Interviewing the Prior Generation

For this interview exercise, I interviewed my father Victor Rodriguez Sr. Regarding the process of administering the questions, the choice of interviewing my father gave the interview an informal, casual feel with a free-flowing conversation. This allowed us to discuss personal and intimate topics without having to go into prior detail. What context was needed, I provided during the interview process. Due to our good relationship, there were no personal, intellectual, or economic boundaries that needed to be overcome to obtain honest answers to the interview questions. I also chose my father because he is an educated and economically successful man with moderate opinions about history, his community, and current global events. He also had moderate emotional responses to the questions, which provided for balanced answers. His background as a handyman and as an engineer who has worked in the heart of Silicon Valley for over thirty years provided me with unique information about the tech industry, history of the tech industry, and the development of our home town San Jose, all of which was discussed during the interview. Interviewing my father allowed me to gain the perspective of a middle-class college education individual who grew up during the mid-twentieth century.

The drawbacks of this interview include a range of issues. First, my father and I have similar opinions about many of the topics covered in the interview. This could have created an inherent biased during the interview that was not challenged. There is also the possibility that because I am his son, the interviewee withheld, omitted, or altered certain responses to maintain the boundaries of our relationship. Less of a drawback and more of a facet of this particular interview: the fact that my father is from a certain background, profession, educational level, and generation influenced his answers. This makes the interview valuable to a certain type of research topic, such as the historical perspectives of baby boomer Mexican-American Californians, college-educated in the Bay Area, with backgrounds in engineering and business. If I were to conduct this interview again, I would be interested to learn about the historical perspectives of someone from my own generation. That being said, I found the interview informative about not only my father’s background, values, and historical perspectives, but also the area we call home, and how the period he grew up in influenced his perspective on the importance of history.

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