Activity 7.3 - Prepare for interviews

Course: 2018 Science Communication Skills for Water Cooperation and Diplomacy
Book: Activity 7.3 - Prepare for interviews
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Date: Saturday, 21 May 2022, 8:28 AM

1 - Introduction

One of the things some people get anxious about is the fact that interviews can feel unpredictable. However, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you feel in control. In this activity you will have the opportunity to prepare a few of these.

2 - Anticipating questions

  1. Consider each question below in the context of your own research. You may have considered some of these previously but they are worth reiterating. Having thought about these in advance anticipates some of the directions an interview with a journalist can take. 



Does your field have any areas that are typically critiqued? Are there any areas that are a source of controversy?

Remember that journalists are likely to frame questions using the link between water and conflict is or in terms of "water war"... Acknowledging and bridging (see activity 4) back to your main points will help you remain in control.


What are the limitations of your research?  

Be clear, confident, and honest about what your work shows, and doesn’t show.


Thinking back to previous modules, what is is the main message you want to communicate and its supporting points?

They’ll be easy to remember and you can always ‘bridge’ back to them with a connecting phrase such as “the really important point is ...” or “we need to remember that this ...”. We will look at ‘bridging’ later in this section.


What is some of the essential background information people should know about your field?

Background information is always useful as a way of checking how much a reporter knows about your field


Are there any common misconceptions in this field?

Anticipating these can help avoid misunderstandings further down the line.


What are the next steps in your research?

Perhaps it has to do with the limitations you are already aware of.


What is novel about your latest findings?

Can you explain why your research findings matter?


What is the consensus regarding what you are researching?

This might help when talking about uncertainty. You can put things into perspective by saying “this was a small study” or “the next step in finding out the answer is ...” or “although some scientists think this, at the moment the consensus is ...”.


If there is one thing you think anyone should know about your research, what is it?

This ‘big idea’ can be useful as something to reiterate if necessary.

Download as a PDF or Word file 

3 - Preparation checklist

There are a number of practical things you can also do prior to an interview, whether it is over the phone or in person. Here is a list of questions you should check prior to any interview:

  • Where will the interview take place? If it’s not in person, is it over the phone or over conferencing software?

  • How long will it take?

  • Can they provide you with some of the key questions they will ask? Some interviewers are more than happy to provide these or at least give you an indication of topics.

  • Is it live or pre-recorded?

  • Do the answers you’ve prepared stand on their own? The listener or viewer should be able to know what the question was from your answer.

  • Have you sent them links to your work and biography so they know more about you and your work?