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Writing - How to Conduct an Interview (Part 1: The Preparation)

There are different types of interviews.

Writing - How to Conduct an Interview (Part 1: The Preparation)

This English Language quiz is called 'Writing - How to Conduct an Interview (Part 1: The Preparation)' and it has been written by teachers to help you if you are studying the subject at middle school. Playing educational quizzes is a fabulous way to learn if you are in the 6th, 7th or 8th grade - aged 11 to 14.

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Often times when you are asked to do a research paper or to give a presentation, your main source, or an important source for your information, comes through conducting interviews.

An interview is a live one-on-one discussion with another person where the interviewer asks the interviewee a series of questions. Interviews are particularly useful for getting the story behind a participant's experiences. The interviewer can pursue in-depth information around a topic. Interviews may be useful as follow-up to certain respondents to questionnaires, e.g., to further investigate their responses.

Before you start to design your interview questions you should clearly determine what the problem or situation is and then what additional information is needed to be asked that can fill in the gaps to your research. By doing this step first it will help you remain focused on the intent of each question that needs to be asked. Always prepare a set number of questions ahead of time before actually conducting an interview. To break this down and to help you prepare for the interview, follow a series of steps as follows:

PREPARATION FOR AN INTERVIEW

Prepare a list of questions to take to the interview. As stated above, prepare a set list of questions first after determining what information you need or would like to obtain. Then memorize the first few questions on your prepared list. By memorizing the first few questions, once you get to the interview, you can look directly at the interviewee without looking at your notes. This shows the interviewee that you are interested in them and what they have to say. In addition, having rehearsed and memorized your questions, the questions will seem more naturally flowing. After the conversation is rolling along, you can then start to steal occasional glances at your written questions and add in new questions that the interviewee’s answers may open up. Other helpful hints in preparing for an interview:

1. Choose a setting with little distractions. Avoid loud lights or noises, ensure the interviewee is comfortable (you might ask them if they are), etc. Often, they may feel more comfortable at their own place of work or home.

2. Explain the purpose of the interview. (Example: “I am researching possible career choices for myself and wanted to speak with someone who has had firsthand experience in my possible career choice to find out the good things about the career, the bad things about the career, education needed, continuing education needed, and their overall personal opinion of that field.”)

Arranging the Interview. When you first contact your subject to arrange the interview, you should:

  • Know what you want to say before you approach the person.
  • Be courteous, regardless of the circumstances.
  • Explain the purpose of the interview but don't talk too much, or try to impose a thesis before your subject has had an opportunity to express herself/himself.
  • Take a low-key approach. Use the word "interview" sparingly; instead, suggest that you would "like to talk with" your subject.

3. Explain the format of the interview. Explain the type of interview you are conducting and its nature. (Such as – face-to-face interview, tape recording interview, taking handwritten notes of the interview, videotaping the interview.)

4. Indicate how long the interview usually takes. (On average, interviews should take no more than 15 to 20 minutes top.)

5. Ask them if they have any questions before you both get started with the interview. Let them get to know you a little bit.

TYPES OF INTERVIEWS:

1. Informal, conversational interview - no predetermined questions are asked, in order to remain as open and adaptable as possible to the interviewee's nature and priorities; during the interview, the interviewer "goes with the flow".

2. General interview guide approach - the guide approach is intended to ensure that the same general areas of information are collected from each interviewee; this provides more focus than the conversational approach, but still allows a degree of freedom and adaptability in getting information from the interviewee.

3. Standardized, open-ended interview - here, the same open-ended questions are asked to all interviewees (an open-ended question is where respondents are free to choose how to answer the question, i.e., they don't select "yes" or "no" or provide a numeric rating, etc.); this approach facilitates faster interviews that can be more easily analyzed and compared.

4. Closed, fixed-response interview - where all interviewees are asked the same questions and asked to choose answers from among the same set of alternatives. This format is useful for those not practiced in interviewing.

TYPES OF TOPICS IN QUESTIONS

1. Behaviors - about what a person has done or is doing

2. Opinions/values - about what a person thinks about a topic

3. Feelings - note that respondents sometimes respond with "I think ..." so be careful to note that you're looking for feelings

4. Knowledge - to get facts about a topic

5. Sensory - about what people have seen, touched, heard, tasted or smelled

6. Background/demographics - standard background questions, such as age, education, etc.

Note that the above questions can be asked in terms of past, present or future.

Taking the time to learn these simple interview preparation steps will help you feel more comfortable when it comes time to conduct your interview. And the more your practice them, the more information you will be able to gather from your interviewees.

Now that you’ve learned a little about the interview preparation process, let’s see how well you can answer the following ten questions on the process. It’s easier than you think! And remember that interviews can be really fun – you could get hooked on doing them!

1.
On average, an interview should last about ______.
15 to 20 minutes
10 to 15 minutes
20 to 25 minutes
15 to 25 minutes
On average, an interview should last about 15 to 20 minutes tops. Answer (a) is correct
2.
Before you start to design your interview questions you should ___________________ that can fill in the gaps to your research.
contact the person or persons to be interviewed to tell them what you are looking for
clearly determine what the problem or situation is and then what additional information is needed to be asked
see what other interviewers have asked regarding the topic of your research paper
articulate your understanding of what is most important
Before you start to design your interview questions you should clearly determine what the problem or situation is and then what additional information is needed to be asked that can fill in the gaps to your research. Answer (b) is correct
3.
You should do this with the first few questions that you will ask in your interview.
Memorize them
Read them out loud
Make them more personal
Narrow the scope of the situation
You should memorize the first few questions before the interview. This allows you to look directly at the interviewee and make them feel important to you and your research. Answer (a) is correct
4.
When interviewing, choose a setting ______.
with comfortable seating
with bright lights
with little distractions
without windows
When interviewing, choose a setting with little distractions. Answer (c) is correct
5.
This is where respondents are free to choose how to answer the question, i.e., they don't select "yes" or "no" or provide a numeric rating, etc.
Leading questions
Open-ended questions
Closed-ended questions
Standardized questions
An open-ended question is where respondents are free to choose how to answer the question, i.e., they don't select "yes" or "no" or provide a numeric rating, etc. Answer (b) is correct
6.
This type of interview is where all interviewees are asked the same questions and asked to choose answers from among the same set of alternatives.
Standardized, open-ended interview
Informal, conversational interview
Closed, fixed-response interview
General interview guide approach
In a closed, fixed-response interview, all interviewees are asked the same questions and asked to choose answers from among the same set of alternatives. Answer (c) is correct
7.
In this type of interview, no predetermined questions are asked.
Closed, fixed-response interview
General interview guide approach
Standardized, open-ended interview
Informal, conversational interview
In an informal, conversational type of interview, no predetermined questions are asked. Answer (d) is correct
8.
These types of questions are about what people have seen, touched, heard, tasted or smelled.
Feelings
Knowledge
Sensory
Behaviors
Sensory questions are about what people have seen, touched, heard, tasted or smelled. Answer (c) is correct
9.
Which of the following is NOT an interview format?
Tape recording
Handwritten letter
Videotaping
Face-to-face
Formats of taking an interview include face-to-face interview, tape recording interview, taking handwritten notes of the interview and videotaping the interview. Writing a letter is not an interview format. Answer (b) is correct
10.
An interview is ___________.
a research tool to use instead of reading materials
the recording of a discussion by the use of a tape recorder
a group discussion where the answer to a problem is solved
a live one-on-one discussion with another person
An interview is a live one-on-one discussion with another person. Answer (d) is correct
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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