Cultural information interview

Paper instructions:
This assignment requires that you have an intercultural interaction with someone from a culture different than your own, read about that different culture in depth, reflect upon it and write about it. Once you have identified the “informant” you will be interacting with for this assignment, read up about their culture and history ahead of time.

Formulate some questions you want to ask them about their culture and experience, ad also check the list of possible questions provided by me to get the conversations going.

Spend at least 3-4 “contact hours” with the person or group from a culture different from your own. The hours should be broken into different ‘meetings’, but should last a minimum of about an hour each. Talk to them or interview them about their culture. Observe their interactions (if spending time with a family or group). The purpose of this assignment is to help you learn about a cultural system that is different from yours through reading and through interactions with members of that cultural group.

Write a 6-8 page (single spaced) paper about the intercultural experience in which you have participated.

In General the paper should include:

1) a detailed description of the experience

2) a discussion of the history of the cultural group you interacted with, as well as the values and assumptions operating in the other cultural system

3) a discussion of how the other culture differs from your own and implications for future interactions

4) attention to the context in which the interactions occurred and how that affected the communication, as well as the power positions of your own race/ethnicity/group compared with that of the culture you interacted with.

5) an application of concepts, skills and attitudes learned thus far in the course to your understanding of the experience.

Specifically, the paper should cover:

Positionality (1-1.5 pgs)


What is your cultural heritage? How do you know? In what ways do you think your background influences how you experience the world, and how you evaluate and interpret others and their experiences? What class/race/gender and other cultural experiences have shaped your decisions, practices, approaches, and agendas?

Self in Relation to Others?

What is the cultural heritage and the historical landscape of the participant in your interview? How do you know? In what ways do your research participants’ race/class/gender and other cultural backgrounds influence how they experience the world?

Outcome Statement (Approx 1 paragraph)

What do you want your reader to gain/learn/experience from your paper? Why?

Brief Methodology Section (Not more than 1 page)

How did you gather the data for this paper? More than likely this is a mix of interview and general research – explain them in detail. When/where/how long for the interview. What type(s) of outside sources did you find and use?

Interview Summary (1-1.5 pgs) – See below for example

Do not type all interview questions and responses. Instead focus on those that brought the most substantive/helpful information.

Interview Questions and responses are as follows with responses in italics:

How would you describe a typical family?

Usually about 5-6 people; Common to have 4-5 children. A lot of couples are not married, not enough money to get married very family oriented – extended family stays close, sometimes under same roof. A lot of student’s can’t afford to move away from their families.

What are the common roles within the family system?

Wife- domestic responsibilities as well as caring for the family. Husband- work during the day-go out at night (on the town-drinking). Children-Help around house, work as soon as they are able (usually beginning around age 12), if lucky they are able to attend school

What are the gender roles? (both in the home and in general)?

Men have a much higher status. They are the leader of the household and make all of the ‘family’ decisions. Women are granted very little respect. They usually do not work outside the home and their opinions are usually not validated.

Cultural Inferences (1-1.5 pgs)

What types of inferences can you make about the culture of the cultural informant based off of the information you have gathered from both the interview and outside research. It is at this point that you are drawing connections made to material covering in class.


High Power Distance/ Low Power Distance


Was there anything that the informant shared that allowed you to be able to see ‘below the surface’?

Intercultural Comparison (1-1.5 pgs)

Use this section to discuss both the similarities and differences between U.S. American culture (or any other) and your informants native culture. Don’t forget to try and address why those similarities/differences exist.

Reflection of interview and write-up and Appendices

Here is your chance to reflect on the entire process – start to finish. How was it? What new insights did you gain about either the person, their culture, or even about putting the entire paper together. Is there anything you’d want to do or ask if you had the chance for a follow-up interview? If given the opportunity to do something like this again will you change anything about your approach? Why/why not?

You can also use this space to include anything you believe will add to understanding more about your informant and/or their culture. Pictures, charts/graphs, maps, really anything at all can work. You can include as much as you want, but recognize that only up to one page will be counted toward the final page count.

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