The purpose of the Agency Interview Paper is to examine and critique the connection between policies that are external to an organization and the services that are provided to an organization’s clientele. Students will identify one policy that directly impacts a target group that an agency serves. Next, students will interview a staff member at the agency (i.e., field instructor, or supervisor) on how the policy impacts the services that the agency provides, and in the paper’s conclusion offer recommendations for future policy and practice change. Length of paper: 5-7 pages (excluding reference pages).
Students may elect to focus on the policy they plan to analyze in their social policy paper and select an agency whose population is impacted by the policy, and interview the staff from that agency. In this situation, the information gained from the staff interview may prove useful for both assignments.
Students may also elect to identify an agency and ask the interviewee to identify and discuss a policy that is impacting those they serve. In this situation, it is unlikely the information will prove useful with respect to the social policy paper.
In either case, remember this is an interview. The benefit of interviewing a staff member at an agency that’s dealing with a specific policy issue is to gain their impressions/perspective on how the policy is impacting the agency and the people the agency serves. Whenever possible, listen, don’t speak. You may find it useful to record the interview (with the person’s permission), so that you can focus on what they’re saying rather than on note taking. With a recording, you’ll also have something to review should you need clarification.
You are probably wondering what kinds of questions you should ask the interviewee…. Well, that depends on how the interview evolves.
• You might want to get a little background on the agency and who it serves prior to going in for the interview – do some homework.
• How is the agency funded?
• What it the interviewee’s understanding of the policy?
• Is the policy a good thing or a bad thing from their perspective or their agency’s perspective? How/why?
• Do they think the outcomes/consequences you’re experiencing were intended or unintended by those who put the policy in place?
• Do they have any recommendations on how the policy might be improved or what other policies should be put in place to improve the situation? (BTW, the policy could also be working great, and they may indicate that they need more of whatever it is).
What shouldn’t you ask? Questions that could have been answered by you had you done a little research. Every organization has a website – take a look at it. You shouldn’t be asking the person you’re interviewing to recite their mission statement.
Also, please remember to thank the individual for their time. You may also want to send a follow-up e-mail expressing your gratitude or even a card. Its always a good time to build relationships.
In assembling your paper, please assume your audience (me) knows nothing about the policy you’re exploring. You’ll need to give me an overview of the policy and what you think its intended purpose was/is. Give me an overview of the agency you visited, who they serve/how and you spoke with. Then give me a coherent overview of what they said during the interview and your take on what might need to happen to improve the situation(s) that were to be addressed by the policy.
Don’t worry about providing a citation for every interviewee quote you use in your paper – I get it – it came from the person you interviewed. I do however expect that you will use additional sources of information in the creation of your paper. Those sources should be cited using APA format/standards.