Interview Questions and Procedures in English

To the interviewer:

Thanks for participating in the project. It will bless families and help others to understand Cambodia! 
This is a chance to learn as much as you can about your family and to find out interesting things about their lives. We hope that you can interview your parents at least, but also your uncles, aunts, and even grandparents if they are still alive. Use this outline as a guide to find out their birth dates and birth places the best you can, which will help you with family history work. The other questions are to guide you generally on things to talk about, but it is OK if the conversation goes in another direction. If you think of questions to ask that are not on the list, go ahead and ask them. Anything your family says can be interesting to you and others.

Use your phone or other device to record the whole interview and email it to your peer leader or to Take headshots and other photos of the people, note the place of the interview, and record the names (in Khmer and English) of those in the photos. Once you have sent it to audio and the photos to the peer leader or project manager, you are done!

After you start the recorder and before you ask questions, state the names of the interviewer and interviewee, the place, and date of the interview (be as specific as you can).

1. Introduction

Start the interview with something like the following:

“Brigham Young University BYU) in the USA is collecting interviews to help families preserve their histories. Can I ask some questions about your life growing up? We want to record the interview. The university would like to put your story on the project website (, so you and others can listen to it. Do you agree to be interviewed and to have the recording online? “


  • What is your full legal name? For example, the name on your government ID?
  • What other names are you called by?  Do you have any nicknames? Did you have childhood names?


  • Did you learn to speak a language besides Khmer?
  • How well do you read and write in Khmer?


  • Where were you born?
  • In Cambodia? Which province? Which village or city?


  • How old are you this year?
  • What year were you born? Which zodiac year?


  • When were you married? What year and date? Was it arranged by parents?
  • Can you tell me about the first time you met?  Was there dowry?

Family Members

  • How many brothers and sisters do you have? What number are you in the family?
  • How old are they now?
  • Can a little bit about them?

Family Birthdates

  • Do you know when your parents were born?
  • How old are they now? (or how old would they have been if they are no longer alive?)
  • Do you know what year your mother and father were born in? Which zodiac years?


  • What do you remember about your grandparents?  Where were they born? When?

Parent’s birthplace

  • Do you know where your parents were born?
  • In Cambodia? Which province? Which village or city?
  • How about your grandparents?

What else do you know about your family?

  • Have they been in Cambodia for a long time?  What provinces have they lived in?
  • Have they ever lived outside of Cambodia?  If so, where?

Tell me about what life was like for you growing up? 

  • How much schooling did you have? Elementary school, middle or high school? Other?  Where was the school? Do you remember the school name?
  • Did you work on the farm? Or in a family business?
  • What other kinds of work have you done throughout your life?
  • How is life different today than it was when you were young?
  • Did you have favorite foods or games growing up? What recipes did you learn how to cook?
  • Any songs that you learned growing up? Has anyone in your family ever made a musical instrument?
  • What was your house like growing up?  Did you build it or help build it? What type of materials did they use to build their home?  Who taught them to build homes?
  • What type of skills have been passed along in your family, like basket-weaving, making palm sugar, etc?


  • Tell me about some of the hard times in your life. How did you get through those times?

Best Experiences

  • What are some of your best memories in your life? Marriage and children?  When you were young what did you hope to do when you grew up?


  • Thank them for talking to you. Ask to take some photos and ask the following question: “Are you OK with having this interview or photos on a Brigham Young University website?”
  • The university will give you a copy of the interview and you will be able to listen to it on the website at any time. You can also ask questions to the project manager (, who is an American and knows Khmer.