How to Write an Interview ArticleOn by Ramsey
How Do You Write an Interview Paper that Stands Out
Plan your time beforehand
It may feel overwhelming and daunting to do so much before conducting your interview, for you to start writing your interview paper, but it’s always better to be prepared and plan your time accordingly than to leave it for the last minute and work on it as it comes.
Keep in mind that if you plan on doing an hour or a 2-hour long interview, make time slots as per the number of questions you need to ask and give your interviewee enough time to answer all your questions.
Identify the purpose of the paper
If your paper is about an opinionated statement, it is advisable to get an interview from an authoritative figure who is related to and has enough knowledge to give their valuable insights on the subject matter.
On the other hand, if your paper is about a public view or subject, it is important to gather the viewpoints of multiple people to understand different perspectives on one central issue.
Research the subject matter
For you to write on a specific subject matter and conduct an interview with someone based on their expertise, you need to first thoroughly research the subject topic, delve into the history and background of the topic to understand it better, and write an effective and quality paper on it.
To make the research process easier you can:
Create a list and prepare your questions
When you’re preparing to conduct an interview for your paper, list down all the questions that you would want to ask your interviewee. These questions will mostly come up during your research and brainstorming.
Asking open-ended ‘how’ or ‘why’ questions to your interviewee will focus on understanding in-depth explanations and help you find additional background information that was not found during the initial research.
Asking quality questions is a very critical part of writing a great interview paper, and if your research is thorough, coming up with interesting and powerful questions will be no problem.
It is recommended to have more questions on your list than you are prepared to ask during the interview. Rank your selected questions based on how much information you can gather from them, and how important they are. Finally, ask your interviewee the best questions from this list based on the interaction or the situation.
Here’s an interesting video by Kirstine on asking good qualitative interview questions
Conduct a face-to-face interview
Once you have all your questions ready and are prepared to conduct the interview, it is time for you to contact and invite your resource person. Always keep in mind to interview someone who is an authority on the subject matter that you’re writing your interview paper on.
When inviting, explain to them who you are, and tell them the reasons why you chose them for the interview. Keep an alternate or a backup resource person in case the first interviewee refuses to give an interview or can’t make it.
Choose a peaceful and quiet place as the interview site, with absolutely no distractions. Reach this site well before time, to prepare and be ready to take the interview. If you’re unable to meet in person, do it over a video conferencing call.
Ask for consent before recording and take notes
If it’s an in-person conversation, a telephonic or video interview, it is always good practice to ask your interviewee for consent or a written agreement before recording the meeting, videotaping the interview, using their words or their image for your paper.
Even if you are recording the interview, always take notes of all the valuable insights that your interviewee is giving about your paper’s topic as this will not only speed up the writing process but also help you highlight important points during the discussion.
After you thank your interviewee for their time and thoughts, note down your impressions of the interview, to properly articulate and know what to use and write in your interview paper.
Create an outline and format your paper
Now that you have all the information you need to craft an excellent interview paper. The next crucial step for you is to create an outline for your paper to bring structure and create a flow between each paragraph and eventually throughout your paper.
Your interview paper should have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Your introductory paragraph should contain information and be phrased in such a way that it grabs the attention of your readers, making them want to read further.
Decide what format you would like your interview paper to be in:
- Narrative Format: This will be formatted and written in the form of a story. Here you can write in your point of view or the point of view of your interviewee. This is the most common format used in colleges and gives you scope to add context and analysis.
- Personal or Conversational Format: This format is presented in the form of dialogues. Here, the tone is informal and you can address the readers directly by writing in the first or second person.
- Question & Answer Format: This places the questions you asked your interviewee and the responses they gave to it, right next to it. These are mostly always direct quotes and can be used when interviewing a single person or a group of people who are closely related.
How Do I Do the Interview?
Pick a Good Question: You will be asking a particular question about a topic of your choice to several different people. Generally, you will want to choose a topic that is arguable—this means a topic in which there are varying opinions.
Ask the Question and Give the Person Time to Answer and Explain: What makes this different from a survey is that you will give the person an opportunity to explain their answer. Often the interview works better if the question asks something most people have an opinion about.
Ask Follow-Up Questions: In trying to get more information about why people think the way they do on the topic, you will ask follow-up questions. You should not ask the same follow-up questions to every person. Instead, you will let your conversation with the person guide you as you develop more questions that are pertinent to the particular conversation.
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