- Academic Research and Writing Tips / Tutorial

The Interview Essay

Do you know anyone famous? Do you know people that are interesting? Interviews can be used to get to know neighbors, family members, and others. It is a great way to learn about different professions. Instructors may assign an interview essay to students to get to know the student's writing abilities. It is a great way to help students learn more about careers. While not every statement the person makes can be put into the interview essay, the key points the person states can be used to design an interview essay that will inform and entertain the audience.

Interview Essay

Has the instructor stated whom you have to interview or do you have a choice? Before you go on the interview jot down some questions to ask the interviewee. What is special about the person? Why have you chosen this individual? Has he/she done anything outstanding? Why would your audience want to meet this individual? Make a list of questions that you plan to ask. Often people get nervous during the interview and forget to ask key questions without preparing for the interview.

The first step to writing an interview essay is doing the interview. Often people will say that they are not special, but everyone has a story. It is important to get the interviewee comfortable so he/she will begin talking about his/her life. During the interview ask questions to motivate the interviewee to talk. Draw the details out by asking more questions. Some people use tape recorders. If you do it is important to get permission first.

Once you have finished the interview the writing process begins. Take your notes and arrange them in a logical order. Use your notes to create an outline. What will your thesis statement be? What are the main points and how do these support your thesis? What do you plan to tell the audience about the individual? Making an outline will have you in writing the essay.

Begin the introduction paragraph with an anecdote about the person you interviewed. Something funny is a great way to start the essay. However, any anecdote that grabs the attention of the reader is important. The introductory paragraph will tell the name of the interviewee and why the interview was done. Usually this can be done in the thesis statement.

Many interviewers do a question and answer form to write about the interviewee. It is important to make sure the answers are direct quotes from the interviewee. However, the interview essay can be written in a narrative essay form. It depends on what the instructor wants as well as how you want to write it.

If you use the question and answer format, be sure to use interesting questions the audience will want to know. Answer these questions with quotations from the interview. Use questions you prepared to ask the interviewee and then answer these questions with answers from the interviewee.

The narrative form of essay uses information from the interview with a thesis statement telling who and why you interviewed the individual. The narrative form can use direct quotes, but it allows more freedom to express your own thoughts. Tell different anecdotes the interviewee shared with you. Use the questions asked during the interview to back up the thesis and to share information about the interviewee. Share any funny anecdotes as well as serious anecdotes about the interviewee.

The last step in writing an interview essay is to carefully proofread your essay. Check for spelling and grammar errors. Have you used smooth transitions from one paragraph to another? Have you checked for quotes for accuracy? Read the essay out loud to check for errors. Rewrite the essay and you will have a great interview essay.