Interview Planning

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  • To consider steps needed to prepare for, conduct, and keep a record of interviews
  • To apply steps and practice the interviewing process with a team member


  • “Template for Interview Plan” handout (1 per participant)
  • Computer
  • Projector

Prepare Before

Connect the computer to the projector and make sure it is working. Look through “Template for Interview Plan” handout and determine if there are categories or questions to add to guide the group discussion.

Warm Up

What do you think of when you hear the word “Interview?” Picture an interview on TV (maybe a talk-show host interviewing someone famous), an interview in a newspaper (maybe a reporter interviewing someone who witnessed a crime), and an interview for a job (maybe a job interview you’ve had yourself or one you’ve seen on a movie). What are commonalities and divergences in these different kinds of interviews? Discuss in pairs.


Pass out the “Template for Interview Plan” handouts to everyone. Guide a discussion about how to prepare for, conduct, and record interviews. Have a volunteer record the agreed upon notes and plans in the right column. After each row is discussed, ask the team if there are any further topics that should be discussed, and add these into the left column.


Look over the interview plan you just created. Facilitate a discussion using the following reflection questions:

  • What step might be most challenging or new for you?
  • What support might you need to feel ready to complete the plan?


Conducting qualitative interviews for YPAR projects involves more than creating a standard interview protocol. When teams discuss an interview plan many questions and ideas can surface. Discussing these questions and ideas can help a team solidify their vision for the interviews, and tighten their operating procedures, ideally leading to great experiences and strong data.


There are many ways to do mock interviews. The following shows one way, but choose a way that fits best for your group.

One way to do mock interviews is to have a volunteer be the interviewer and the facilitator can be the interviewee. The interviewee can purposefully answer questions in one-word answers or embody other challenges interviewers might come across. After a few minutes, the interviewer can talk about their experiences and what helped when they came up against obstacles. The interviewee can also reflect aloud on the experience. The rest of the group, having observed the mock interview and the reflections, can then brainstorm a list of “dos and don’ts” for interviews.

After this process, practice interviewing in pairs. Keep in mind the plans discussed for asking questions and follow-up questions during the interview. Have one person ask their partner the following questions for a mini-interview:

  • How did you get involved in this project?
  • Tell me about your interest in this topic?
  • What are your hopes for this project?

Once the interviewee has answered all these questions, switch who is the interviewer and who is the interviewee. Discuss which questions elicited more interesting answers. How could you change the questions or add follow-up questions to get deeper answers?