Personal Interviews

Thanks for choosing the Personal Interview option! We think you’re really going to enjoy meeting some individuals that are connected to your topic and talking to them to deepen and stretch your understanding!

Independent Investigation – Personal Interviews


Certain kinds of information cannot be acquired through a lab experiment, a survey, or other data collection. Individuals’ experiences and perspectives—can also be rich with information for a scientist to mine, but are best gathered through a personal interview.  Social scientists call this kind of information qualitative data.
For this Independent Investigation, you will find TWO individuals to interview.

  1. Community Perspective Interview – Interview a knowledgeable member of a local community that can offer a community-level perspective about attitudes and potential solutions. Note, the point of community perspective interview is to find an interesting perspective on an issue, not a first hand report of a difficult (or even traumatic) life experience.(Tips for interviewing connected citizens are here).
  1. Connected Professional Interview – Interview a person who is working directly with the prevention, impact, or education in an area related to your topic.

Remember, the important thing is to find two different and interesting perspectives. There is not always a clear line between ‘professional’ and ‘knowledgeable community member’. For example, a Salaam Balaak Trust guide who is working full time to educate people about the needs of homeless children could be either or both. The same would be true for a local doctor who volunteers 20 hours a week teaching English at a Government School. The important thing is that you find two different, interesting perspectives and explain your rationale for choosing these perspectives in your write-up.

Note: Finding an interesting community perspective can sometimes seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember, these individuals are not always directly involved in the topic you’re studying, rather they can tell you about a community’s outlook on the topic and potential community-based solutions.

From residents of the nearby Vivekenand Camp to development specialists working for the United Nations, Delhi is full of people with interesting perspectives and stories to tell. Put your talent as a journalist to work and interview two of them. Here’s how:

  • Determine how to connect your topic to the personal interviews option. Some topics are far more sensitive than others and this can make it difficult to secure interviews. Although you might not find people who are connected in a first-hand way, most people have some level of understanding or connection to most issues. If the connection isn’t strong, think about how you might find an aspect of your project to talk about.
  • Select and contact two interviewees (the Community Perspective and the Connected Professional) who have relevant information to offer you about your topic area.
  • For each interviewee, write a paragraph on why you selected this person to interview (RATIONALE).
  • For both interviews, write 2-3 questions that you will ask BOTH INTERVIEWEES.
  • For both interviews, write 1 question that you will flip to ask each interviewee. For example, “What do professionals believe about this issue’s impact on professionals?” “What do citizens believe about this issue’s impact on professionals?”
  • For each interview, write 5-7 open-ended questions related to your topic. If you interview a professional, be sure to ask about methodology (what methods are used to collect these data/information he/she is sharing). For each of these questions have several follow-up questions/prompts prepared. These can be general – Tell me more, How, Why, When, And? Or they can be more specific and based on what you expect the response to be.
  • Conduct the interviews. This can be in person or over the phone, and take notes recording the responses in the form of a written transcript. Record the interviews, if possible. Email interviews are not acceptable (unless you are an intermediate EAL student). Intermediate EAL students may also use an online video source in place of a personal interview.
  • Prepare the transcripts of the two interviews. This is a record of what was actually said. You may edit out irrelevant passages but you may not alter or change what your interviewee said. Then write a one-page (approx. 300 words) personal reflection for each interview. Note: Intermediate EAL students are not required to prepare a transcript but instead will prepare a summary of the information, along with your personal reflection.
  • Combine the rationales, transcripts, and personal reflections into one write-upHere is a suggested template for your report. Please note that this is not the only way you can present your work, but it has a logical structure and it should serve you well.

Below are some documents we’ve created to help you get an idea of the task ahead:

The last document is the bare bones from this site which you should find very helpful. It is a long read, and not all of it is relevant to what you are doing, but there is some excellent information in there. There is also some information here.

Below is a short video clip about interviewing a source. He has some interesting things to say about research and how that generates questions.
How to conduct an interview with a source.


Before You Submit!

  1. Check your report against the rubric – Personal Interview Assessment Rubric
  2. Make any necessary tweaks and alterations
  3. Organize your report in a logical manner – we highly suggest using the provided template
  4. Make a final proof read (or get someone to do it for you)
  5. Make your final changes and print a hard copy
  6. Turn in your reports to your advisor

Remember, you can find due dates for all POP assignments on the POP calendar. (Hint: the due date for this assignment is April 19.)

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