How To Write An Interview Paper: A Step-By-Step Guide

Updated 22 February 2023

An interview paper is an in-depth and insightful essay that provides different views on a particular topic using evidence from interviewing one or more people. The most important distinction of an interview paper is that your sources are people, preferably authorities on a topic, instead of scholarly works or books on the subject. By understanding the entire process of creating an interview paper, you can improve your writing skills. In this article, we discuss how to write an interview paper, including researching and preparing for your essay.

How To Write An Interview Paper?

Here is a step-by-step guide to learn how to write an interview paper:

1. Identify the paper's purpose

Once you identify the purpose of your interview essay, it becomes easier for you to determine your subject, readers and topic of writing. For instance, if you are writing about an opinion, you may want to find an authoritative interviewee who can provide valuable insights for your readers. The purpose of the essay can also depend on whether it is an educative or informative piece. If you are trying to educate readers, you want to choose a subject that resonates with your audience.

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2. Research the subject

The next step is to research the selected topic as thoroughly as possible. The purpose is to develop a good understanding of the subject. It can help if you create a rough outline of what you want to convey to the audience, why you want them to know it and how you want to present the information. Reading excellent articles, books and interviews of industry experts can provide you with new and engaging ideas for your work.

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3. Prepare interview questions

Asking good questions is an important part of writing a great interview paper. If your research is extensive, you can easily develop relevant questions for your interview paper. It is always a good idea to use both open-ended and close-ended questions. Open-ended questions allow the interviewee to give a free form answer, with in-depth explanations of complex issues for nonprofessionals. The purpose of close-ended questions is to get yes or no answers on certain topics. Prepare a lengthy list of interview questions so that you have enough options to choose from during the actual interview.

You can also highlight certain questions that you think are more important and might need longer explanations. It might be a good idea to ask those questions at the beginning of the interview, so you can maximise your time with the interviewee.

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4. Prepare for the interview

After you have studied the subject and compiled a list of interview questions, you can search for and contact your subject matter experts. If you have time, it is advisable to arrange interviews with more than one person. This can help you get different perspectives, and you can then take a more balanced approach in writing your interview paper.

When contacting an expert for the interview, tell them about yourself, let them know you want an interview with them, explain its purpose and give them a concise reason why you selected them for the interview. If they agree to it, set a date, time and venue for the interview. If you want to record the interview or transcribe it, ask the person to provide written permission. Ask for their consent before the interview if you plan to take photos.

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5. Conduct the interview

You can interview in person, over the phone or via video conferencing. Video interviews can be time-saving and convenient, and they also offer the face-to-face interaction that is missing with phone interviews. They are also easy to record, edit and share. If you plan to conduct an in-person interview, it is advisable to arrive well-prepared and on time at the interview venue. You might want to select a quiet place, such as a park, a library or your office.

Be calm, relaxed and friendly during the interview and make the other person feel at ease with you. After you ask them a question, listen actively to their response and let them finish speaking before you ask for clarification or take things forward. It is always a good idea to note your thoughts and impressions immediately after the interview for better articulation when you write the essay. After the interview, thank the expert for their time. It is considered good etiquette to send them a copy of the interview paper later.

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6. Decide on the paper format

The next step is to decide which interview writing format you want to adopt for the interview paper. Your paper's format depends on the type of interview essay you want to write. There are three main types of interview papers. You can write your paper like a narrative essay, which follows a story-like format. It requires writing with a point of view that can be yours or that of the interviewee.

If you choose to write it like a personal interview, follow a question-and-answer format, but with direct quotes. The tone can be informal, and you can write in the first and second person. When you are interviewing two or more people, you can use a dialogue format to represent the views of multiple experts.

7. Write the interview paper

You can begin by creating a general outline for your interview paper. For example, an interview paper can have an introductory paragraph, several body paragraphs and a conclusion. You may want the first paragraph to be informative and engaging enough to catch the attention of your target readers and make them want to read further. For that, you can define the importance of the subject in the first line, and use the second sentence to build its context and show how it relates to the audience's interests.

In the third sentence, you can include a thesis statement that clearly states how readers can benefit from reading the interview paper. In the fourth sentence, you can mention the points your interview paper is going to cover. The body paragraphs that come after the introduction can include the key facts, details and insights that you have gathered from the expert interviewee and various other sources. There is no limit on the number of paragraphs you can have or the ideas you can discuss, but it is essential to stay on topic and end on a logical note.

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8. Edit and proofread the paper

Once you have completed writing the interview paper, be sure to proofread it for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. It is important to read the paper several times, word by word and aloud to hear how it sounds. If there are any redundant words, phrases or sentences, remove them. If you have used certain words too often, replace them with suitable synonyms. Run the paper through an automated grammar checker to catch any mistakes that you might have missed during manual proofreading.

Correct the punctuation, spellings and sentence structure as required. Read the paper once more to see if it is consistent and logical. You can also ask a friend, family member or colleague to read it and give you their honest feedback. After you are satisfied with the final draft, send it to the expert interviewee for their review and ask them to confirm that you have represented their opinions accurately in the paper. You can then submit the interview paper for publication.

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9. Provide source citations

If you used additional resources for research or in the body of your interview, consider citing them. You can include them in the body of the interview paper, at the end of the paper or use both the citation methods. You can put in-text citations at the end of the cited sentence. They may appear throughout the article and point to the exact page you used as a source. For citations at the end of the paper, you can follow the APA style of a reference list or the MLA style of works cited page.

By providing citations, you can help the reader understand the research you undertook and discover the sources of your ideas, information and quotes. For instance, you might want to cite the articles, books and websites you used in your research. The citations can provide the readers with reliable online and offline references to explore the subject further.

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