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Knowing how to write an interview essay is an extremely useful skill for students of all departments, since this assignment is often given at different subjects. Clearly, everybody knows what interviews look like, as we all have seen them in magazines and web articles. Basically, it is a documented conversation between two people, while one of them is an expert, and another is an interviewer. However, when it comes to composing an interview essay, a more profound knowledge is required, as this type of writing is not of an entertaining nature, and implies a certain academic value.

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How to Write an Interview Essay: A Guide for College Students

What Is an Interview Essay?

Before learning how to deal with assignments of this sort, let us clarify the basic definition: what is an interview essay? It is a type of paper that discusses a certain subject or topic in the form of questions and answers between the interviewer and interviewee. The interviewee is often an expert in the field of discussion, which is why his or her opinion is important, and sometimes several people may be interviewed for one paper.
Based on this definition, you can see how to start an interview essay: the first thing needed is conducting an interview. Then, you would need to make an analysis of the answers received and start the actual writing of the paper. The latter can be arranged within a few consecutive steps:

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  1. Choose the key theme of your interview, a specific problem or issue that you would like to focus on.
  2. Write interview essay questions that would help to discuss the theme in full.
  3. Find the experts or people related to the discussed issue and arrange a meeting.
  4. Conduct the interview with a thorough documentation of every answer.
  5. Go through the answers and highlight the main ideas expressed. Filter out the unnecessary lines.
  6. Compose your essay within the frames of the required format.

Making an Interview Essay Outline

Planning is an essential part of any process, which is why we suggest you to prepare an interview essay outline before writing. It will help you to map out the main elements of the paper and think about their proper arrangement. Here is an example of how an outline for your essay could look like:

  • Introduction. Presents the topic and the interviewee, explains what issue is being addressed and why this person’s opinion matters.
  • Thesis statement. Narrows down the theme of the paper to a clear idea, which is the focal point of your work.
  • Body. Discusses the main idea from the different points of view, based on the interview you had conducted.
  • Conclusion. Summarizes the paper, providing a final closing argument.

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Once you know what content shall be included in your paper, it is time to decide how it will be arranged logically and visually. Below are the major types of interview essay formats, one of which can be used for your assignment.

  • Narrative: presents the content of the interview in the form of a narration, formulating a unified story with inclusions of direct quotes from the interview.
  • Conversational: retells the interview from the first or second person, adding your personal comments to it.
  • Q & A: is written in the format of direct speech, with accurately recorded questions and answers from the interview. No comments are provided.

You can choose the format that is the most suitable for your topic, or consult your professor regarding which format should be chosen. In addition, you can review some interview essay examples to see the possible ways of arranging your work.

Opening the Interview Essay: Presenting the Issue

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In the opening paragraph of your interview essay, make sure to state the main purpose of the paper, whether it is highlighting certain events, discussing some problem, finding a solution for some issue, or learning how to do something from the interviewee. Remember that the core idea of your essay should be included in the thesis statement, the nucleus of the introduction and the paper in general.
Apart from mentioning the key idea of your paper, the introduction should also present the interviewee to the readers, giving a brief summary of his or her character, field of work, and personal achievements. This will allow to make the interview more individual and humane, which is important for its informative value.

Working on the Body

The main part of your essay will discuss the answers received in the course of the interview, which means that the more information you manage to get, the more engaging the body of the paper will be. Thus, make sure to prepare interesting, creative questions, which will encourage the interviewee to share more. To do this, use the Wh-questions instead of the direct questions, as you obviously cannot build a good paper on the yes/no answers.
While writing the body part of the essay, mind the format you have chosen. The narrative and conversational formats allow adding your personal comments and providing additional facts, which can make the interview more complete and coherent. If you applied a Q&A structure, pay attention to the proper referencing of the direct speech and leave out the unimportant sentences. In any case, you need to analyze the recorded answers before writing your essay. To have a better idea of how the body of your paper should be organized, you can take a look at one of the free interview essay examples available online.

Closing the Interview Essay

The final paragraph of your paper should summarize the points stated in the essay and link them to the thesis statement contained in the introduction. You might consider rephrasing the thesis statement and using this new formulation in your conclusion. There is no need to express new ideas or arguments: simply address the ones that are present in the body of the paper. In addition, make sure that the conclusion logically ends the discussion presented in the paper and contributes to the general coherence of the essay.

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