Sociology Personal interview
Instructions in document
Sociology of Race & Ethnicity – Writing Assignment Instructions
As we have discussed at length in our course, immigration has literally transformed the United States. From the European and Asian nations that sent people to the U.S.
nearly two centuries ago, to the continual racial and ethnic demographic changes in our country, the immigrant experience is alive and well here. Why do people
migrate across international borders? How do we understand the politics of immigration? And how do we understand “incorporation,” the process by which foreignborn
individuals become integrated in their new home? So that you can better understand and analyze some of these questions you will interview an individual who
has lived the immigrant experience, which will then become the basis of your semester Race & Ethnicity Research Paper.
Your paper must:
- include your name (ONLY) on the upper left corner – nothing else is necessary; don’t include my name, course name, no cover pages, etc.
- be typed (12 point font),
- 1 inch margins on all sides,
- be three-four pages (body/text )long. Papers less than three pages are unacceptable, and papers which exceed four pages will not be accepted.
- if you decide to use outside sources – incorporate quotations, facts that are not common knowledge, and/or ideas which are not your own – cite accordingly
(including page numbers). You may use ASA or MLA citation formats.
Papers which do not include all of the above will automatically be downgraded by five points. Please edit your work carefully.
How to title/name your file for this assignment:
Save your report in Word and use the following file-naming convention:
Writing Assignment_your-last-name.doc(Example: Writing Assignment_Noone.doc) Be sure to use the underscores as you see in this example.
How to Submit your Paper:
When you have finished your assignment, you will upload (submit) it in the Assessments area in folio –
DO NOT submit this Assignment as an email attachment. You may submit this assignment only one time.
- Complete the assignment in a Word document. This assignment must be completed in a Word format.
- Under the Assessments dropdown button, click the Dropbox link.
- Click the “Writing Assignment Dropbox” button.
- Click “Add A File,” then “Upload,” and browse for the Word document that you have on your computer. Select your document and click “Open” so that it uploads
to the Assessments area. Click “Done.” Your document will now appear below “Add A File.” Click “Submit.”
- Your document will appear under “Submitted Files.” MAKE CERTAIN TO CONFIRM that it was submitted correctly by looking under “Submission Date,” where it
will show the date and time stamp of your submitted document.
- This Writing Assignment must be uploaded to the Assessments Dropbox by 11:59pm EST at the close of Learning Module Six.
**Please remember that assignments not submitted by the closing date/time will automatically receive a grade of zero. **
Now, for the Specific Instructions: (please read through carefully)
“Civilization is a stream with banks.
The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing things historians usually record,
while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, and write poetry…
The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks; however, we often ignore the banks for the river.”
Will Durant, The Story of Civilization
Much of what we study in this course is what is considered historical sociology; that is, it is the history of major political figures, important events, and significant
historical trends. Now it is your turn to help create the history that occurs on the “banks of the river” – the story of everyday people, the story of immigrants.
Oral histories are created when one person (you/the interviewer) interviews another person (the interviewee) about a specific time period in the interviewee’s life. The
interviewer takes the interviewee’s responses and creates a text of the interviewee’s words told through the point of view of the interviewee. It is not an exact
transcript of what the interviewee says. The interviewer must edit the transcript—moving parts around, taking parts out, and even adding words here and there (with
the interviewee’s permission). The final piece of writing should capture the voice and spirit of the interviewee’s immigrant experience.
Steps to Completing the Oral History:
- Select a person you wish to interview. This will be an individual who came to the United States from another country when he or she was at least 18 years old.
Your informant may be a friend, relative, or acquaintance. Again, this person MUST be an adult who was not born in the U.S.
- Do some research on their country of origin.
- Interview your informant for a minimum of 60-90 minutes. It is always a good idea to record the interview, so that you can focus on the conversation without
having to take copious notes. If so, ask beforehand if your interviewee is comfortable with being recorded, and comply with his/her wishes.
- Your interview will be semi-structured; that is, guided by a written questionnaire, but carried out like a conversation through “prompting.” An effective
interviewer encourages the respondent to tell their experiences with examples and anecdotes, rather than yes/no survey-style answers.
- Your interview should carefully consider (1) migration, (2) integration/assimilation, and (3) membership.
Below are some examples of possible key questions and areas of inquiry.
- What country are you originally from?
- Why did you leave this country?
- When did you leave? How old were at that time?
- What were the conditions in the country when you left?
- How did you prepare for your trip here?
- Who came with you when you emigrated? Who did you leave behind? What did you leave behind?
- How did you get here? Did you stay somewhere else before arriving here?
- Why did you choose the United States? Why not some other country?
- Who decided you would come here? Did you want to leave? |
- How did others in your home country treat you when they knew you were leaving?
- What changes in lifestyle did you make when you came here?
- What was your first impression of the United States? Has this initial impression changed over time?
- What are some of the differences/similarities you’ve noticed in the cultures here and in your home country?
- What were your hopes for yourself (and/or your family) when you came here? Have you realized these hopes?
- How were you treated when you first arrived in the United States? How are you treated now?
- Were your expectations of America met? Was your idea of America the same as the reality?
And what actually goes in the paper?
Next page, please…
Second (the Content and Structure of your Paper):
Your field work/interview will be presented in the form of a three-four page paper narrative of the interview, written in complete sentences and paragraphs.
All of the following three sections (at minimum), titled as below – in this order – must be covered in your paper:
- Content, and
- Conclusion / Analysis
- The Introduction section will be relatively short, and include basic background/demographic information to orient the reader.
(Remember that your paper is really about your informant’s experiences, culture and insights into our culture; his or her life history is only the background, or
- The Content section discusses his or her home culture and his or her impressions of U.S. culture. You are looking for cultural (as opposed to individual) practices,
beliefs, values, outlooks, and so on, to understand or explain. These are usually things that differ from what we are used to here in the U.S. They may give you
insights into both your informant’s culture, and ours, by contrast. You are interpreting or explaining some of those differences, using concepts from this course.
This is the main body of the paper, and should include detailed anecdotes and very specific information about your interviewee’s feelings/attitudes/beliefs about
This section should be detailed, fleshed-out, and supported by select exact quotes from your interview subjects.
- The Conclusion/Analysis section includes your findings and conclusions.
Try to synthesize or generalize and interpret what you have learned of your informant’s home culture and American culture. That is, suggest some conclusions
about the immigration experience and its effects on one or both cultures. Support your ideas by summarizing or quoting things your informant said, and explaining
how they point to your conclusions. For example:
- Suggest general themes or characteristics of either culture (“Peruvians tend to value such-and-such, which affects many aspects of their lives, such as…”)
- Note repeating themes or parallels in different stories or aspects of the culture (“A common thread in these stories is that… which suggests that…”)
- Ask yourself “Is this part of a larger pattern?” “What does this imply about the culture?” The answer may be an interesting generalization about the
You may also want to ask yourself, as applicable:
- What did you learn about the immigration experience you did not previously know? What surprised you?
- What I heard that surprised me was…
- Something I learned from the oral histories was…
- One thing I thought was important from the interviews was…
This paper is worth 20% of your final grade; it is a college-level paper and will be graded as such.
I’m often asked, “How do I get 60 points on this assignment?” First, remember that 60 points is a perfect score, so to get a 60 your paper would need to be flawless.
You will generally be assessed based on the effort that went into writing the interview (completeness, attention to detail), and the care and thought displayed in the
reflection of the narrative.
There are many elements that contribute to a paper earning a great score; an exceptional paper must include all of the following:
- interesting and relevant details, words and phrases – provide specific examples and verbatim quotes where applicable
- objectivity – the ability to critically and impartially assess your experiences
- logical thinking and arguments
- original thought
- answer all questions posed in the assignment
- no grammar or spelling errors
You will be graded using the Writing Assignment Rubric on Folio.
*** A reminder: ***
Plagiarism is a serious offense.
Any written work in this class is reviewed by .
Turnitin is a site that checks for plagiarism and generates an originality report that notes which parts of a paper appear unattributed to
- other student papers,
- previous papers you have submitted,
- internet sources,
You *may not* submit a paper – or any part of a paper – that you submitted for another class;
this constitutes plagiarism as well.
Any incidence of academic dishonesty will result in an automatic zero (F) for this assignment,
and will be reported to the Georgia Southern University Office of Student Conduct.
Incidences of plagiarism may additionally result in a zero (F) for the entire course and further