11 VOC English

Resources for Year 11 Vocational English


You will need to have a list of 15 - 20 questions that you can ask. Remember, not every answer will make it into your documentary and you need enough recording time that you can pick and choose.

Below is some instructions on how to write good interview questions. There are also videos you can watch.

When you think you have written some open-ended questions and have some follow up questions developed - show MD for feedback.

Your questions will be submitted as part of the assessment and will be marked.

Writing Interview Questions

Interviewing a Peer or Role Model


Do your research on the person.

Before you can write out good questions to ask someone who you are interviewing for an article, podcast, or video, you need to gather all the information you can.

Knowing who this person is, accomplishments, failures, and personality will allow you to formulate solid questions that can get you the best results.

Since you're interviewing a role model you will most likely already know a lot about this person. But more research won't hurt.

Search for your role model online and see if there are other articles about this person. This will help you greatly if your role model is well known. Write a bio of your interviewee. Highlight specific milestones that you want to talk about.



Write down your objective for the interview.

Because you're interviewing someone you look up to and admire it’s a good idea to write down what you want from the interview.

Your objective will help you create questions before the interview that can steer the conversation in the right direction. Your objective will also help you stay on track if the conversation goes in a different direction than your questions.

Your objective should be a declarative statement which is concise. It could be as simple as “I want [name of interviewee] to walk me through his process for writing his latest novel, and learn the challenges he faced.” Your objective should be a statement that identifies the reason why you want to interview your role model.



Lead with a “softball question”. 

When writing out your questions, you want to create ones that allow the conversation or interview to flow naturally. Since you're interviewing someone you look up to, you want to create a question that is easy to answer will set the tone for the interview.

A “softball question” will help the interviewee become relaxed and open up. This type of question should be simple and not controversial in any way. This question shouldn’t be challenging and let your role model brag a little about the work.



Ask about strategies, process, methods for achieving goals. 

Write down a list of questions that pertain to what you've learned about this person, and what you want from your role model. You'll want to start with a list of questions that when answered by your role model can give you basic knowledge on the topic.

For example, if your role model is a doctor, you may want to create a list of questions that ask about how many years of schooling it took to become a doctor. What subjects did your role model have to study? How did this person stay on track with the goal of becoming a doctor?



Use your knowledge to tailor specific questions.

Since you know this person, you should write out some questions that are specific your role model's life, past experiences, goals, achievements, and even failures.

When writing out your questions, think about what you know of this person. You can create questions that dig deep and aren't simply generic.

You've already gotten the generic questions out of the way. Now you want questions that illicit an emotional response and give you insight.



Create open-ended questions.

Go through the questions you've written down and make sure that you've created questions that can't be answered by a "yes" or "no".

Ask open-ended questions. You’re interviewing a person to gain knowledge of a subject and to be more like this person. Have a conversation.

You can ask questions like “What was your favorite part of …” asking what this person liked or didn’t like about the subject you’re interviewing for will give you much more insightful information to go on.

When writing your questions, put yourself in your role model's shoes. Imagine yourself being interviewed by someone who looks up to you in the future. Think about what kinds of topics you would want to talk about. What would you want to share and what kinds of stories and advice would you provide?

Once you've thought about how you would be in an interview as the role model and what you would say, write down some questions that you can ask to get similar answers and responses.



Ask questions that elicit an emotional response.

Just like open ended questions, you’ll want to come up with a few that will get you an emotional response.

When writing your interview questions, see if you can find anything about your subject that you can use to get a feeling-based response. Did this person have career or personal setbacks before succeeding? How can you get them to describe their feelings about that time?

If you can’t find anything, be prepared to formulate a question on the spot during the interview. Use what’s been discussed in the interview and write down this new question quickly so you don’t forget. Make sure to ask “why” and “how”.

”Why did you feel like you would never reach your goal?” “What motivated you to keep trying when you hit speed bumps?” “How do you feel about that experience now?”