Interviewing by Students in History Department Courses
In recognition of regulations published by Federal agencies and the College's Institutional Review Board (IRB) [also known as Human Subjects Review Committee], as well as of policies recommended by professional organizations of historians in the United States, the Department of History at Davidson College adopts the following policy for use in courses in which students conduct interviews as part of their research.
It is understood that virtually all interviews conducted by students in history courses at the College seek to discover memories about and responses to general living conditions, cultural expressions, social relationships, and major events in the past for the purpose of helping the interviewer gain a clearer understanding of life in another time. In some instances, the interviewer will ask an interviewee about his or her participation in political or social causes. In either case, each interviewee is a source for, not a subject of, research; each set of responses will be unique.
The chair will send a copy of this document and the appended form, which contains the guidelines, to all members of the department at the beginning of each academic year.
In courses in which students conduct interviews as part of a research project, the instructor will distribute a copy of the appended form and explain that professional ethics as well as Federal and institutional policies call upon interviewers to follow guidelines specified on it.
In any situation in which an instructor has concerns about the nature of a proposed project, but in which the student feels strongly about proceeding, the instructor will direct the student to gain the approval of the IRB before conducting interviews in connection with the project.
Form: Students Conducting Interviews as Research for History Courses
(to be used in conjunction with published departmental guidelines)