Virginia has been a university English instructor for over 20 years. She specializes in helping people write essays faster and easier.
An Interview Essay explores the different viewpoints on a topic question.
Steps in Writing
- Pick one of the topic questions.
- Write a list of questions about that topic.
- Ask those questions to at least five people and record their answers.
- Use the data you've gathered to write your paper describing the different views on your topic question.
Questions About Experiences and Choices
- How do you keep yourself from getting sick? What do you do when you are sick? How often do you stay home ill each year?
- What is your favorite thing to have for breakfast?
- How often do you eat out? Where do you most like to go?
- Who is your best friend? How did you become best friends? How are you alike or different?
- Do you think that "opposites attract?" Is this a good or a bad thing? Do you know any examples?
- Have you ever been in a long-distance relationship? What do you think makes long-distance relationships succeed or fail?
- Do you have nightmares? What are they? Do they reflect real-life fears and events?
- If you had $1000 to give to a charity, which one would you choose to give the money to? Why?
- When you see the Salvation Army bell ringers at Christmas or are asked for a donation for a cause at a store, what do you do?
- Do you think that people who have more education or more money are responsible for giving more to others?
- Who do you think is more generous, poor people or rich people? Do you know any examples?
- Do you ever feel that people stereotype you? What stereotypes do they have about you? Is there anything you've ever done to try to break out of, or reinforce that stereotype?
- Have you ever misjudged someone? Can you tell me about that experience? What caused you to misjudge them? Has that experience changed you in any way?
- What is the worst teacher you ever had? What made that teacher so terrible? How did that affect you and your education? What did you do to survive that class?
- What is the best teacher you ever had? How did that person help you? What did that teacher do to make that class memorable?
- Did you ever lose a friendship? How did it happen? How did that affect your life? Do you have any regrets or anything you wish you had done differently?
- How has divorce touched your life? How has it changed your perspective on marriage?
- The saying is "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." Is that true? Do you know a story of when this was or was not true?
- "Every cloud has a silver lining" is a popular old saying. Does this apply to your life? Why or why not?
- Do you know a couple whose love has lasted through "better and worse, richer and poorer, in sickness and in health?" Tell me about that couple. What did they do to make their love last?
- Are you a person who views the glass "half-empty" or "half full?" Why is that? How has that affected your life and experiences?
- What is the most difficult circumstance you have had to overcome? How has that shaped who you are?
- What is the highlight of your life so far? How did that success shape your personality? How has it affected your goals for the future?
- What historical person do you most admire? What about their life inspires you? How would you like to be like them?
- If you were to live a different life, what would it be? Would you choose a different period of history? To live in a different country? Or to be a different sort of person? Explain what and why.
Interview Essay Tip
Your essay will be better if you include people of different ages, experiences, and beliefs as interview subjects.
Questions About Values
- What is beauty? Who or what do you think is most beautiful?
- What is courage? Who do you know who exhibits real courage?
- What does it mean to be faithful? Give examples of faithfulness.
- What is loyalty in friendship? How can a person show loyalty? What is disloyalty?
- What is love? Where do you see or experience love the most?
- What is happiness? How do people experience happiness and what makes them happy?
- What is peace? Is peace important? What kind and how do we make our lives more peaceful?
- What is gentleness? Where do you see gentleness? Is there a place in society we need more gentleness?
- What is patience? How can you develop patience? When have you needed patience?
- What is strength? What type of strength have you had in your own life? Whose strength do you most admire?
- What is old? Who is old and what does "old" look like?
- What is goodness? How do people show goodness? What is your favorite example of goodness?
- What is self-control? Where does our culture show self-control? Where does it not show self-control? Where do you wish you had more self-control?
- What is perseverance? When do people need perseverance? Can you think of an example in your own life?
- What is drive? What gives people drive? What sorts of things most make people have this trait?
- What is nurturing? When is nurturing important? How do men and women show this quality differently?
- What is responsibility? Are there different roles of responsibility in a family? How is responsibility divided up in your family?
- What is fun? What makes something fun? How do you make fun of your life? Who do you know that is fun?
- What is nice? When do we use the word "nice" rather than other words? What other words does nice stand for?
- What is boastful? How does someone show they are boastful? What is the difference between boastful and proud?
- What is intelligence? How do we get it? Is there a way to make it increase? How important is it?
- What does the phrase "follow your dreams" mean? Is this good advice? Why or why not? What good or bad examples do you know from your own life?
- What is trust? What sorts of things should be trusted? How can we tell what we can trust?
- What is quality? How can you know that something is good or bad quality? How important is quality compared to other things?
- What is cheap? What makes something cheap or not cheap? In what ways is cheap good? bad?
Tip: Talk to an Elderly Relative
Life Experience Topics
- How should you prepare for a job interview?
- What is the best way to drive to prevent accidents?
- How many children is the ideal number? Why?
- What is the best age to get married to have a lasting relationship?
- Should mothers of preschool children work? Why or why not?
- How should household chores be divided up?
- What is the best way to keep a healthy weight?
- How much sleep should people get each night? How can they make sure they get that much sleep?
- How can a person keep from procrastinating?
- How can a person incorporate more exercise in their daily life?
- Which pets are the best ones for a family to have?
- What is the best vacation you ever took?
- What was the best thing your parents did raising you?
- How did your relationship with siblings shape who you are?
- What did you learn in your first job?
- What is your favorite season of the year? Why?
- Which holiday celebration was the most meaningful to you growing up?
- Where do you like to go to be alone and think?
- Which of your relatives, outside of your immediate family, had the most influence on you growing up?
- What smells bring back memories from your childhood?
- What object do you own that you'd most like to pass down to your grandchildren? Explain what it is and why it is important to you.
- What skills did you learn from your family that you think have helped you most?
- What do you wish you had learned to do as a child? Why?
- When did you lose, get rejected, or get left out of something? How did that experience shape you?
- What would you most like to give to your children that you did not get as a child? Or, what did you receive as a child that you would most like to pass on to your children?
Opinions About Current Issues
- Should police departments be reformed? If so, how?
- How can individual people best combat racism?
- Should we continue to have Republican and Democratic Political Parties?
- Should our election of the President be done differently? Should we limit the money that is spent, change the electoral college, or make some other change?
- Should the United States aim for self-sufficiency in energy? How should we do that?
- Should the United States continue to be involved in the Middle East? What should be the role of the U.S.?
- How much should the rich pay in taxes? Who is rich?
- How much are you concerned about the environment? Do you try to reduce your own "carbon footprint?" What do you do?
- How can individuals reduce their amount of debt? What do you do?
- Should the age of retirement be raised? What should the changes be and why?
- What do you think about the Creationism vs. Evolutionism controversy? Should Creationism be taught in schools?
- Should national standardized testing be implemented in schools?
- What should be done to help make sure all children get a good education?
- What can be done to encourage the development of small businesses?
- Do you know a successful small business? What makes that business successful?
- Is the current campaign against drug use among school children successful? What could be done better?
- Do you know any illegal immigrants? What are their experiences? What do you think should be done about illegal immigration?
- Do you know instances where parents neglected their children to focus on personal problems or their careers? Should children be able to divorce their parents?
- What responsibility do children have toward their parents as they age?
- Should families try to keep frail elderly loved ones at home, or is it better for them to be cared for in a nursing home?
- Should morbidly obese people have to pay extra for their health insurance?
- How can people be encouraged to get and keep a healthy weight? What can schools, businesses, the government, or families do?
- Which disease or health issue concerns you the most (examples: cancer, diabetes, HIV, obesity, Alzheimer's)? Why?
- What changes should be made in-laws to make driving safer?
- What could be done in your community to encourage people to use public transportation, walking, or biking rather than cars?
- Should there be restrictions on guns? What should be done to prevent violence?
- Have you ever had problems getting good health care? What was the problem? What do you think could be done to improve the health care system?
- Should schools invest in giving every child a laptop or tablet instead of textbooks?
Idea: Talk to a Homeless Person
Questions & Answers
Question: What can be done to encourage the development of small businesses?
Answer: That question should make an interesting paper. It would be a good idea to interview some people in charge of a community, such as people on the city council or the mayor. Additionally, you should get the opinions of people who own small businesses since they probably know best what would help them to develop and grow.
Question: Which way is the best way to interview a person?
Answer: Different methods of interviewing have different advantages and disadvantages Sometimes, the easiest way to interview someone is by email because they can think about their answers and write them down. You will then be able to make sure you are quoting them correctly when you write your paper.
However, you won't be able to ask follow-up questions when you do an email as easily as you can in an in-person interview. I'd suggest that an in-person interview is best if possible, but be sure to both take notes and also record the conversation if the person agrees. If an in-person interview is not possible, an email interview followed by a phone conversation can be good also. You can tell the person that you want to ask them a few in-person questions by phone or Facetime after you read their answers.
By seeing the person's emotions and body language in-person or over Facetime, you get a picture of what they think about this subject which is hard to convey only by writing.
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on July 16, 2020:
Hi Mohima, I have many other articles with topics. Just go to my profile and see the list.
MOHIMA on July 16, 2020:
Good topics ..... Waiting for more
ahmed0077 on May 19, 2020:
Wow its was very helpful for me.
Bethany on July 18, 2018:
Wow I was extremely impressed with this website, if my kids ever ask me a question I will Gide them to this website.
santhosh on January 29, 2018:
Richi Sachdeva on September 08, 2017:
vasantha T k from Bangalore on May 05, 2015:
Great job. Interesting questions on different topics given. Voted up! useful and interesting.
chanda singh on May 23, 2014:
How to write topic
Sopho P on March 20, 2014:
Wow. Plenty of topics and ideas. Thanks
JohnMello from England on December 11, 2012:
Great hub. Lots of information and plenty of topics to help anyone get started.