Note-Taking During the Interview

Effective note-taking during a stakeholder interview requires attentive listening, good summarizing skills, and a thorough understanding of the SIG's content and structure. The goal of each note-taker is to capture as much of what is shared by the stakeholders as possible, as accurately as possible, with the understanding that the notes will be almost exclusively in the form of summary or paraphrase. Note-takers should not filter information during an interview. In other words, you should not be deciding during the interview what is "important" information and what is "not important." Rather, you should concentrate on capturing all the information you hear and then edit out off-topic content later.

Remember that there will only be one "official" note-taker at each interview. This official note-taker must take his or her notes using the automated application, and after the interview is over these notes will be revised (with the collaboration of the supporting note-takers) to create the final notes that will be uploaded to the central server at the end of the review week. Supporting note-takers should also use the automated application to take their notes, because this streamlines the process and makes it easy to move from item to item as necessary. However, if a supporting note-taker is more comfortable taking hand-written notes or typing notes in some other format during the interview, this is acceptable as long as appropriate steps are taken to make those notes accessible to the official note-taker when the revision process begins.

Remember, though, that while you can cut and paste notes from one item to another within the automated application, you must never cut and paste notes from Word or other outside programs into the application itself. Doing so can cause critical, irrecoverable errors that may result in the loss of all your saved data.