Interview Assignment

Although reading about consultation is an excellent way to obtain knowledge, interviewing others who have had experiences collaborating and consulting can help to clarify some of the most common challenges and best practices in this area. For this assignment you will submit a paper that documents two interviews about the collaborations of two individuals in different roles that are invested in a child’s success.
As part of this process you will create open-ended interview questions, make arrangements to conduct your interviews, and then conduct the interviews.  In order to maintain confidentiality do not use real names in your paper — provide a pseudonym.

SPE 541: Interview Assignment


The purpose of this assignment is for you to expand your knowledge about your skills as a collaborator or consultant for children who have special needs. As education professionals, you will have many opportunities to collaborate and consult with others. Although reading about consultation is an excellent way to obtain knowledge, interviewing others who have had experiences collaborating and consulting can help to clarify some of the most common challenges and best practices in this area.


A paper that documents two interviews about the collaborations of two individuals in different roles that are invested in a child’s success. While it is ideal to find two people who are involved with the same child, it is ok to interview people who are simply in different roles in a child’s life (e.g. parent and teacher, or behavioral consultant and teacher, etc.).

Activity Details

Please perform the following tasks:
Step 1: Create open-ended interview questions.
Create thoughtful, open-ended interview questions that relate to the role of the individual you are interviewing. You can interview someone you know in real life, or find someone to interview online through a website or blog (e.g. parent support groups, etc.). You are interviewing two people with different roles in the care of a child (ideally the same child). Make sure your questions are similar but vary to fit the individual you are interviewing. Target the following areas:

  • What have they done to increase collaboration with other individuals involved in the child’s life?
  • The interviewee’s positive experiences with collaboration.
  • The interviewee’s negative experiences/barriers to collaboration.
  • Recommendations the interviewee would make for future educators.

List your interview questions in a format that will make it easy for you to ask the questions and record the responses beneath the questions during the interview. You may want to audio record your interview for accuracy. If you do this make sure you ask the interviewee for permission to record the interview.
Step 2: Make arrangements to conduct your interviews.
Makearrangements to interview the two individuals. In an ideal world, you would interview two people involved with the same child (e.g. parent and teacher). If you can not find two people working with the same child, try to keep the age of the children they are working with similar (e.g. a parent of a 1st grader, and a teacher in a k-2ndgrade classroom, if possible). You are responsible for finding individuals to interview. You may not interview yourself, your parents, or your spouse without special permission from the instructor.
Step 3: Conduct your interviews.
Conduct two separate interviews.
Step 4: Prepare the paper.
Based on the findings from the interviews, assume the role of a consultant and prepare a brief paper (no more than 3-4 pages) that addresses how to increase collaboration between the two people you interviewed (e.g. parents and teachers) by comparing and addressing experiences reported across the interviews.
Based on the insights you have gained from the interviews, you will make recommendations to future educators for increasing collaborative experiences between these individuals who provide services for children with special needs.
As you prepare your paper, remember to include basic demographic information such as:

  • The disability/special need of the child/student, etc.
  • The type of setting serving the child with special needs.
  • You opinion of the basic socioeconomic situation.

Include your interview questions and under each question, put the interviewee’s answer in italics. In order to maintain confidentiality do not use real names in your paper, provide a pseudonym.
Step 5: Submit your paper.
When you have completed your paper, copy the text from the Interview Assignment Scoring Grid and paste it at the end of the paper. Save a copy for yourself in an easily accessible place and submit a copy to your instructor using the link provided in Dropbox.

Due Date

The Interview Assignment will be due in Lesson 4 by the date specified on the course schedule. You can earn 3 bonus points if you submit the assignment before the end of Lesson 3.

Interview Assignment Scoring Grid

Name: _________________________________    
Date: __________________________________        

Scoring Element
Points Awarded Points Possible
1. Produce a transcription of your interviews, including:

  • Interview questions for the 1st interviewee. (1)
  • Interview responses from the 1st interviewee in italics below each question. (2)
  • Interview questions for the 2nd interviewee. (1)
  • Interview responses from the 2nd interviewee in italics below each question. (2)
  • Basic demographic characteristics of the child(ren) that the interviewees were discussing (2)


2. Produce a brief (no more than 3-4 pages) written reflection indicating:

  • Highlight similarities in thoughts and experiences of the two interviewees (2)
  • Highlight differences in thinking and experiences (2)
  • Explain why you think the similarities and differences exist (3)
  • How would you increase collaboration between the two individuals you interviewed?  (3)
  • What have you learned about your practice as a collaborator and how you might apply what you learned to your own work or practice? (2)


3. In the reflection, include a minimum of 3 citations from your text that are relevantto the collaboration of the two individuals you interviewed.
4. In the reflection, include a minimum of 3 outside journal articles that relateto your conclusions from the interviews.
6. APA Format is correct.

  • Direct and indirect quotes from professional journals and texts are cited correctly (1)
  • Citations within a document cited correctly (1)
  • References are complete and correct (2)



Interview Assignment FAQs


  1. What kind of people should I interview?
    You can interview any parent or professional providing care for a child with special needs.  So, a general education or special education teacher, behavioral consultant, specialist within a school or clinic, etc. would all qualify as individuals providing care.


  1. Does the teacher/educational professional I interview also have to be teaching the child of the parent I interview? 

No, but try to find a parent and/or professionals who are working with children who are comparable in age and disability status.

  1. What is an example of a situation where the parents and teachers experiences are not comparable?
    If the teacher you interview is teaching primary students who are classified as non-verbal autistic and the parents you interview have a secondary level student classified as learning disabled, the experiences are not comparable and your paper would have no real foundation for comparison of experiences.


  1. Where would I find parents and teacher?
    You might try to utilize your contacts through your current or previous workplaces or other personal contacts, as well as through online forums of parents and professionals.


  1. How many questions should I create? 
    As many as you think you might need to get the information you are seeking without boring the interviewee or taking too much time.


  1. How long should my interview last? 
    Probably no longer than 20 minutes, but the time will vary with the responses.


  1. What is an open-ended question? 
    An open-ended question is one that must be answered with more than a “Yes” or “No” or a “one-word” response from the party you are interviewing.

Conducting an interview is not simply asking questions and writing down answers.  Good interviews are not leading and allow the person being interviewed to share fully.  Well developed-questions (such as “indirect question starters” or “open questions”), effective pauses, non-threatening questions, and preparing yourself as the interviewer will ensure excellent information from your interview.

  1. Do I need to make two separate interview forms? 
    No. In fact, the forms should be very similar, but adjusted for the role of the individual you are interviewing.


  1. What is APA and where can I find examples of format style?
    APA stands for American Psychological Association. APA is the writing format used in most social science areas. For an excellent source for using APA format, please go to the APA style site: You can also purchase a copy of the APA manual to find in depth instruction and examples.

A shortcut technique is to use the examples found in either of your texts as models. Notice how the citations are documented in the body, i.e., the author’s last name and the date. Refer to the references to look at models for the complete citation; notice the authors are in alphabetical order, but not numbered.