Learn How to Write a Remarkable Interview Paper in 6 Steps

how to write an interview paper

Have you ever wanted to interview a professional or a stranger? Now is the time to learn how to write an interview paper! Wait, what? Perhaps some of you here are perplexed right now. I understand your sentiment because this type of essay usually puzzles first timers.

An interview paper is a typical academic requirement for high school and college students. It is also occasionally done in middle school. All in all, this particular document grants students the opportunity to learn something new from people.

Sounds overwhelming? Well, never fear because I will tackle everything you need to know about writing an interview paper.

   What is an Interview Paper?

An interview paper is a type of essay that allows you to use a person as your main source of information instead of books or articles. That person can be your family member, an authority figure, a vendor, a stranger walking on the street, or anyone in particular!

  • Questions asked to the interviewee are usually prepared before the interview. The date, time, and location are also arranged.
  • An interview essay allows you to gain first-hand information on the person’s experience or field of expertise. Of course, this may depend on what is required by your teacher.

Writing an interview paper is a refreshing approach to expand one’s horizons. In fact, it proves that knowledge is not simply confined to the four walls of the classroom.

Interesting, right? Okay, it’s time to find out how to write an interview paper outline.

   Interview Paper Outline

An interview paper follows the “classic” structure of an essay, meaning there’s an introduction, body, and conclusion. You are free to make slight changes to the outline below to suit your needs.

I. Introduction

a. An interesting hook to “bait” your readers

              b. Context or background information

              c. Thesis statement

II. Body

a. Point #1 (Topic sentence)

                       1. Supporting detail #1

                       2. Supporting detail #2

                       3. Concluding sentence

              b. Point #2

                       1. Supporting detail #1

                       2. Supporting detail #2

                       3. Concluding sentence

              c. Point #3

                       1. Supporting detail #1

                       2. Supporting detail #2

                       3. Concluding sentence

III. Conclusion

                       1. Reassert the thesis statement

                       2. Short summary of your main points

                       3. Additional insights

                       4. Closing statement

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   How to Conduct an Interview?

Conducting an interview

Before you begin writing your interview paper, we will have a short lecture on how to conduct an interview properly.

1Find a Person!

My classmates and I interviewed several stakeholders for our college thesis regarding nuclear energy and their preferred energy source.

Yes, that means interviewing a business person, the energy department secretary, a member of a civil society organization (CSO) — you name it! Having an experience with interviews, I would like to underscore the following guidelines:

  • Think first on the person you plan to interview and consider what is asked of you in the prompt. Are you going to interview a CEO (chief executive officer)? A family member? A psychologist? Or a stranger?
  • You can create a list of people you plan to interview. I also suggest you do some research on the person or the company/organization he/she is part of before arranging an interview.
  • Another way to find a potential interviewee is by attending conferences near you. To illustrate my point, we were able to schedule an interview with someone from the natural resources department. We got his contact details and interviewed him around a week or two after the conference.
  • Although it was not surprising considering the conference centered on nuclear energy. It was in line with our thesis topic and research objectives. The point is, you can always try. Moreover, it is crucial to ensure the conference you’re planning to attend is related to your paper’s topic.
  • If you intend to interview a businessman/woman, then participate in a business-related event.


You have other school requirements to do, so it’s best to set your schedule ahead.

  • Call the office if the staff will allow you to conduct an interview with a professional. There’s a chance that they will decline your offer. Hence, it is best to have a contingency plan prepared beforehand.
  • Consider where you will meet your interviewee. If he/she (or even you) lives far from your respective cities or states, then a Skype interview would be a plausible idea. However, you should talk to him/her (via email or phone call) before considering this option.
  • You can ask your interviewee if you are allowed to record the interview for academic purposes. Unfortunately, some people prohibit you from recording your interview with them.
  • Then, set the time and date of your interview! You may opt to bring a small token of appreciation (Ex: Pamphlets published by your course department). In this case, seek help from your teacher. That’s what my group members and I did before. 😄

3Prepare a Set of Questions!

Ask good questions that enable your interviewee to elaborate his/her point. Don’t hesitate to ask follow-up questions; keep the conversation flowing!

  • There are instances when your teacher requires you to submit a draft of your questions for approval. For instance, it happened when my classmates and I interviewed those stakeholders for our thesis.
  • Or sometimes, your teacher will prepare a set of pre-determined questions for you to ask the interviewee. Again, it’s situational.
  • Otherwise, it would be solely up to you to design those questions.

4Take Down Notes!

Personally, it is recommended to take down notes, even if the interviewee permitted you to record the interview.

  • Oh! Don’t be late for the interview, and make yourself presentable too. Dressing in smart casual would be great.

How about a photo opportunity with my interviewee? As per social protocols, you should always ask for permission from him/her first.

Take note: Conducting an interview may be frightening or intimidating at first (especially if it involves strangers), but you will be privileged to talk to someone who is an expert in the field. Remember, you are not always asked to interview a friend or your relatives. 😊

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   How to Write an Interview Paper?

1Organize your Notes!

I’m sure your notes are messy after the interview. Here are some ways to organize them:

  • You can arrange all the information in your notes from the most important to the least important. It’s up to you.

Take note: You are free to listen to the recorded interview again to ensure that you did not miss anything important.

2Review the Prompt!

This will allow you to get a glimpse of the following:

  • The interview paper’s purpose.
  • Page/word limit
  • Guide questions

Take these into account before you begin drafting your essay.

3Write the Introduction!

You can start off your essay with an astonishing fact, data/statistics, or an anecdote to hook your reader. The anecdote can be about you or the interviewee. Really, it depends on you.

  • It is also best to include some basic information about your interviewee (Ex: His/her occupation).

Like any other paper, you should always have a thesis statement at the end of the introduction. A thesis serves as your essay’s main idea or claim.

4Write the Body!

Support your thesis statements with your core arguments. Look at your prompt and adjust your body paragraphs accordingly. Be sure to dedicate at least one theme in one paragraph. Don’t cram everything!

  • It can get repetitive, so it’s best to narrow down or omit some of your interviewee’s words. Why? You have to be specific. Not every detail will be placed in your paper.
  • Be prepared to add ellipses and brackets. Moreover, follow your citation style’s guideline if the quote you will embed exceeds more than 40 words (APA) or four lines (MLA).
  • Yes, it’s common to cite direct quotes in your interview paper. It may be challenging, but please try to format them correctly.

Speaking of which, here’s how you can write a parenthetical citation for your interview:


Except for the interviewee’s surname, the interviewee’s name must be written in initials. Follow it up with the word “personal communication” and the date of the interview. Study the example below:

  • Plagiarism is prevalent in higher education (C. Smith, personal communication, October 22, 2018).

It should also be written on your references page:


Medina, A. (2018, October 22). Personal interview with C. Smith.

Take note: The “Medina, A.” refers to the interviewer’s name.


Write your interviewee’s surname inside the parenthesis. Look at the example below:

  • Plagiarism is prevalent in higher education (Smith).

If you’re including the interview in your Works Cited page, it will be referenced like this:

Works Cited

Smith, Charlotte. Personal interview. 22 Oct. 2018.

Take note: If the interview took place in Skype, you can write “Skype interview.” Use citefast to document it.

5Write the Conclusion!

Restate your thesis statement and summarize all the main points of your interview paper.

  • Don’t forget to write your insights about the interview.
  • Comments about the interviewee are welcome too. Remember, be civil. Don’t bash him/her! Be constructive, not destructive.

6Edit and Proofread!

Set aside your paper for a period of time (15-60 minutes) before editing and proofreading it. Polish what needs to be polished. You can either do this yourself or have someone read your draft.

  • Correct all typographical and grammatical errors in your interview paper.
  • Double check if every information is cited correctly. This includes the interviewee’s name and the date. Oh yes! Be sure that your direct quotes are also formatted properly as per APA or MLA styles.
  • Rephrase or restructure any unclear statements.

Do I need to provide a transcript of the interview? They’re usually not needed unless your professor instructed you to do so. Otherwise…

Congratulations! You are now ready to submit the final interview essay to your teacher!

I hope you learned how to write an interview paper and the basics of conducting an interview.

As always, try not to be distracted by games or social media. Oh please! You can do those activities later. Further, accomplishing that paper would not be a problem if you were able to manage your workload and time. 😉

Good luck with your interview paper! Oh— is that essay too hard? You can always ask our professional Geeks for help. They can nail it. 100% guaranteed. 👊

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