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How to Start an Interview Summary Paper

by Ashley Black, Demand Media

    Starting an interview summary paper can be the hardest aspect of the entire assignment. You have chosen someone to talk to and already conducted the interview. Now what? You likely have a large amount of information in an unorganized list or tape recording. To get from that to a finished written report can seem daunting, but with some planning and organization, you will be well on your way to hitting the print button.

    Step 1

    Organize the information you obtained during the interview. One easy way to do this is to group the information in terms of certain characteristics. For example, group information about the individual's childhood experiences separately from information about her career or later life. Much of this type of information can be intertwined, so organize the information based on how you plan to write about it.

    Step 2

    Choose a thesis statement and general focus for the paper. Consult the guidelines if you are writing the paper for a class. Some common focuses for an interview summary paper include major influences in the individual's life or the individual's impact on your life. Make sure you have enough information from your interview in order to write a full paper on the topic you've chosen. Clearly write out your thesis statement so that it reflects the focus of your paper.

    Step 3

    Write an outline for your paper. Interview summary papers can be written in straight question and answer format, which requires little planning on your part to write, but they can also be written in narrative format. Write down what information you want to include in each section of your paper if you are writing in the narrative. Make sure the information in your outline presents an adequate summary of the information you learned in the interview.

    Step 4

    Begin writing your paper. Your paper should expand and flow naturally from the outline you prepared. Fill in details as necessary. If you are having difficulty getting starting, just begin writing at any given section of the paper. You can revise your work later, but you can only do that if you have something on the page with which to begin.

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    Tip

    • Consult the guidelines if you are writing this paper for a class. You may need to include information about how and where the interview was carried out, as well as physical behaviors and other things, aside from your questions and the individual's answers, you may have noticed during the interview . Be sure to include all the information required of you within the outline and your finished paper.

    Warning

    • Format your interview summary properly. When inserting direct quotes from the interview, do so verbatim. When you paraphrase the information given to you by the individual, be sure to restructure it in your own words to avoid accidental plagiarism.

    About the Author

    Ashley Black has been writing since 2009. Her informational and how-to articles appear on various websites. Receiving a distinction for her writing portfolio, Black earned her Bachelor of Science in psychology from Washington State University and is currently attending Eastern Washington University for her master's degree in clinical psychology.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

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