What are some of the ways being in this MSW program benefited you?

Your interview guide will consist of 3 parts – an opening, a body, and a closing section.

Opening section: (1-3 questions)

These questions should be neutral open-ended questions that are aimed at helping your participant ease into the interview. The questions should be directly related to your topic but not intense/reflective. These questions should help you develop some context about your participant’s relevant background with regards to your topic. Keep these questions targeted to their background or experiences in this area. You are not asking for reflections, or opinions here, you are asking straightforward factual questions that should be easy for your participants to answer. This should help you in building rapport with your participant.


  • Could you tell me about your background in being a youth mentor?
  • Could you please briefly explain your role in this organization/department?
  • How long have you been involved in this field?
  • How did you get started in this field?

Body/Main questions: (4-5 questions)

This will consist of the main questions that you are trying to address through this study. I recommend you write down all the questions you want to ask first, and then think about how to organize them. Each question should only have one idea. Do not lump multiple questions into one question. For each question, develop some probes. Keep all questions open-ended. You can organize your questions chronologically (e.g. ask about childhood influences, youth influences, and then influences in their later life), or by subtopics (e.g. familial influences, peer influences, societal influences).


  • What would you say influenced on your decision to pursue social work?

Probes: Did anyone in your family influence you? Did you know social workers before you started the program? Did you ever see social workers on media? How did they influence you?

  • What are some of the ways being in this MSW program benefited you?

Probes: What are some professional benefits? What are some personal benefits? Which of these is the most important to you? Why?

  • What are some of the challenges you have faced so far?

Probes:  Financial challenges? Academic challenges? Professional challenges? Stress/mental health challenges?

Closing section (1-2 questions)

You should end the interview with a couple of questions allowing the participant to share any additional thoughts and to properly end the interview. You can ask about future plans (if relevant) and give them an opportunity to comment or ask questions.


  • Did you have any other thoughts that you would you like to share before we end?
  • Did you have any questions or comments for me?
  • Do you have any closing comments or takeaways that you would want others to know?
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