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How to Write an Interview Essay

written by: Kellie Hayden • edited by: Trent Lorcher • updated: 1/20/2012

Writing an essay based on an interview takes a different form than most traditional essays you may be used to writing. Learn how to write this type of essay with these instructions.

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    Interview Essay Tips

    Before writing the essay, you have a lot of prep work to do. Decide what you would like to write about and determine and interesting figure you can interview. Do some preliminary research before the interview itself to decide what kind of questions you should ask. During the interview, make sure you take a lot of notes, or best of all, tape record the interview so you can remain focused on the conversation. If you need more help with the interview portion, read this article.

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    Organizing the Notes of the Interview

    Narrative format or question and answer format?

    First, you need to know if your teacher wants you to write the essay in a narrative format or in a question answer format. This will affect how you organize your paper.

    Both essay formats need a strong introduction, an organized body and a solid conclusion. The difference is that the question and answer essay will use direct quotes with your questions. The narrative essay can have paraphrased information from the interview mixed in with direct quotes.

    How doBegin Writing Your Interview Essay  I begin writing my interview essay?

    Hopefully, you took copious (many) notes during your interview and hopefully you were allowed to record the interview to catch any information that you missed in your notes. Now, you need to organize your information into a logical outline

    Probably the easiest way to organize all the information is to read through your notes and to listen to the recording of the interview. You need to think about what the reader like to know about the person you interviewed. Pick three main themes or ideas that you talked about during the interview.

    These will become body paragraphs for you essay. Once you have wrapped your brain around the three main things you are going to talk about in your essay, you need to write out an outline.

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    Sample Outline

    How do I write an outline?

    This outline will help you write a five paragraph essay for a narrative format. However, you can easily organize your question and answer format essay using this outline as well.

    I. Introduction

    Start with a humorous or interesting anecdote or fact that the person told you.

    Thesis statement: A thesis statement is one sentence that tells who was interviewed, his or her title, and why you interviewed the person. Basically, what do you plan to tell your reader about this person? This must be in the introduction, and you must spell the person's name correctly.

    II. Body paragraph 1: One big idea you learned

    III. Body paragraph 2: Second big idea you learned

    III. Body paragraph 3: Third big idea you learned

    IV. Conclusion: You need to wrap up your essay by summarizing and writing some concluding remarks about the person.

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    Write the Interview Essay

    How do I turn the outline into an essay?

    Depending on the assigned length of your paper, you can write a paragraph for each Roman numeral on your outline. However, if you need to write a longer essay, you can have several paragraphs for Roman numerals II, III, and IV.

    You need to make sure that you put quotation marks around words that the person said, and you need to make sure that you body paragraphs support your thesis statement. Once you have a rough draft written, you need someone to peer-edit your paper. Then, you can write a final copy for your teacher.

    You should now be an expert on how to write an interview essay. You may need to edit and revise your essay to get a top grade, but you should understand the writing process for the interview essay.

References

  • Photo by Kellie Hayden

Interviews and Essays

The following articles will help you to complete an interview and write the interview essay.
  1. How to Interview Someone for a Paper
  2. How to Write an Interview Essay