  • Who is the earliest ancestor you know about? Where and when did they live?
  • Who had the greatest influence on you as a child or as an adult?
  • What would you say are the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your life?
  • What were you like growing up? What were your interests? Who were your friends?
  • What are your memories of events such as segregation, the civil rights movement, or wars?
  • How has the world changed since you were young? How has your profession or community changed?
  • Have you been married? Tell me about how you met your partner.
  • What has provided you with the most satisfaction in life? What are you most proud of?
  • Tell me about your children / grandchildren. What family traditions do you have?
  • What was your first job? How did your career or job skills change over the years?
  • What was school like for you? Who was your favorite teacher? Which classes did you like?
  • Tell me about your parents. Where are they from and what do/did they do for a living?
  • What historic events (marches, protests, performances, etc.) have you experienced?
  • What has been the role of religion throughout your life?
  • What is your full name, and where and when were you born?