How do I write an outline?
This outline will help you write a five paragraph essay for a narrative format. However, you can easily organize your question and answer format essay using this outline as well.
Start with a humorous or interesting anecdote or fact that the person told you.
Thesis statement: A thesis statement is one sentence that tells who was interviewed, his or her title, and why you interviewed the person. Basically, what do you plan to tell your reader about this person? This must be in the introduction, and you must spell the person's name correctly. Read this article on how to write a thesis statement for more help.
II. Body paragraph 1: One big idea you learned
III. Body paragraph 2: Second big idea you learned
IV. Body paragraph 3: Third big idea you learned
V. Conclusion: You need to wrap up your essay by summarizing and writing some concluding remarks about the person.
How honest are you going to be about your interview assignment? In most cases, you don't need to actually interview someone. You can simply write the paper based on the concepts you have been learning in class. You can even find interviews by searching Google. To get an "A" on this or any assignment, the most important strategy is to structure it by writing one paragraph about each concept from the assignment instructions.
Students have to complete interview assignments for a psychology, English, social studies, anthropology -- the list goes on and on. For almost any subject area, you can benefit by interviewing a person with special insight into some concepts being discussed in class.
For example, maybe you are doing an interview assignment for a social studies class, a class about cultural studies, or a even a language class. You might be asked to interview someone who came to your country and did not know how to speak English when they first arrived. If it is a class about cultural diversity, you might be learning about concepts like these:
- Acculturation and Deculturation.
- Learning English as a Second Language.
- Immigration Law.
This is just an example. Think of the concepts you are learning in your class, and make a list of them. You can probably find a list of the important concepts in the assignment instructions. The PURPOSE of doing an interview is to gain insight into the concepts being studied in class.
Step One: Transform Your Concepts into Paragraphs
Use your list of concepts, and think of a person you might interview for the assignment. What would she say about immigration laws? What would she say about discrimination? Use your imagination, and write a paragraph about what you think she might say in response to questions about each concept. If you don't know anyone who meets the description of the person you're supposed to interview, search Google for a few interviews (but be sure to get ideas from more than one interview so your paper will be unique).
For each paragraph, you can use a structure like this:
1. Write a sentence about one concept from class.
2. Write a sentence about a question you asked the interviewee and how she answered. You may include a quotation of her response.
3. Write a sentence about what you learned from her answer.
4. Write one more sentence about any thought that comes to mind, any insight from hearing her answer.
Follow these steps for every concept from class. If you have a good imagination, it should be easy to write a paragraph about each concept. If you don't have a good imagination you might have to actually interview a real person!
Step Two: Find the "Theme" of the Paper in These Paragraphs
After using the method above for each concept from class (especially those in the assignment instructions or rubric), try to find a "theme" that is "emerging" in the interview. What does it mean for a theme to emerge? Google those two words, and you'll discover the answer.
- If you interview an immigrant, you might find that many of the interview questions are answered in a way that indicates the person feels isolated. Therefore, isolation can be your paper's theme.
- If you interview an elected official, you might find that many answers have something to do with feeling judged or scrutinized.
Again, these are just examples. The theme is like a magic word -- one word or phrase that captures the main insight you gained from doing the interview.
Step Three: Go Back and Add a "Paragraph Topic Sentence" to the Beginning of Every Paragraph and a "Thesis Statement" to the End of the First Paragraph
You might be able to make a very keen observation about the theme of the paper. This keen observation will be the thesis statement you add to the end of the first paragraph.
Thesis Statement (keen observation) to add to the end of the first paragraph: The isolation felt by immigrants could be prevented if multicultural centers were established in every community to make them feel welcome.
This may seem like a simple idea, but after taking this class and completing this interview assignment your understanding of it might be very complex.
- Perhaps the interviewee experienced poverty, and a cultural center could be a free opportunity to become less isolated.
- Perhaps the interviewee did not have a means of transportation, and a cultural center could make it possible for ethnic minorities to carpool to activities and be less isolated.
- Perhaps the interviewee could not communicate well because of a language barrier, and a cultural center could be useful for enabling linguistically diverse people to face that adversity together (i.e. and be less isolated).
What will be the thesis statement (keen observation) of your interview paper? You cannot know the theme until it "emerges" in the paragraphs, so write the body paragraphs first. Then, it will be easy to make the thesis statement (a keen observation) about the theme. After that, the trick is to add a Paragraph Topic Sentence to the beginning of every paragraph to introduce the main idea of the paragraph in a way that supports your keen observation.
The paragraph topic sentence should be the first sentence of the paragraph and should tell the main idea of the paragraph. If the theme and thesis statement of the paper are about a feeling of isolation you can add a sentence to the beginning of each paragraph to show how that paragraphs supports your idea that isolation is the theme of the interview.
This interview assignment can be quick and easy. If you cannot find someone to interview, search Google for an interview with the kind of person you are supposed to interview. If you are supposed to interview a single parent, search for this: interview with a single parent. You might find several interviews with single parents. Skim through them all, and then follow steps one through three from this article.
To conclude, I'll mention the most important consideration for ANY assignment: Check what you have written to make sure it fulfills every requirement in the rubric, grading criteria, or assignment instructions. Be sure to use terms from the assignment instructions to make it crystal clear that each requirement is fulfilled. For example, if one of the requirements is to ask the interviewee about a "life lesson" they learned, make sure one of your paragraphs begins with a sentence that includes the term "life lesson." Do not assume the person grading the assignment is smart enough to know a paragraph about an "important experience" is supposed to fulfill that requirement. Change the term "important experience" to the term "life lesson" so the person grading the assignment will see that you used the exact term from the assignment instructions!