The reference interview is a collaborative effort in which the user seeks to understand and explain their information need and the library staff member seeks to understand the user's question and find and communicate the answer.
It is focused on:
Identifying the most important questions to asks a patron takes time and experience. When collaborating with a patron to get an understanding of their information need, you do not need to collect everything up-front. Some things will become relevant (or not) as an interview progresses. Plan to work some questions into the search process later, such as when you are evaluating results with a patron.
Who is asking the question?
What do they need to know?
Why do they need the information?
How much information is needed or desired?
Where have they looked?
When do they need it?
Articulate and restate the patron’s question
[Original from Kathleen Kern 2014; modified by David Ward 2016; modified by Piper Martin 2019; Adapted from the Ohio Library Council’s Six Pieces of Evidence. http://www.olc.org/ore/2pieces.htm]