Interview assignment for writers entering the workplace

Modern office space with computers and yellow desks and rolling chairs

Photo of office space by Venveo on Unsplash

Although you have studied in your field for several years, you probably don’t have the experience of an older professional in your field. In order to research ideas for this project, then, you need to understand how a more experienced professional would write about your topic. For this project, interview a professional in the field of your inquiry and find out about the writing practices and processes of that field. Afterward, write a 1,000-1,400 word document (or 3-4 double-spaced pages) that will inform your peers (thus, reasonably educated non-experts) of what you learned.

In such a report, you should address most (but not necessarily all, as applicable to your inquiry) of the following questions:

  • What did you learn about how writing affects professionals in your field?
  • What might you write in order to enter the professional world?
  • What kinds of questions do professionals ask themselves when they start a project?
  • What is the purpose of documents produced in your field?
  • What audiences do documents in your field address?
  • How would a professional shape a document to effectively accomplish that purpose for that audience?
  • How does a professional get his or her ideas?
  • How does a professional write drafts?
  • How does a professional get feedback from within his or her organization?
  • How does a professional write collaboratively?
  • How does a professional revise his or her work?
  • Did the professional’s formal education adequately prepare him or her for the writing on the job?
  • How might the professional develop your inquiry?
  • What documents might the professional suggest you write in response to this inquiry?
  • What are some conventions of the writing that a professional produces? (In other words, what are the things that a writer on the job shouldn’t do? Must do?)
  • What areas of writing does the professional believe are his/her strength? How about his/her weaknesses?
  • What are the major schools of thought within the profession? (Alternatively, how might the professional group members within the field?)

Remember that you should report the information, not transcribe it. Your understanding of the interview (“Ms. Professional said X,which I think applies to Y”) is encouraged in the report. Also remember to answer (or attempt to answer) one of the Big Questions of this course: how does a professional in your field write and how might you learn to do so?