There are a lot of things an individual must do before interviewing a scientist. Here, I’m going tell you how to prepare to nail your interview.
1. Know the topic. Research and intruct yourself before the interwiew. If you do, you will create an environment of trust that will allow you to get the most out of your questions.
2. Prepare and organize your questions beforehand. This way, your interview will run smoothly and you will know what comes next each step of the way. After the intro of the interview, where they describe who they are, you can make questions such as:
- What does your lab focus on?
- For how long have you been a working as a (biologist, limnologist, engineer, etc)?
- What impact are you looking to create with your research?
3. Avoid the yes/no questions. If you make a question that can be answered with either yes or no, you don’t give enough space to the scientist to answer with all the information necessary for you to pass that information along to the community.
4. Organize your questions in an increasing intensity manner. Ask your complex questions (science terms or research related) at the end of the interview and simpler ones at the beginning. This will make the interview flow.
5. Listen to your interviewee. During the interview, make your best effort to listen carefully to what the scientist is talking so you can ask to clarify any terms or doubts you have, as well as asking any further questions.
6. Formulate specific questions. If you ask things that are too broad, your interviewee probably won’t answer your question correctly or as full of information as you want it. It’s better to divide into simpler questions.
7. Don’t do more than 15-20 questions. It’s an interview about a scientific topic or research focus, it could get too exhausting for a person to be answering questions for more than 20 minutes.
8. Separate your time. Be prepared to be there for at least an hour. Most interviews dont go over 20-25 minutes, however, you dont want to be in a hurry or make the scientist think you do.
9. Take notes and record during the interview. This way you can cite correctly and then go over all the points you found were the most important.
Interview to limnologist Jorge Ortíz: