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GLST 290
ETHNOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ASSIGNMENT
INSTRUCTIONS
OVERVIEW
For this assignment, you will submit a list of ten open-ended questions that may be used during
the interview. This list may be expanded as needed during the interview. The interview process
can be daunting if this is your first time conducting this type of interview, so below you will find
suggestions to help you prepare. Please read through this entire document before you begin the
process of writing interview questions. This is the third of four assignments of the Ethnographic
Interview series.
INSTRUCTIONS
The interview instructions have been divided into three sections to help guide you through the
interview preparations, the interview, and as you begin processing the interview findings.
Before the Interview:
It is essential that you begin to think through the elements needed for the interview prior to the
interview.
1. Interviewee: The questions should be written for the person that was chosen for this
assignment series during the Pre-Interview Research stage of the Ethnographic Interview
series.
2. Interview Question Formatting: Questions should be open-ended, semi-structured, and
neutral. Interview questions should be written using the second person “you”.
a. Open-ended and semi-structured – While preparing a list of questions, the interviewer
must remain flexible to ask follow-up questions based on the interviewee’s responses. Be
sure to create a space for open dialogue. There should be a good balance of different
types of questions. Limit the use of questions that may be answered using a simple “yes”
or “no.” Questions that might be answered with “yes” or “no” are considered closedended questions and typically do not provide sufficient insight when trying to learn about
someone. Use follow-up questions if you happen to ask a closed-ended question.
Closed-Ended Questions limit a person’s
choice of answers; lead to one-word, yes/no
answer: Is, Do/Does, Who, When, Where
Open-Ended Questions create a space for more in-depth
answers and dialogue: What, How, Why, Tell me about…
Do you like living in Canada?
Tell me about your life in Canada.
Does your family like living together?
Tell me about your family and their living arrangements.
Do you celebrate Christmas?
What holidays do you celebrate? Tell me more about how
you celebrate Christmas.
Does your family believe in God?
What does your family believe about God? Tell me about
your family’s religious practices & their beliefs about God.
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b. Neutral – Do not ask leading questions to encourage the answers you want to hear. Create
a space for the interviewee to provide their own insight into their worldview, cultural
practices, and experiences with other cultures.
Leading Question – a question that
suggests the expected answer
Neutral Question – a question that does not direct the
interviewee to the answer the interviewer expects or wants
Don’t you just love living in Canada?
Tell me about your life in Canada. What are some of the
positives and negatives about living in Canada?
3. Interview Questions: Compile a list of 10 questions that could be used during the interview.
Please do not present this list to the interviewee but use the questions as a starting point.
a. 5 of the 10 questions must include concepts from the research conducted on the local
culture in the Pre-Interview Research Assignment. Five source citations must be included
for the concepts included from the textbook and other research sources.
i.
Remember that the research findings on the interviewee’s culture contains
generalizations about the culture that will serve only as a starting point. The
interview is an opportunity to learn about how the interviewee actually implements
these concepts in their daily life and interactions. Think about concepts from the
research that were especially interesting that would make good interview questions.
ii.
Example of questions based on research content: Howell and Paris gave us an entire
chapter on Language in the course textbook. You may want to explore the role that
language has on communication practices. Ask questions about language and
elements such as code-switching. Cite Howell and Paris on code-switching material
so that you can return to it when writing up the interview analysis.
b. The prompt for the final interview paper (Ethnographic Interview: Analysis and
Reflection Assignment) should be used as a guide for writing questions for the interview.
The required elements are listed below with questions for consideration as you create
your list of interview questions:
i.
Introduction: Describe the interviewee’s background. Ask a few questions about
their background even if you know the interviewee. Where are they from? When
and why did they come to the US? Etc., etc. You may use a pseudonym (fake
name).
ii.
Worldview: Describe the interviewee’s underlying rationale (this is the collection
of values and beliefs that are the source of the interviewee’s practices). What does
the interviewee believe about the humanity and God? How do these beliefs impact
their values and practices? What religion does the interviewee’s family practice?
What do they believe about humanity and God? How do these beliefs impact values
and practices?
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iii.
Cultural Values and Practices: Describe the cultural values and practices relating
to communication and societal, marital, and familial relationships from the
interviewee’s culture. Why are these values significant and how do they impact the
interviewee’s practices? Ask questions about relationships (societal, marital,
familial). Describe the makeup of the family unit. Are grandparents, aunts, uncles,
and cousins considered part of your interviewee’s immediate family? What role
does the family play in the selection of a spouse and raising children? How are
collectivist or individualist traits manifested in the culture? Describe
communication practices with family, others in their community, and outsiders. Are
people high or low context communicators? How does this impact communication?
(Do not use the words collectivist and individualist but describe the concepts; use
the words in the paper, not the interview.)
iv.
Conflict: Show how the interviewee’s rationale (value, beliefs, and practices)
impact their interactions with people from other cultures. How has or might the
interviewee’s rationale lead to conflict when engaging people from other cultures
and how might they resolve these conflicts? Ask the interviewee to describe
interactions with people from other cultures. How have the interviewee’s values,
beliefs, and practices regarding society, marriage, and family impacted their
interactions with people from other cultures? If the interview has experienced
conflict when interacting with other cultures, what role did their values, beliefs, and
practices play in these conflicts? How do their communication practices impact
their ability to communicate with people from other cultures? How did or might the
interviewee resolve conflicts with people from other cultures?
**If the interviewee says that they have not experienced any conflict with people
from other cultures, they may not feel comfortable enough to share this information
with you or are trying to save face. In this case, please stop asking them to share
about this topic. You will need to use your own knowledge, based on your research
on this culture, to discuss potential conflict that could arise as a result of their
values, beliefs, and practices for the final paper.
During the Interview:
You may conduct the interview over the phone, video chat, or other communication methods
available to you. Please do not send the questions to the interviewee via email and do not ask
them to send responses via email. You must talk to the person!
1. Pay attention and practice active listening. Watch for body language cues and be mindful of
your own body language.
2. Take notes, but do not try to write down every word.
3. Ask one question at a time – This gives the interviewee time to think and respond to the
question at hand rather than trying to remember all of the questions that were asked. This is
especially important if English is not the interviewee’s first language.
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GLST 290
4. Do not be afraid of silence! Give the interviewee time to think and process the question
before responding. This is especially important if English is not the interviewee’s first
language.
5. Clarify and do not be afraid to ask follow-up questions in response to something that is
unclear or especially interesting. “Tell me more about…”
a. Write down new questions that pop up during the interview that were not in the
original question set.
6. Observations – Make notes (mental notes may be most appropriate during the interview) of
your personal observations.
After the Interview:
This step is important because it provides an opportunity to jot down information that you think
may be significant to the interview analysis. To be completed immediately after the interview,
while the material is still fresh on your mind.
1. Write out the details of the interview. Fill in the gaps that may exist in your notes.
2. Write out any observations that were made during the interview about the interviewee and
anything else that seems noteworthy.
3. Update the list of the questions that were actually used in the interview – Add new questions
and remove questions that were not used. This list must be included in the Analysis and
Reflection Assignment as Appendix A, which is to be located after the bibliography.
The assignment may be written as a bulleted or numbered list but must include complete
sentences. The assignment should include the following elements:
• Format of Assignment: Current Turabian formatting is required.
o The assignment should include a title page and bibliography.
• Number of Citations: 5 citations from the textbooks or other scholarly sources are
required.
• Acceptable Sources: Scholarly sources are defined as textbooks, books written based on
academic research, and scholarly journal articles.
• Unacceptable Sources: travel websites, personal blogs, information blogs (about.com,
bibleinfo.com), consultant sites, popular culture websites, essay writing websites,
Wikipedia, YouTube, opinion articles, all sources that do not have an author, all sources
that do not cite any other research.
Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the Turnitin plagiarism tool.
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GLST 290
ETHNOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW: PRE-INTERVIEW RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT
INSTRUCTIONS
OVERVIEW
This assignment will be completed before you write the interview questions and before you
conduct the ethnographic interview. It will consist of research on the interviewee’s culture and
your personal reflection on your role as the researcher in the interview process. This assignment
will provide a basic overview of the cultural values and practices of the person you will be
interviewing for the next assignment. Please note that the research findings will be
generalizations about the culture and there may be differences in how the interviewee actually
implements these concepts in their daily life and interactions, but this research will give you a
starting point as you prepare for the interview. This is the second of four assignments of the
Ethnographic Interview series.
You will need to select a person that you will interview for the Ethnographic Interview series in
the coming weeks. When selecting a person for the interview, note that the interviewee must be
from a different cultural background than the culture that you would identify as your home
culture. The interviewee may not be someone who is related to you or had influence in your
upbringing. The interviewee must have spent the majority of their developmental years under the
influence of parents or guardians who were also born and raised in the culture that they are
representing for the interview. The interviewee must be able to respond to the questions in the
first person, as a locally born, active participant in the culture they are representing. The
interviewee may not be someone who moved into the culture for work or ministry purposes as an
adult or was transplanted into the culture by their non-national parents. Please do not interview a
military kid or missionary kid or an individual who moved to the culture represented in the
interview as an adult.
So, who can you interview? Howell and Paris define culture as “the total way of life of a group
of people that is learned, dynamic, shared, power-laden, and integrated.”1 This means that culture
is not necessarily defined by geographical location, but by the shared experiences which have
impacted the worldview (beliefs, values, and practices) of a group of people. You may interview
an unrelated immigrant, international student, foreign professional, neighbor who grew up in a
different country or in a significantly different region of the US (you grew up in New York City,
but your neighbor grew up in southern Texas), someone from a significantly different
socioeconomic class, etc.
INSTRUCTIONS
The paper should contain the following sections:
1. Introduction: Briefly introduce the interviewee. How do you know the interviewee? Why did
you choose to interview this person? You may use a pseudonym (fake name). What culture is
the interviewee representing?
2. Research on the Interviewee’s Culture: You will learn more about the worldview, cultural
values and practices, and conflict approaches most prevalent in your interviewee’s culture.
1
Brian M. Howell and Jenell Paris, Introducing Cultural Anthropology: A Christian Perspective, (Grand Rapids,
MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2019), 40.
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GLST 290
These elements will also be the foundation for the upcoming Interview Questions
Assignment and the Analysis and Reflection Assignment, which will come after this
assignment in the Ethnographic Interview series. Use at least 5 citations from 3 scholarly
sources (this can include the course textbooks) in this assignment.
• Worldview: What is the main religion practiced in the interviewee’s culture? What do
the people generally believe about humanity and God? How might these beliefs impact
the values and practices of a typical individual in this culture?
• Cultural Values and Practices:
o Communication Practices: Are the people in this culture direct or indirect
communicators? Is this a low or high context communication culture? What
values are shown through these practices? How might this impact communication
with outsiders?
o Relationships: Which relationships (societal, marital, familial) are most valued
and how is this manifested in the culture? Is the culture collectivist or
individualist? How does this manifest itself in daily interactions and basic life
decisions?
• Conflict: How does this culture address conflict? Do they express their thoughts and
feelings publicly? Is “saving face” important in this culture? How does this concept
impact the approach to conflict?
• How does the typical worldview in this culture impact communication practices,
relationships, and approach to conflict of the average person in this culture?
3. Cultural Comparison:
• The Researcher: Discuss the elements that make up your worldview. What are the general
approaches to communication, relationships, and conflict in your culture? How does your
worldview impact your communication practices, relationships, and approach to conflict?
How do your approaches impact interactions with people from other cultural
backgrounds?
• Comparison:
o How do your communication practices, relationships, and approach to conflict
compare to the approaches of the interviewee’s culture?
o What are the implications/challenges for someone from the interviewee’s culture
interacting with your culture based on the research findings?
4. Reflection and Conclusion: What considerations should you, as the researcher, make as you
prepare for this interview, keeping in mind your research findings and personal worldview?
How might your knowledge of the anthropological perspective, participant observation, and
rapport be useful to the interview process?
The assignment must be written as a formal paper and should include the following elements:
•
•
•
Length of Assignment: minimum 3 pages of content
o In addition to the 3 pages, the paper should include a title page and bibliography.
Format of Assignment: Current Turabian formatting is required.
Number of Citations: A minimum of 5 citations from 3 different scholarly sources,
including the textbooks and other scholarly sources, are required.
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GLST 290
•
•
Acceptable Sources: Scholarly sources are defined as textbooks, books written based on
academic research, and academic journal articles.
Unacceptable Sources: travel websites, personal blogs, information blogs (about.com,
bibleinfo.com), consultant sites, popular culture websites, essay writing websites,
Wikipedia, YouTube, opinion articles, all sources that do not have an author, all sources
that do not cite any other research.
Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the Turnitin plagiarism tool.
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