Interview essays are designed to provide readers with an overallimpression of a particular interview subject and present thoughtson the chosen group of topics. Besides, this academic assignmentoffers a great opportunity to get a deeper insight by analyzingall responses within a larger context. This type of writing isquite common and it provides the skills necessary for studentsinterested in journalism and becoming good writers. How to writean interview essay? It should make readers feel as though theyasked given questions.
The basics of interviewing for your essay
First, you need to determine the main purpose of your writingbecause it will affect who and how you interview.
- If it’s a factual piece, interview people who have anyexpertise in the chosen subject matter. For example, if it’sabout a science topic, interview scientists.
- If it’s an opinion piece, interview people who have theirstrong opinion about the chosen topic. Look for someone who canexpress a personal stance articulately and has the necessarycredentials.
- If your essay has a narrow perspective, interview only a fewpeople.
- If it presents a general consensus, interview many peoplewith varying credentials and expertise.
How to choose the best questions
Research the given interview subject and make a list ofinteresting questions. To be able to conduct a successfulinterview, it’s necessary to delve into the backgrounds andhistory of the chosen subject. Use this information to come upwith the best questions to be asked in your interview.
Read different works about your chosen subject and research it.The more you know about your topic, the more intelligentquestions you will ask. Search for any previous relevantinterviews because they will give you a better idea of the bestquestions and help you decide on perfect subjects. Remember thatthe questions that require direct answers are excellent forgathering factual information, while the open-ended ones are goodfor gathering extra data for your research.
Make a full list of the questions that you want to ask and havemore of them ready because they will let you make the necessaryadjustments during the interview. Rank them all in order ofimportance to ensure that you ask the best questions. You canalso list them all in the right order or color-code yourquestions to achieve the same goal.
How to arrange and conduct your interview
You should contact all interviewees to arrange the right placeand time to conduct a future interview. Get a permission torecord it and take pictures when needed. Make sure that thesepeople know why you want to interview them. Select a quiet andnice place with no distractions. You may need to get theirconsent to record and use personal comments in your interviewessay. It’s advisable to have any backup interviewees in casesome people you plan to interview can’t make it. You always needto be on time in the place where you meet with all interviewees.Use the following tips to achieve the best results with yourinterview:
- When conducting your interviews, take notes, even if you usea special recording device. That’s because they will help yousearch for interesting points in records to use them in yourfuture essay.
- Using recording devices is a must because they allow you tosave a lot of time for writing down all important insights onthemes, contexts, how questions are approached, comfort levels,and so on.
- Be respectful and patients when asking questions and waitingfor responses. Give all interviewees enough time to reflect to berewarded with their insightful and full answers. Getting a fewdeep responses is better than many bad ones.
- Right after interviews, write down your personal impressionsand thoughts about them because they will help you shape a goodessay.
- End every interview by thanking people who take part in it.
The process of writing your interview essay
How to write an interview essay? To give the right answer, youneed to determine a format of this paper. In most cases, it’spredetermined by teachers and instructors. If you have anyquestions, talk to your professor to find out whether any longquotes, questions and answers, and paraphrasing are expected.Clarify whether the main focus of your paper is the interviewitself or placing it in any larger context. In general, yourinterview essay can be written in one of the following academicformats:
- Narrative format. It allows you to paraphrase someinformation along with using direct quotes for any material thatyou want to emphasize. The best part of using this format is thatit provides you with many opportunities to add more analysis andcontext.
- Conversational format. It’s a big looser compared to theabove-mentioned format because it allows you to address readersdirectly and use the first and second person. It’s suitable formany class assignments.
- Question-and-answer format. It presents your questions topeople followed by their responses. Be sure to include directquotes in addition to any explanatory materials in parenthesesand different substitutions in brackets. Choose this academicformat to essays with a single interviewee.
Planning your essay outline
The outline of your future interview essay greatly depends on thechosen format that you follow. However, a strong introductoryparagraph that clearly defines your topic, interview focus, andgoals is a must.
Read all interview notes and listen to the recording that youhave because they will let you both interview highlights andsignificant themes. In turn, they form your essay outline, helpyou determine the information covered, and how it appears in yourpaper. Your possible outline can be the following:
- An introductory paragraph that starts with a great anecdotesabout interviewees and presents a thesis statement;
- The main body with a few key points that support your chosenfocus;
- A concluding paragraph that sums up all the information thatyou present.
Fleshing out your interview essay
The main body should follow the chosen format, back up yourthesis, and giving the substantial coverage of your interview.Sometimes, interviews may result in many repetitive answers, soyou need to trim them and other unnecessary elements. Take a lookat the examples of how to use similar interview materials intranscriptions, presentations of personal experiences, andplacing interviews in a larger context if you feel confused.
Why proofread and review your work
Ant type of academic paper must be carefully revised andthoroughly proofread to provide the audience with maximum impactand clarity. Reading over your interview essay is a good start,but it’s helpful to ask other people to do that same because theyare more likely to catch different repetitions, errors, andunclear parts. Go back to original notes, transcripts, andrecordings to ensure that your interview essays reflect them all.Finally, you should document and reference the sources used inthis paper.
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