You know what an interview is and what writing an essay constitutes. But does that make writing an interview paper a cakewalk? Not quite.

Considering all the planning and pre-work this assignment requires, it can prove to be an exhausting and intimidating experience for students.

Original: SourceBut hey, that’s what we’re here for.

In this article, we will tell you how to write an interview paper and do a good job at it.

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What is an Interview Paper

An interview paper is an academic essay that focuses on providing different viewpoints or perspectives on a particular subject or topic by interviewing one or more people and gathering enough knowledge and research to write a stellar paper.

The most important difference is that, unlike other essay writing assignments where your references and sources are scholarly books and reading materials, interview essays build up on your sources being people who are authentic and authoritative in their field.

How Do You Write an Interview Paper that Stands Out

Wondering how to get started? Here are eight best practices to help you write an interview paper that gets you the grades you desire.

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.

To do this efficiently:

  • prepare your interview questions;
  • practice your interviewing techniques;
  • know and research about the person who you’ve requested for an interview;
  • plan your time and agenda;
  • be ready for a few follow-up questions.

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

The primary purpose of the paper will determine your subject, the topics that the paper will cover, introduce new concepts, and resonate with your readers.

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.

Finally, if your paper is on a medical, health, or scientific topic, it is a best practice to take your interview with someone who has expert knowledge in these fields.

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:
  • Look for and listen to older interviews on topics that are related or similar. This will give you an idea of what kind of questions were asked by the interviewer before so that you can figure out a list of appropriate questions for yourself to ask your interviewee and add in some new questions which have never been asked before.
  • Read a lot of books, articles, research papers, and other works that are associated with your subject, both online and in print. This will not only build your knowledge about the topic but also instigate in asking your interviewee crucial, intelligent, and engaging questions.

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.

Brainstorm and ask yourself several ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions to include in the interview, to make it easier to gather factual information.

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.

Conducting a face-to-face interview is more effective as it makes it more personal and minimizes miscommunication.

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.

Recording your interview can also help in avoiding misunderstandings and misinterpretations and make it easier to understand your interviewee’s context.

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.

Respect the interviewee’s opinions and thoughts and clearly state the ideas that were your own, and the ones that were from your resource person.

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.

Cite your paper well

If you have used additional resources or supplement materials in the body paragraphs of your interview paper, cite your sources. Even if they were just for research purposes or gathering background information about your interviewee, it is very important to specify your sources and cite them properly.

Make sure that any direct quote that has been used in your paper has quotation marks to avoid unintentional plagiarism.

Conclusion

Mastering the art of how you write an interview paper is no easy feat. It is time-consuming and takes practice to be good at it.

Consider keeping our effective and simple best practices to elevate your writing and interviewing skills, helping you score well in this assignment.

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