How to Write an Interview Essay?

Oct 30, 2023

self-education

How to Write an Interview Essay

An interview doesn’t need a special explanation, as it’s the type of human activity familiar to everyone. However, an interview accompanied by an essay is something much less common, an often unduly feared and mystified combination that usually gives headaches to students, and to just about anyone tasked with such a rare assignment. 

This guide utilizes a structured approach and plenty of examples to demystify the art of crafting a flawless interview paper. Whether you’re a student or simply someone curious about the intricacies of such an assignment, this guide is your key to success.

Students often find themselves seeking assignment help, especially when facing the unique challenge of blending an interview with an essay. The dual demands of conducting a thorough interview and then articulating the findings in a well-structured essay can be daunting. Many turn to academic help services with requests like ‘I need assistance with my interview essay assignment,’ hoping to find guidance in navigating this complex task. While seeking help can be beneficial, especially in understanding the nuances of this form of writing, it’s crucial that students remain actively involved in both the interview and writing process. This active involvement is key to developing essential skills such as effective communication, critical thinking, and analytical writing, which are invaluable in both academic and professional contexts.

What Is an Interview Essay?

It is a composite type of work requiring one to conduct an interview and write an essay based on the information collected. 

From the information collection perspective, it is a rather simple type of essay, as the writer essentially has only one source to rely on – the interview. There is no need to use other sources and make a lengthy bibliography list at the end of the paper.

At the same time, the interview process is not easy. An interviewer has to plan and prepare for the interview: study their subject, make a questionnaire, and then take notes during or transcribe the recorded dialogue after the interview.   

When it comes to crafting an interview paper, two distinct approaches can be employed

  1. The writer can start by selecting an interviewee (the person being interviewed) first, or the latter can already be part of an assignment. Then the writer studies the subject and selects an interesting interview topic based on what they’ve researched and learned about the person.
  2. Another approach is to select a topic at the first step, perhaps even making a rough plan for the essay. Later, one searches for a relevant person(s) to interview based on the topic. Those can be friends, even family members, but most often someone with an in-depth expertise in the given topic.     

Understanding how to write an interview paper is no less important than collecting the information by conducting the interview. The writing is not a simple retelling of what we’ve heard from the interviewee. Instead, it requires us to align with the chosen theme and pursue a distinct objective. It is a classic essay in the sense of literary style and composition, although it revolves around the subject interviewed and culminates with valuable and pertinent conclusions.

The Guide to Writing an Interview Essay

Interview Essay Format

Writing an interview paper is complex work requiring a student to conduct initial fieldwork, i.e., an interview, followed by an analysis of the information collected and leading to the writing process itself. The following table captures all the nuances and reflects the format of this work:

Phase Step Comments
Interview Choosing a Subject Can be part of an assignment or the responsibility of the writer. One can start by selecting an interviewee first and choosing an interesting topic later, or vice versa, the topic is first and the interviewee is secondary. There can be multiple interviewees.  
Developing Questionnaire Both open-ended and closed questions are allowed. Questions must be mutually exclusive and exhaustive (cover the topic well). Follow-up questions may be needed and should be prepared in advance. 
Conducting the Interview Pre-steps include planning the time of the interview and selecting the venue. The interview itself should be at most one hour in length, to keep the energy high and the subject motivated.
Essay Transcribing and Analyzing Transcribing is needed if the interview was recorded. Analysis and logical organization of the information are necessary to write an interesting essay. Contacting an interviewee post-interview is allowed for clarifications, follow-up, and settling any privacy concerns.
Making an Outline Using the collected information, the writer crafts a sketch of the to-be essay following the intended storyline. Interview essays outline should reflect the purpose of the interview and organize all the information in a logical order.
Writing an Essay Write the paper observing a proper structure characteristic of an academic essay:

  • Introduction
  • The Main Body
  • Conclusion
Formatting Citations and References Proper formatting of citations and references is critically important for an interview paper. It respects the interviewee, ensures their privacy is maintained, and ethical guidelines are followed.
Editing and Proofreading Check out the final draft for word choice and clarity, spelling and grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, possible repetitions, inconsistencies, etc.

 

Interview Essay Example

In this real student interview essay example where the writer interviews a prominent astronomer, one can see and analyze each structural element. First, a clear and concise introductory part, which nevertheless provides sufficient background information about the interviewee. The main body is made up of several core questions and verbatim answers to each, starting with the insight into the interviewee’s initial interest in the field, and rounding up with a core message for the future astronomy enthusiasts. The neat and artistic conclusion by the author leaves the reader with a deep philosophical aftertaste.  

How to Write an Interview Essay 2

How to Start an Interview Essay

When you have so much information at your disposal collected during the interview, it’s easy to get lost. You want to share it right away and often end up with an abnormally large and hard-to-read introduction. That’s the type of mistake that seasoned writers recommend to avoid at all costs. Here are a few worthy ideas on how to craft a sharp introduction, following the astronomy example provided earlier:

  • Introduce the interviewee. Highlight the weight and significance of the person you interviewed by providing the key background information, underlining their passions, and achievements. For example:

“In the quiet hall of the observatory, I had the privilege of sitting down with Dr. Alan Parker, a distinguished astronomer with a passion for unlocking the secrets of outer space.”

  • Start with a metaphorical hook. Open your essay with an attention-grabbing statement, or a provoking question about the topic. For example:

“Have you ever gazed at the stars on a clear night outside a city and wondered about the mysteries of the cosmos and the possibility of extraterrestrial life?”

  • Give a direct overview. Sometimes, providing an explicit overview of the purpose of the paper is the best way to start. For example:

“In this interview, we peer into the world of Dr. Alan Parker, a dedicated astronomer, and explore his fascination with exoplanets, and the boundless mysteries of the universe.”

  • Provide a quote. At times, nothing and no one can make up a better introduction than the interviewees themselves. For example:

“The night sky always fascinated me as a child,” Dr. Alan Parker reflects, “It’s a window to the infinite universe, which never stops igniting my desire for exploration.” 

The key to a good interview paper is a crisp and concise introduction, like in the examples above. The ultimate choice of the exact technique to be used is always yours, and it may change from work to work depending on the topic, your current mood, your talents, and the audience’s expectations. 

How to Summarize an Interview Paper

Summarizing an interview paper is no less important than making a good introduction to it. Your ability to craft a compelling and meaningful summary will define your paper’s value in the eyes of your readers. To make things simple and clear, we’ve made a table listing the main summarizing tactics.  

Summarizing Tactic Description
Identify Key Takeaways Pick out the most important and insightful information that emerged from the interview. These might be central themes, key quotes, or findings that capture the crux of the conversation.
Focus on Your Purpose Revisit the main statement or the central idea of your interview paper. Your summary should align with and support the main message or purpose of the essay.
Use Direct Quotations Incorporate direct quotes from the interviewee if they offer additional value or add authenticity to the summary.
Provide Insight or Analysis Offer a brief analysis or reflection on the information presented in the interview. Explain why the information is significant and how it relates to the broader context.
Wrap It Up Finish your paper with a statement that reiterates the importance of the interview and reinforces your purpose for it.

 

Conclusion

Writing an interview paper is easier in reality than it may seem on the very first encounter. It does take more time than an ordinary essay due to the interview planning and execution part, but it is also simpler in many other ways. The very same interview part relieves you from the boring study of external sources, which often accompanies an ordinary essay writing process. The best part of the interview though, is that it makes the work interesting and fun – you get the chance to know extraordinary personalities, engage in live conversations with them, and often travel to new locations and learn something interesting on professional, as well as personal levels.

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