• Example Interview Questions: Graduate Students

    The following questions were use during a series of interviews with graduate students at North Carolina State University. The study was undertaken as part of planning for the James B. Hunt Library. The primary research questions were:

    • What are our grad students’ work lives like?
    • What are the factors that affect grad students’ choices/uses of spaces?
    • What technologies do grad students need?
    • What resources and services are most important to grad students?


    • Degree program/subject:
    • Year of Study:
    • Undergraduate Institution:
    • Interview Date:
    • Hometown/country:


    • What is the focus of your research?
    • What “problems” do you want to work on?
    • What “gets in the way” or makes it harder to study successfully?


    • Where do you usually go to study, do your work, etc.? What do you like about this space? (e.g., What
      do you find ‘useful’? What makes it particularly suited to your style of studying?’)
    • Describe anything you dislike about this space. (e.g., What causes you to have to leave? When do you
      choose another place instead of here?)
    • Are there other places that you could go to study but don’t use? Why?
    • What is your ideal study space?
    • Do you live closer to Main Campus or Centennial Campus? When Hunt Library opens, do you envision
      studying or spending time there often?
    • At what time(s) of the day do you normally go to these spaces? What are some of the factors that
      determine when you go to your study space?

    Hunt Library Specific Questions

    • Now that you’ve seen the spaces dedicated to graduate students in Hunt Library [OR: if D. H. Hill
      had spaces dedicated to graduate students similar to those you’ve seen in Hunt], what would make
      those spaces most useful to you? (what types of spaces, what kinds of furniture, how many computers
      would you like to see?)
    • Thinking about the group meeting rooms in the Graduate Commons, what kind of display
      technologies would you need in these rooms, keeping in mind that the teaching and visualization lab
      and creativity zone spaces will be nearby and bookable? (would you need projectors? Flat screens?
      Other? What percentage of rooms in the commons would need to have these technologies?)
    • How often do you meet with others, [e.g., group projects, study groups) and what kinds of places/
      spaces are best?


    • Tell us about the technological tools that you use to do your work (devices, hardware, software, etc.)
    • Describe any software and/or technologies that would be useful to you in conducting your research
      and preparing your thesis/dissertation. (Which ones are used in the library vs. out of the library?)

    Library Collection

    • What parts of the library collection have you used (or are most familiar with)? Are you finding what
      you need?
    • If no, what do you need? (e.g., Do you remember times when you needed something but couldn’t
      access it or make use of it effectively?’ And what did you end up doing?)


    • How would you describe the role that your advisor plays in your graduate work? What are other
      kinds of help or support you’d like but can’t find on campus?


    • Is there anything else you would like to tell us?