How To Write an Interview Paper in APA Format in 10 Steps
An interview paper is an essay based on information acquired via direct communication with a person or multiple people. This type of writing can introduce insights into a subject that published sources can’t provide. If you’re involved in the social sciences and are interested in writing an interview paper of your own, it’s important to understand what it entails and what to consider. In this article, we discuss interview papers and APA format and explain how to write an interview paper in this specific format.
An interview paper is a research-based essay based on information gathered in interviews with various people. While other research papers primarily cite published print sources, interview papers draw their evidence from unpublished conversations—in person, by phone or by email. The interviewees are usually individuals with expertise in the topic being discussed or participants in a study or survey. Aside from academic reports or essays, interview papers are prevalent in journalism, as spoken responses to questions form much of the basis of many newspaper or magazine articles.
The nature of interview papers allows for the potential to include unique insights in your writing. Two people can interview the same person about the same subject but receive somewhat different sets of information depending on the questions they ask. Personal factors, too, can influence the outcome of an interview, as the interviewee’s level of comfort and emotional condition at the time of the conversation may render them or less communicative.
What is APA format?
APA format, or APA style, refers to the rules and standards concerning writing, organization, citation and manuscript preparation as set forth by the American Psychological Association. This style is primarily used in education, business, nursing and the social sciences—such as psychology, sociology, linguistics and economics—in which the readers are most commonly peers reviewing a paper or pursuing continuing education in a subject. Following the format provides the reader with a familiar structure that allows for easy navigation of the contents. It also speaks to the credibility of the author or authors, demonstrating knowledge of the norms expected by the audience.
Abstract: The abstract is a brief section immediately following the title page that summarizes the main findings of the body that follows. Student papers often omit the abstract unless the instructor requires it.
Main body: The main body comprises the content of the paper itself—an essay or a report. APA-style reports typically separate the contents by section—namely, the introduction, a description of study or research methods, the results of the study or research and a discussion of the findings.
References: The references section is a list of the published sources used to support the points in the paper. Personal and research-participant interviews are unpublished, so you can omit them from the references section, but make sure to include published interviews.
Running head: The running head is a header at the top of every page, including the title page. In a professional paper, the running head includes a shortened version of the paper’s title and the page number, while a student paper includes only the page number.
Font: The guidelines concerning font choice state to follow the submission criteria of the teacher or publisher for whom you’re writing. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to select a typeface and size that are generally readable, such as 12-point Times New Roman or 11-point Calibri or Arial.
2. The Right Questions For a Profile Interview
It is vital to come up with the right questions for your interview. You do not want to have a list of randomly assembled queries. Writing an article based on such will likely result in a vague and inconsistent piece that may leave a bitter taste in the mouths of your readers.
The questions you formulate should be tied together in a common theme. Having a subject matter will help shape your interview article into one that is coherent and well organized.
Use open-ended questions as much as possible. These types of questions give the respondent enough berth to provide the appropriate answers. Issues that are answered with a simple “yes” or “no” are unlikely to provoke an unprecedented response. You should ask your interviewee questions that require a thoughtful reply.
Rather than close-ended questions, ask questions that begin with interrogative pronouns such as who, when, where, what and why. Such queries are more likely to provide you with the response you desire.
For the most distinctive response, narrow your questions to those that will draw out the motivations, drives, passions, and ambitions of your interviewee. Asking about these things will take things to a deeper level of discussion and bring substance to your piece.
To have a realistic feel of this, take a look at some magazine interview article examples. Take note of the questions asked, and which issues resulted in the responses that provided the required information.
3. How to Interview Someone For an Article
Taking notes is essential, but may only take you so far. A recording will not only preserve what is said but how it is reported. Interviewees may communicate more through the tones, pauses, and intonations they use while answering questions.
Make the interview natural and conversational. Try to treat your interview questions like guidelines rather than a script. You can rephrase or adjust your questions along the way as long as you do not stray from the main discussion.
Keep the interview friendly and respectable. You will be more likely to get additional information if the interviewee feels comfortable talking with you. Maintaining a respectful tone will assist in building rapport with your interviewee.
As you continue your interview, you may come upon a new area of interest that was not in your question line. Should this happen, do not be afraid to digress. You could form new questions that could shed some light on the unexplored subject and add to the crux of your article. Explore all your question lines to exhaustion.