Archive for the 'Preliminary Interview Questions' Category

Preliminary Interview Questions

Life History:

–      As a teen growing up in Williamsburg, where did you spend most of your time? How have these places changed?

–      Which high school did you attend? Were there multiple? How does having multiple high schools affect the presence of a “teenage community” growing up in Williamsburg?

–      What was your, and possibly your peers, regard of William and Mary growing up? Was there a noticeable dynamic between Williamsburg teens and William and Mary students of similar age?


–       Brief background of children: age, names, etc. Where do they go to high school? Where do they typically “hang out?” Do they feel that there exists in Williamsburg a place that they are welcome to meet up with friends?  Do they frequent New Town? Have they ever had any stand-out experiences, positive or negative, there?

–       Can you recall ever feeling discriminated against as a teen in Williamsburg, in Colonial W or elsewhere? How has your relationship with this place (if it exists) changed as you’ve matured?

–       What is your regard of the teenage population in Williamsburg now? Especially regarding their presence in New Town and CW?

Preliminary Interview Questions

Preliminary Interview Questions for Jennifer Taylor:

Life History Questions:

1. What made you move to Williamsburg? Was it William and Mary? Judging by what you knew about the area, were you excited to come?

2. Where did you live when you first moved to Williamsburg? If you have moved around, what is your favorite neighborhood you’ve lived in?

3. What made you so interested in German Studies and Holocaust Studies? Do you find others with similar interests in the Williamsburg community?

Project Related Questions:

1. How do you feel about the gated communities that exist in Williamsburg? Do you visit them often? If so, for what reasons?

2. What community actives are your children involved in? Do they spend time at any “community centers”? Where do they like to spend time in Williamsburg?

3. Do you consider your neighborhood a place with it’s own sense of community? Do any particular type of people seem to live there? Does your neighborhood have a Homeowners Association? Does your neighborhood have a community pool or community center?

Record of my proposed Communal Interview Questions

Barry Trott Interview: I framed my interview questions within a few topics that I want to focus on, and I may alter some questions a bit depending on what Barry says in Andy’s portion of the interview.

Topic 1: Definition of “local”- what it means to be a “local”/ “local” musician in Williamsburg, and what region(s) does “Williamsburg” encompass?

  • (Andy asked about your involvement in the local musical community), would you consider yourself to be a “local” Williamsburg artist?
    • Would you identify yourself as a “Williamsburg” musician?
  • What qualifies someone as a “local” musician?
    • Do you have to reside in Williamsburg? Or just have to have community ties? Or perform in Williamsburg?
    • (For instance, one of your band members, I believe, lives in Richmond- is he still considered a “local” musician? Why or why not?)

Topic 2: Dynamics of the music community, or community of musicians, in Williamsburg- how they network/interact/communicate

(*Pay attention to his response to Andy’s question asking about the communities/networks he belongs to, and also about his involvement in the local musical community)

  • I am interested in learning more about the community of musicians in Williamsburg. Would you like to share anything about your relationships/experience with other “long-term” or “local” Williamsburg musicians?
    • Have you gotten to know other artists who perform/reside in the Williamsburg area?
    • Is there much interaction/communication between musicians?

Topic 3: Changes he has experienced- he has been in contact with the area of Williamsburg for a considerable period of time- I want to ask about what musical changes he has experienced

(*Did he mention any musical changes I want to ask a follow up Q about when he responded to Andy’s question about changes in venues?)

  • Has the nature of performances or the communal aspect of musical performance and sharing music changed throughout your experience in Williamsburg?
  • How has the Williamsburg community and being here influenced your musical style?
    • (Could ask about how the band started and music experiences in college; could inquire about the Friends of Appalachian Music Ensemble.)

*May want to ask him about how he feels about the music “scenes” or lack of “scenes” in Williamsburg throughout the years?

*There were several other topics I wanted to cover or delve into further… but if this goes well and he is willing and interested, perhaps we can do a follow-up interview later on this semester! I am also looking forward to seeing his band, the Runaway String Band, play tomorrow night at Squires Everyday Gourmet!!

More information at:

Preliminary Interview Questions


Where is your favorite place to socialize or to “go out” in Williamsburg? What do you consider to be the center of the night-life here? Why is this place so popular or entertaining?

Does your family live in Williamsburg as well? If so, what brought them here? If not, do they visit you often? What do they think of, or how do they view, the town?

What about Williamsburg is most valuable to you? Is there any aspect of the town that you would personally like to change?

Project Specific:

How did you hear about an opportunity to come to Williamsburg? What motivated you to decide to come to Virginia as opposed to elsewhere?

Can you describe to me a typical day at your work? Do you have a schedule, and what does that schedule look like? Or do you engage in several different tasks?

When did you first come to Williamsburg? How has the experience of working here changed since your first job? Would you ever plan on staying in Williamsburg for a long-term period?

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Preliminary Interview Questions

When did you learn to play mandolin and guitar?  What prompted you to do so?

When did you come to Williamsburg?  How has it changed since you came to the city?

Which do you enjoy more- playing music in Colonial Williamsburg or playing with your string band?  Why?

What is your favorite performance memory?

No doubt your daughter had to be put on a waiting list for the fife and drum corps at a very early age.  What prompted you to put her on that list?

Would you describe your daughter’s experience in the corps as a positive one?

Preliminary Interview Questions

Since you teach another language, how do you feel this outlet to another culture influences your perception of culture in Williamsburg?

How has the education system in Williamsburg evolved?

After teaching at William and Mary for nearly twenty years, what changes have you seen in the William and Mary community?

After living in Williamsburg and raising a family here, what changes have you seen in the Williamsburg community economically? Demographically? Socially?

What would you say some of the perks (or non-perks) are of raising a family in Williamsburg?

What area of Williamsburg did you choose to live in? Is it considered a community of its own? Why did you decide to live in this area of Williamsburg?

Do you think you will decide to retire in Williamsburg?

Do you think your children will want to live in Williamsburg when they are adults?

How do you feel about the revival of this town? What are your opinions of places like New Town and High Street?

Mulling Over Some Potential Questions

Life History:

1.  What is the most dramatic change you’ve seen in Williamsburg during your residence here?  How has this personally affected you/your family?

2.  Do you feel at home in Williamsburg?  Do you feel that Williamsburg is where you “belong?”  Why or why not?

3.  If you could relive any year of your life, what year would that be?  Could you tell me a little bit about it?


1.  How did you become interested in string music?  How long have you been performing?

2.  What are some of the difficulties/perks with regards to performing in a musical group with your wife?

3.  In many ways, Williamsburg, like string music, is melding of the old with the new.  What about this town inspires you to continue to compose and perform?

Preliminary Interview Questions

What place do you consider to be your home? Is it the place you live now?

How would you describe your habits as a consumer of local “cultural” production from your home?

How has Williamsburg differed from other places you have lived in its cultural production?

How do you feel the economic climate has changed in Williamsburg in the past 30 years?

How do you feel the Williamsburg residents have been affected by the economic and real estate growth of recent years? Specifically their role as consumers?

How have Williamsburg restaurants adapted with this growth? How have they changed and how have they stayed the same?

Preliminary Interview Questions

Interview Questions- Life History:

1.  Where else have you lived besides Williamsburg? What would you consider  to be your “home base”?

2. What is your relationship with this place called Williamsburg? What brought you to Williamsburg and what has kept you in the area and involved in the community?  

3. What role has music played in your life and what influence has Williamsburg had on your  musical  interests or involvement?

Research-related Questions: (Barry Trott)

1. How would you describe the community of musicians in Williamsburg? Are you in contact with many other local artists or musicians?

2.  As a performing artist, what sort of unique opportunities (or setbacks) does Williamsburg offer? (What are your favorite music venues to perform at?)

3. Would you like to share anything about your experience being part of  the Friends of Appalachian Music (FoAM) at the College?

Preliminary Interview Questions

Life History:

1. How would you characterize your relationship with William and Mary growing up and did you purposfully go to college away from Williamsburg?

2. When you returned from college, in what ways did you notice a change in Williamsburg, if any at all? Did you likes these changes?

3. Since your father was a William and Mary faculty, did you feel you were a part of the William and Mary community growing up? Do you feel like there is separation of community between Williamsburg natives, the college, and Colonial Williamsburg?


1. What job positions did you hold in Colonial Williamsburg? Did you like them? What were your dislikes?

2. Who do you think Colonial Williamsburg caters to the most?

3. As a Williamsburg native and also a Colonial Williamsburg employee, would you ever eat at a Tavern? What do you think the difference is in the views of taverns by different people, such as Williamsburg natives, college students, and tourists?

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The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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