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Writing - How to Conduct an Interview (Part 2: The Interview)

Are you good at conducting interviews?

Writing - How to Conduct an Interview (Part 2: The Interview)

This English Language quiz is called 'Writing - How to Conduct an Interview (Part 2: The Interview)' 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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One of your best sources for writing a research paper will be obtained through conducting an interview or a series of interviews with people who have firsthand knowledge about the topic you are writing about.

For example, if you do a research paper on becoming a nurse, interviewing people who are working as a nurse would be a great source of information. They can tell you about the training that is needed, how much nurses make, what their day-to-day assignments are, what the demand is and so on. They can give you information that cannot be found in books.

Conducting successful interviews is a learning process.

If you do not learn the steps involved, you could walk away from an interview with very little valuable information. It is not a hard process or series of steps but those steps are critical. If you have not taken the How to Conduct an Interview (Part 1: The Preparation) quiz, please look at that quiz first as it details the steps that need to be taken before an interview can even begin. Once that quiz has been understood and mastered, this quiz will help you in conducting the actual interview.

When you get down to conducting the actual interview, the questions asked should be done in a proper sequence. If the questions are all over the place, your interviewee could become confused and then their answers will become jumbled. So stick to an organized sequence as follows:

Sequence of Questions

1. Get the respondents involved in the interview as soon as possible.

2. Before asking about controversial matters (such as feelings and conclusions), first ask about some facts. With this approach, respondents can more easily engage in the interview before warming up to more personal matters.

3. Intersperse fact-based questions throughout the interview to avoid long lists of fact-based questions, which tends to leave respondents disengaged.

4. Ask questions about the present before questions about the past or future. It's usually easier for them to talk about the present and then work into the past or future.

5. The last questions might be to allow respondents to provide any other information they prefer to add and their impressions of the interview.

Wording of Questions

1. Wording should be open-ended. Respondents should be able to choose their own terms when answering questions.

2. Questions should be as neutral as possible. Avoid wording that might influence answers, e.g., evocative, judgmental wording.

3. Questions should be asked one at a time.

4. Questions should be worded clearly. This includes knowing any terms particular to the program or the respondents' culture.

5. Be careful asking "why" questions. This type of question infers a cause-effect relationship that may not truly exist. These questions may also cause respondents to feel defensive, e.g., that they have to justify their response, which may inhibit their responses to this and future questions. Therefore, you should try to avoid asking a “why” question.

Conducting the Interview

1. Ask one question at a time.

2. Attempt to remain as neutral as possible. That is, don't show strong emotional reactions to their responses.

3. Encourage responses with occasional nods of the head, "uh huh"s, etc.

4. Be careful about the appearance when note taking. That is, if you jump to take a note, it may appear as if you're surprised or very pleased about an answer, which may influence answers to future questions.

5. Provide transition between major topics, e.g., "we've been talking about (some topic) and now I'd like to move on to (another topic)."

6. Don't lose control of the interview. This can occur when respondents stray to another topic, take so long to answer a question that time begins to run out, or even begin asking questions to the interviewer.

Here are some additional hints in Conducting the Interview

While you are interviewing a person:

  • Make each question count. Your job is not simply to fill time but to use the time available to its fullest advantage.
  • Try to get complete statements. Don't hesitate to press for further details or information simply by rephrasing the person's answer in the form of a question.
  • If you need examples, ask for them.
  • When you don't understand something an interviewee is telling you, ask for a clarification or further explanation.
  • Avoid interrupting your interviewee.
  • Avoid talking too much.
  • Above all else (whether your tape recorder is running or not), listen.
  • Take notes of all forms of nonverbal communication.
  • Don't wear out your subject. When the agreed-upon time limit is up or when you sense that your interviewee is growing tired or losing interest bring the interview to a close.

Immediately after the Interview

As soon as possible after the interview you need to translate your notes and/or transcribe your tapes. In a day or two, your scribbled notes will resemble a foreign language, and you won't be nearly as certain of exactly what your interviewee said.

Mastering these techniques will make you a great interviewer not only in school, but once you enter into the business world. Interviews are a way of life and you will conduct many and be the interviewee of even more. Learning the process can help you get the job of your choice or hire the best person for a position. If will also help to eliminate a lot of fears when it comes time for you to be interviewed and help to you attend an interview with confidence.

Now that you have studied the preparation process of taking an interview and the actual taking of an interview, it’s time to test yourself on what you have learned. Below are ten interview questions. See if you can get them all right!

1.
Provide ______ between major topics.
encouragement
transition
examples
clarification
Provide transition between major topics. Answer (b) is correct
2.
Above all else in an interview you should _____.
keep eye contact
avoid making judgments
keep silent
listen
Above all else in an interview you should listen. Answer (d) is correct
3.
Immediately after an interview you should ______.
translate your notes
thank the interviewee
follow-up with the interviewee
take a break and wait a day or two to review your notes
As soon as possible after the interview you need to translate your notes and/or transcribe your tapes. Answer (a) is correct
4.
Interview questions should be _______.
opinion based
optimistic
leading
neutral
Interview questions should be neutral. Answer (d) is correct
5.
In the sequence of questions, the first thing you should do is _______.
ask about present events
get the respondent involved
ask about past events
ask the respondent how they feel
In the sequence of questions, the first thing you should do is get the respondent (interviewee) involved. Answer (b) is correct
6.
Encourage responses with _________.
compliments to the respondent
examples of situations related to the question
occasional nods of the head
reading from your handwritten notes
Encourage responses with occasional nods of the head. Answer (c) is correct
7.
In an interview you should ______________ throughout the interview.
inquire as to the comfort of the respondent
give the respondent breaks
limit the respondent's answers
intersperse fact-based questions
In an interview you should intersperse fact-based questions throughout the interview. Answer (d) is correct
8.
The wording of questions should be _________.
open-ended
leading
simple
multi-part
The wording of questions should be open-ended. Answer (a) is correct
9.
The last questions of an interview should _____________.
wrap up the topic of the interview
include the interviewer's opinion of the interviewee
allow the respondent to provide any further information they prefer to add and their impressions of the interview
include the interviewer's understanding of the information provided by the interviewee
The last questions of an interview should allow the respondent to provide any other information they prefer to add and their impressions of the interview. Answer (c) is correct
10.
You should try to avoid asking this type of question.
Why
How
What
When
You should try to avoid asking “why” questions because these questions may cause the respondent to feel defensive. Answer (a) is correct
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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