Interview Design

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An Interview Design guides students to ask and answer questions and then to analyze the class’ collective findings. The teacher creates questions and students rotate systematically so that each student responds to all questions and receives feedback about their own question. This activity quickly generates large amounts of group data.

The Interview Design is a student-centered method for generating and sharing large amounts of class data in a way that is similar to how a written survey produces information. In this activity students ask and answer questions of their peers in an “interview” fashion and then analyze their collective findings. They rotate systematically so that each student responds to all questions. The Interview Design provides students with the opportunity to become actively engaged in learning and to use their prior knowledge and/or beliefs as the basis for furthering their understanding.



Before planning, you must understand how the activity works. Look at the diagram. 4118g3j29iskcgg.pngThe numbers represent the number of the questions you have written. With this example, there are five questions. With the 30 students, there are three groups of ten, with each question having four interviewers. The number of interviews each student conducts will always equal the number of questions chosen.

  1. Now to plan. The number of questions depends on the size of the group. Mentally divide your class in half, thirds or fourths, then divide by two and prepare that many central questions that target the topic of interest.
  2. Label each question 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. and print them on separate pages.
  3. Prepare sufficient numbers so that each student has a single sheet.
  4. Arrange the chairs in the room so that they are in two rows that face each other (preferably at tables so students have a place for writing their answers).
  5. The number of chairs in a row should equal the number of questions. (i.e., if 8 questions, then 8 chairs per row).
  6. Designate one row as “Sitters” and the other as “Rotaters.” Sitters never move.
  7. Place the 2 persons with question 1 in the first seat, question 2 at the second seat, etc.
  8. Include student instructions at the top of each question sheet. For example: "Using this question, interview the person across from you. Record their responses in the space under the question and on the back of the page if necessary. You will interview several people, one at a time-- with a couple of minutes for each interview. Record each person's response even if it is the same as someone else’s. Record each person's actual response, not your own interpretation of their response. You may reread the question as many times as you need to. "
  9. After the students are properly organized, give them time to read the directions and their assigned question. Be sure students understand that they are interviewing the student sitting across from them and they are to listen and record for comprehension. Indicate to them that they may ask only clarifying questions. Ask the Rotaters to begin the interview process. Wait 2-3 minutes and have the students then switch roles so the Sitter is conducting the interview. After the first round, the Rotators should move down one seat, bringing their question with them. (The person at the end of the row rotates to the beginning of the row).
  10. After all rounds have been completed, students analyze the responses. ?ll students who had the same question convene and compare answers, identifying the most prevalent themes.
  11. Student groups should present their findings and conclusions to the whole class.


Classroom Management

  • Note that generally, the time between successive rounds can be shortened because students become more adept at being interviewed and because responses tend to become repetitious.
  • To support quality discussion and analysis, use a maximum of 6-8 questions.
  • Create questions that stimulate thoughtful discussion. Overly difficult questions will frustrate students and inhibit thoughtful generation of ideas.
  • Do not give students too much time to discuss each question because that might lead to off-task conversation.



Preparation time: 15 / Delivery time: 60

Image icon Interview Design Diagram4.35 KB