Engaging with Podcasts as Primary Sources

*Regardless of if the class is listening or reading, the teacher should provide the transcript for students to follow along with. 

For a downloadable version of this guide, click here


  1. Before you read/listen:
    1. If applicable: what is the title of this piece? 
    2. Who is the interviewer? What do you know about them?
    3. Who is being interviewed? What do you know about them?
    4. What do you predict this interview will be about?
    5. When was this interview recorded? What event/topic is this interview about? What do you know about this time period/event/topic? 
  2. Read/listen to the interview for the first time
    1. As you follow along
      1. Circle any vocabulary words that you don’t know
      2. Underline anything you find important
      3. Put a question mark “?” after anything you have a question about 
  3. After the first reading:
    1. Write a short summary of the piece (3-5 sentences)
    2. What do you think the purpose of this interview was? Do you think it accomplished its purpose?
    3. Do any of the speakers have accents? 
  4. Read/listen to the interview for the second time
  5. After the second reading:
    1. Why do you think this interview was recorded? Why was this saved for historical purposes? Why is it significant? 
    2. What is the tone of this interview?
      1. Put a box around five words/phrases that show you the tone
    3. Is this interview more historical or personal? How do you know? 
    4. How does encountering this story firsthand change its emotional impact? 
  6. Connect this interview to history:
    1. What did you find from this interview that you might not learn anywhere else?
    2. Did this interview support or contradict what you knew about this event already? How so? 
    3. What other documents or historical evidence are you going to use to help you understand this event or topic? 
    4. Compare this historical interview to an interview you’ve heard recently (state of the union, etc.). How is it similar or different?
  7. Identifying Bias:
    1. What is the interviewees relationship to the event in question? Academic, bystander, reporter, etc… 
    2. How long was the interviewer connected after the event in question? Was it too long? Why could interviewing someone a long time after the event be a problem? Why could interviewing someone immediately after a traumatic experience be a problem? 
    3. Can you identify any political or personal reasons as to why this interviewee is sharing their story?  
    4. How does their story/experience fit within the contextual information we learned about? Does it follow or deviate from it? 
    5. If it does deviate, are there any potential problems with that? Why or why not?