Professional Interview


What and Why

The overall goal of our course is to develop greater awareness of and proficiency in formal academic, professional writing. To that end, you will conduct interviews with at least 2 professionals (you are free to interview more if you wish), one of whom can be your professor for this course. The purpose of these interviews is to gain insight into the relevance of and need for effective professional written communication.


This is a course length project. Thus, you have until the last day of the class to submit your final submission. However, if you wish to interview your professor, it will be necessary to plan in advance so that you can get a time scheduled with your professor.


You are to select at least 2 professionals. Ideally, these professionals would be in your field of interest. They do NOT have to be psychologists or mental health professionals, although they certainly can be.

When selecting professionals, it would be best if the individuals were in different organizations and/or professions, as well as have differing levels of responsibility. Having such diversity will give you a greater perspective. The only requirement is that the interviewees writes as part of their professional duties and that can include many different types of fields/disciplines (e.g., professional authors, lawyers, scientists, psychologists, professors in all disciplines, etc…). 

Guidelines for the interviews

  1. Identify your professionals. Be sure to explain that you are a graduate student with APUS and are needing to arrange for an interview as partial requirement for a semester project.
  2. Conduct your interviews. When possible, face-to-face interviews are always best. However, as we are in the online arena, phone interviews are also acceptable. Additionally, you may use Skype, FaceTime, and/or email technologies to conduct the interviews.  If you will be recording your interview, be certain to gain permission from the interviewee to record (this could be required by law depending upon your state/jurisdiction).  If you choose to interview your professor, it would be acceptable to participate in an online group interview with other students from the course or for your professor to provide written responses to your questions (to help your professor manage all students’ interview requests in a time-efficient manner).

  3. Be sure to record the interview and/or take copious notes so that you can recall the details when you begin the writing phase.

Guidelines for interview questions

  1. Demographic information (e.g., gender, education, occupation, years of experience in the field, etc…)
  2. Interview questions
    1. It is best to use open-ended question format, as this encourages individuals to share whatever they feel relevant in addressing your question.
    1. Areas to explore (this is not a required or exhaustive list; feel free to create your own questions)

      1. Level and type of daily written communication
      1. Current challenges in written communication
      1. Past challenges in written communication
      1. Type of academic and professional writings
      1. Positive experiences with regards to academic/professional writing communication
      1. Negative experiences with regards to academic/professional writing communication
      1. Writing journey

Final Submission

You have some freedom in how you submit your finalized project. That is, you can submit a written paper, a PowerPoint presentation (with Notes), a Prezi presentation, or some other creative, but pre-approved, format.

Keep in mind that the objective is to discover the relevance of and need for effective academic, professional writing. To that end, in your final submission, you will need the following:

  • Summarize each participant’s interview information
  • Discuss commonalities between interviewees’ experiences
  • Discuss differences between interviewees’ experiences
  • Reflect upon the relevance to you
    • What did you gain from this assignment?
    • Was anything surprising? What? Why
    • Was anything disheartening? What? Why?
    • How can you use the information in your current and future endeavors?

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