Conduct and Evaluate an Interview

Assignment 5: Conducting and Evaluating an Interview

By Saturday, March 8, 2014 complete the assignment presented below.

During the first week of class you conducted your first practice interview, and in week three you developed an Interview Guide. For this activity, you will be using your Interview Guide (Assignment 3), the analysis of potential interview biases to conduct an interview with a volunteer.

Prior to the Interview

Locate an adult volunteer.

Read the analysis requirements below and ENSURE you meet them within your interview. Make sure your interview includes:

A minimum of 5 open and 5 closed ended questions (10 total).

A minimum of 5 examples of paraphrasing, summaries, or reflections techniques (must have at least one of each paraphrase, summary, and reflection/5 total).

Gather Recording Equipment (video is preferred).  You will need to record your interview.

Also make sure you have a watch or a timer to keep track of the length of your interview. Make sure your interview is not less than 5 minutes long.

The Interview needs to be at least 5 minutes long, but it should not be more than 10 minutes.

Be prepared! Although it may not sound like it, 5 minutes is a long time in interviewing time. If you are having problems filling 5 minutes, go back to the interview skills you have learned about (e.g., probing, reflections, and summaries).

After the Interview

Play back the recording of the interview.

Transcribe or write out the interview completely. Be sure to write out everything said during the interview

After you have written the transcript of the interview, provide a detailed analysis of the interview.

On your transcript:

Identify Questions Used: On your transcript identify at least 5 closed and 5 open ended questions that you used during the interview. Identify these on your transcript using all caps (10 questions total).

For example:

Interviewer:  How long have you been having headaches?  CLOSED QUESTION

Evaluate the Questions: After you have identified examples of 5 open and 5 closed questions in your transcript, write an evaluation of the effectiveness of your use of questions (Approximately one paragraph for this analysis). Explain whether or not your questions were effective. How did your client respond to your questions? How would you improve the effectiveness of your questions?

Identify Techniques Used: Next, identify at least 5 examples of paraphrasing, summarizing, or reflections you used (must have at least one of each: paraphrase, summary, and reflection). Again, use all caps on your transcript to identify each technique.

For example:

Interviewer: So it’s been several weeks since you’ve been able to sleep without problems? PARAPHRASE

Evaluate the Techniques: Evaluate the effectiveness of your interview technique (Approximately one paragraph for this entire section). How did your client respond to the techniques in the interview? How do you know if you were effective with these? Provide justification for your response. How could you improve your use of these?

Application: Analysis and Summary

Explain how the information you gathered during the interview can aid in planning treatment for your client. How can treatment of this client be more informed or more targeted based on the information you gathered (Approximately 2-3 paragraphs).

Identify at least two possible ethical issues that could arise during your interview (hint: go back to your lecture for ideas about ethical issues in interviewing).  Explain how an ethical interviewer should deal with each of these issues. (Approximately 2-3 paragraphs).

Assignment 1 Grading Criteria

Maximum Points

Conducted interview and utilized the questions/techniques for an in-depth interview.


Transcribed interview completely. Identified the questions and techniques used.


Evaluated the open and closed ended questions used during the interview. Analyzed the effectiveness of the questions and how the patient responded. Suggested ways to improve the effectiveness of the questions.


Evaluated at least five interviewing techniques (at least one of each: paraphrase, summary, and reflection). Analyzed the effectiveness of the technique, and how the patient responded. Suggested ways to improve the effectiveness of the techniques.


Explained how the information gathered during the interview can aid in treatment planning for the client.


Identified at least two possible ethical issues that could arise during the interview. Explained how an ethical interviewer would deal with each of these issues.


Organization (16 points): Introduction, transitions, and conclusion

Style (8 points): Tone, audience, and word choice

Usage and Mechanics (16 points): Grammar, spelling, and sentence structure

APA Elements (24 points): In text citations and references, paraphrasing, and appropriate use of quotations and other elements of style




Not sure if you still have Assignment 3 but here is a copy. Assignment 5 is based on the work done for Assignment 3:

The volunteer that I have located is my friend Robert; currently and active duty Special Forces soldier in the U.S. Army that does in fact suffer from persistent headaches and problems sleeping. The volunteer has been asked to think about stressors that he will be comfortable talking about during the course of the interview, which he believes might be related to his problems with headaches and sleeping.

The purpose of this interview is to discuss with the patient the types of symptoms that he suffers from as they relate to chronic headaches and troubles sleeping. During the course of the interview the patient will clarify the types of headaches, frequency of headaches, and possible triggers that are causing the headaches to occur. In conjunction with this, the interview will be designed in such a way that it will aid in the determination of the patient’s ability or inability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. Gathering all of this information as it pertains to the patient’s medical ailments will serve the purpose of the interview, which is recognized as an attempt to gather in-depth information to aid in diagnosis and treatment planning for the client.

This interview will be structured as an information interview and it will be broken up into three primary parts; the warm-up, the information exchange, and the wrap-up. It will be during the warm-up phase of the interview that efforts towards rapport building between Robert and myself will be attempted. This will begin by “asking common-ground questions about shared interests, the weather, or travel to the interview” (Employment Security, 2011). Once the warm-up phase has been completed it will be at this point that the information exchange phase will be conducted. It will be in this phase that the bulk of the questions that are designed to determine medical concerns and potential diagnoses will be discussed. Finally, during the wrap-up phase, this will be when Robert is provided the opportunity to ask me any questions if he has them and I reiterate to him that the interview is for educational purposes only and that I am not legally able to provide him with any medical advice or referrals. Topics that will be covered during the course of this interview will include, home life structure, childhood development, relevant medical issues in the past, current employment, marital status, medical concerns, treatments that have been received and if they have been effective, stressors, diet, sleep habits, social habits, and overall level of satisfaction with life.

The following questions (Close-ended and Open-ended) will be used in an effort to obtain relevant information from the interviewee:

1.  Are you currently employed? (Close ended question)

2.  Are you currently satisfied with the path your life is on? (Close ended question)

3.  Please explain some of the more major stressors in your life currently. (Open ended question)

4.  What is your current marital status? (Close ended question)

5.  Please provide a list of medical concerns that you have at this time. (Open ended question)

6.  Of the medical concerns that you discussed are any of these conditions ones you have dealt with most of your life? (Close ended question)

7.  Do you recognize yourself as being healthy in general? (Close ended question)

8.  Have you sought treatment in the past or currently for your headaches and struggles with sleep? (Close ended question)

9.  If you have sought treatment can you explain briefly the types of treatment and if they were helpful at all? (Open ended question)

10.  How much do the issues with headaches and struggles sleeping effect your abilities to function? (Open ended)

11.  Please explain your current home life structure. (Open ended question)

12.  Have you recognized any specific stressors in your life that might be causing issues with sleeping and chronic headaches? If so please explain. (Open ended question)

13.  Did you have what society would consider a healthy childhood? (Close ended question)

14.  Please explain your social habits. (Open ended question)

15.  Do you smoke? If so, how much per day do you smoke? (Open ended question)

16.  Do you drink? If so how much?

17.  Do you drink to get drunk when you are by yourself?

18.  Overall, are you satisfied with your life? If not, please explain. (Open ended question)

19.  Do you find that you have to ‘self-medicate’ in order to sleep?

The following list is examples of paraphrasing, summaries, or reflection techniques that could be used during your interview.

1.  Paraphrasing example: You DO self-medicate and you feel like this could be a contributing factor to your overall health since you feel that the self-medication techniques have become essential to being able to fall asleep.

2.  Summary example: You are struggling with debilitating headaches roughly 2-3 times a week and this is drastically interfering with your ability to work so you are continuing to look for treatment options but in the meantime continue to self-medicate.

3.  Reflection example: You stated, “I drink a lot at home by myself during the week in hopes that I will be able to sleep” – you are aware that this is not effective and potentially increasing the damage to your health?

4.  Paraphrasing example: You had a normal upbringing and this is not, in your mind, any kind of contributing factor to the current medical ailments of which you suffer.

5.  Reflection example: “I grew up with discipline but never had a history of headaches or sleep issues until recently”.

Techniques that I will use to build rapport with the volunteer will first be to mirror his body language and tone so he comfortable in the setting. This will be important in ensuring that he feels comfortable rather than me being rigid and over formalizing the interview, which would likely create stress for Robert.  In conjunction with this, I will utilize the repeat and approve technique, which is understood to be a simple but effective method in building rapport. “After they speak, make sure you repeat a very brief synopsis of what they say and then approve (excellent, great, amazing, that’s exciting). This shows that you are indeed listening” (Bruno, 2010). Finally, to ensure the successful building of rapport I will make sure to speak to Robert as a friend and not as someone that is above or below him as this can create unnecessary stress as well. It is imperative to the process of building rapport that I, as the interviewer am “friendly, courteous, and polite at all times while not trying to impress the client with big words or stuffy conversation” (Bruno, 2010).

While there are several types of interview questions that are recognized as inappropriate, the following are examples of some that should be avoided during the course of this interview. Questions that are deeply personal, irrelevant to the interview objectives, or simply inappropriate should be avoided. If information is volunteered then this is fine but it should not be asked unless it is relevant to the purpose of the interview.

1.  What is your nationality?

2.  Are you religious? What religion?

3.  Have you ever been sexually harassed or assaulted? Is this what could be causing your stress?

4.  Do you think your weight might be contributing to your health issues?

5.  Do you have nice things?

6.  Are you in a lot of debt?

My own preliminary thoughts about this client based on the limited information I have which is that he suffers from chronic headaches and frequently has trouble sleeping, would first be concerns with his diet. It is commonly recognized that poor diet and/or dehydration can result in frequent headaches. However, I do not have any information regarding any physical traumas that the client might have endured to result in these types of ailments becoming a problem for him so this information will certainly prove to be helpful. Moreover, I know some about the social habits of the client, which would be indicative of late nights and excessive alcohol use which too could also be a major contributing factor to the ailments that the client is suffering from. While this might be the case it also might not be as I have known people in the past that are polar opposites from this client that also suffer from chronic headaches and have not seen progress from various treatment options.

My own beliefs as they are associated with this client are a mixture of sympathetic and unsympathetic. I am sympathetic in the sense that I know what it is like to have debilitating headaches and trouble sleeping as well and it is frustrating and painful; however, I am unsympathetic in the sense that the lifestyle choices that people adopt are very much predicators of how we feel physically and it is up to us as individuals to ensure that we are acting and reacting responsibly based on their own health. For example, if someone has a broken leg they are not going to party and go dancing while they are hurt. The same should be so for those that suffer from other ailments as well. It is conjecture at this point and until the interview has been conducted and the information gathered is analyzed thoroughly there is no real way in determining which factors are contributing the most to the client’s ailments.

Steps that I can take to limit the impact of my own beliefs on the interview can be recognized in the various methods that people adopt to overcome unconscious and hidden biases and that begins with an understanding of what being bias is. “Biases affect us all in ways we seldom fully realize, even when we have one we are aware of and would like to deal with” (Fink, 2000). Once a viable understanding of what susceptible biases my be, it is at this juncture that I will be able to approach and deal with issues that I might be biased towards with an open mind. Being open minded when dealing with others is imperative, especially when dealing with sensitive and personal topics such as medical ailments and home life experiences. In conjunction with being open minded, I can effectively limit my own beliefs during the interview by not using phrases such as “I” or “me”; when these phrases are used it is taking the attention away from the client and bringing it towards myself which then creates unnecessary opportunity to share my own beliefs which are not relevant to the interviewing process.


Bruno, C. (2010). Client interviewing techniques. Retrieved from

Employment Security (2011). The interview structure. Retrieved from

Fink, S. (2000). The role of the researcher in the Qualitative Research process. Retrieved from

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