The Reference Interview
What Have You Learned: A Recap
- The Steps of the Reference Process
- The reference interview is a means of determining information needs.
- Major Point: The reference interview answers the basic question: what does the patron really want to know?
- Begin the interview by repeating the patrons’ opening question to let them know you are listening and correctly understand the question.
- Major Point: Paraphrasing is a useful technique to discover more information.
- Open Questions
- Continue the interview by asking open-ended questions that can’t be answered by yes or no to encourage the patron to tell you more about the question. That way you don’t have to guess.
- Major Point: Open-ended questions are more efficient than closed-ended questions for discovering a patron’s information need.
- Ask clarifying questions to get a particular bit of information.
- Major Point: Clarifying may be necessary at some point in the reference interview to clear up specific aspects of a patron’s request.
- When you think you have the question clearly in mind and are ready to search for the answer, check one last time before searching to verify you have the patron’s real question.
- Major Point: Verify the specific question with the patron before beginning the search.
- Five Pieces of Evidence
- The goal of the reference interview questions is to discover the basic question by finding out the Purpose, Deadline, Type and Amount, Who, and Where..
- Major Point: What does the patron really want to know? If you don’t understand, ask! Use your reference interviewing skills to get to the basic question
- Follow-up and Ending the Interview
- At the end of the reference interview don’t assume you’ve answered the question, always ask a follow-up question such as “Does this completely answer your question?” If you can’t quickly find information for the patron, refer them or let them know you will continue working and when you will get back to them.
- Major Point: The only way to be sure you’ve met the need is to ask. Bring each reference interview to an appropriate close: Don’t Say No. Instead, think Yes!
End of Module 2