• Example Interview Questions: Undergraduate Students

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

    • What are NCSU students’ space preferences for doing different kinds of work?
    • What technologies do students use / need for their academic work?



    Degree program/subject:

    Year of Study:

    Recent Study Experiences

    • Tell me a little about your day yesterday on campus? Or if you weren’t on campus, tell me about the last day you were on campus?
    • Was that a typical day? If not, what happens differently on a typical day?

    Kinds of Work

    • What types of academic work do you do routinely?
    • When you’re on campus, where do you spend most of your time?
    • Does your department have a library, lounge or study space, in its building? Do you study in these
      departmental spaces? Why do or don’t you study there?
    • Think back through your years at NCSU. Has the kind of course work changed a lot since you were a
      freshman? Sophomore? Junior? Senior? For example, do you do more studying on your own or
      more group projects?


    • Where do you study? (get specifics, not just “in the stacks”)
    • Ask about each major kind of academic activity they do.
    • How often do you go to [X space]?
    • For each place: Why there? What do you like about that place?
    • Why not elsewhere?
    • What are your least favorite places to study and why?
    • Are there places that you’d prefer to study in but don’t / can’t? (e.g.: due to access, location, schedule, etc.)
    • What kind of setting ‘gets you in the mood’ to study/do work?
    • What is the ideal setting for you when studying? (prompt for furniture, lighting, noise, how much
      space to spread out, etc.)
    • Do you study in different locations for different purposes? If so, why? What makes one space better or
      more suitable than another?
    • Do you tend to stay in one place when you study, say “camp out for a while” or do you use different
      places and move around?

    Use of Library

    • Do you ever use the library? For what purposes? (which library/libraries, what activities)
    • How often do you use the library? (e.g.: 0-5, 5-10, more than 10 times per month)
    • Are there certain times of day or days of the week that you use the library?
    • Have you ever gotten help from library staff? Tell me about your experience.


    • What technology do you use for school projects?
    • How do you take notes in class?
    • Do you have a laptop? Do you bring it to campus?
    • Do you have printer?
    • How do you communicate with your group members if you’re working on a group project?
    • When you have to work on a major project on your computer how do you keep track of all your digital
      “stuff”? (articles, PDFs, Word Docs, your draft assignment).
    • What technology do you like to carry with you vs. have provided wherever you you go?
    • What technology do you use in the library? (ask only if student uses the library)
    • Are there any technologies in [their preferred work space] that we don’t have at the library or at other
      frequent study spaces?


    • How often do you get together with others to study?
    • What kinds of places/spaces are best for this?
    • How often do you meet with others for a group project/assignment?
    • What places are best for this?
    • What types of activities do you do while working on these group assignments?
    • What types of tools/technology do you use when working in groups?
    • What challenges do you face when working on a group project?
    • What would your ideal space look like for collaborating with a group on a project?

    Service Preferences

    • When you go into a store how do you figure out whatever you need to figure out when you’re there?
    • When you go into a store, how do you usually want the staff to interact with you?
    • Tell me about recent really good customer service you’ve had.
    • If you needed to figure out something you need to do with your computer, how would you do that?
    • Let’s say you were working in the library and encountered a problem — it could be any sort of problem
      (technical, printing, getting information, directions to a place in the building) — what would you do?