aspects of culture and intercultural communications

Final Paper: Oral History Interview Paper

Throughout the course, you will be exploring various aspects of culture and intercultural communications. Your final assignment in this course will be to conduct an extensive oral history interview with a person who is somewhat older than you and from a culture or subgroup that you are not a member of. This person can be a relative or acquaintance who is from a different generation. It can be someone who immigrated to this country either recently or some time ago. Or, it can be someone who belongs to a different subgroup from you and whose cultural experiences you believe would be very different from your own. Obtain permission from the person you are interviewing to record the conversation (either an audio or a video and audio recording) or to take handwritten notes during the interview.

Your overarching goals during the oral history interview are as follows:

  1. To learn more about the culture and subcultures to      which your interview subject belongs.
  2. To determine what issues they encountered in terms of      intercultural communications.
  3. To relate concepts you have studied in this course to      the experiences of this person.

After you have conducted the interview, review your recording or your notes and write a six- to eight-page paper (excluding a title page and a reference page), in which you discuss aspects of this person’s culture and/or subcultures and communication issues related to his or her cultural identity. In the paper, you must also include the following:

  1. The name of the person and his or her relationship to      you.
  2. The interview subject’s cultural background and the      culture and/or subcultures to which he or she belongs.
  3. At least six questions from the following list. You may      add additional questions or other questions not on this list, if you wish.      Remember, though, that the focus of your paper must be on intercultural      communication issues.
    • How far back in time can the person remember? What is       his or her first childhood memory? (Consider how it reflects the interview       subject’s culture or subculture?)
    • What does the person remember of the experience of       being an immigrant or a subgroup member in that time?
    • Which impressions or experiences from that time       are most vivid to him or her today?
    • If he or she immigrated to this country, what was the       country of origin like in terms of geography, government, transportation,       economic system, and education system? If he or she were raised in this       country, what were these aspects of life like during their childhood?
    • What does the person recall of the communication with       members of the dominant culture? What barriers to effective communication       did he or she encounter?
    • In the United States today, what is different in his       or her life in terms of language, religion, family customs, diet,       recreation, and work, as compared to childhood?
    • What role did the news media play in the interview       subject’s life and in either supporting or contesting the intereview       subject’s views of his or her culture? How did the media influence his or       her individual beliefs and opinions about males and females, masculinity       and femininity, and other aspects of gender belief systems and views       about race and ethnicity? (Cite specific examples he or she gives you       regarding these two specific issues.)
    • If your interview subject spoke a different native       language, ask him or her to discuss differences between that language and       English. (Consider the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.)
    • What are some of the most significant differences in       day-to-day life in the past versus today?
  4. From this interview, what can you conclude about      important values in you interview subject’s early life?

Your paper should be written in paragraph form, not in a question and answer format. Thus, you must weave the information you present into a coherent narrative form, paraphrasing the information gleaned from the interview or using direct quotations from your interview subject, as appropriate. Your primary sources of information for this paper will be the interview subject and the course text. However, your assignment is not merely to describe the conversations you had with this person but also to critically evaluate what you learned from them and to tie this information to concepts you have studied in this course about culture and intercultural communication.

To meet this objective, you must relate ideas you learned during the interview to material you have studied in the text or other course resources and supplement your textbook and course resources by researching at least one key cultural issue, in greater depth, using the Ashford University Library and/or the Internet.

A proposal and a preliminary reference page for the final Oral History Interview paper are due in Week Two of the course, and a draft of this paper is due in Week Four. The final Oral History Interview Paper is due at the end of Week Five. Specific requirements for each of these assignments are outlined in the written assignments section of the appropriate course weeks. The final version of the paper must be submitted in Week Five and must be between six and eight pages in length (six to eight pages of text plus a title page and a reference page). This paper is designated as a *Portfolio Project*, which means you should retain a copy of the final version of the paper (after incorporating any instructor feedback) to be used in a personal portfolio you will prepare in the capstone course in your Bachelor of Arts in Communication program.

Writing the Final Paper
The Final Paper:

  • Must be six to eight double-spaced pages in length      (excluding the title page, reference page, etc.) and formatted according      to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
  • Must have a cover page that includes:
    • Title of paper
    • Student’s name
    • Course name and number
    • Instructor’s name
    • Date submitted
  • Must include an introductory paragraph with a succinct      thesis statement.
  • Must address the topic of the paper with critical      thought.
  • Must conclude with a restatement of the thesis and a      conclusion paragraph.
  • Must document all sources in APA style, as outlined in      the Ashford Writing Center.
  • Must include at least six references (one may be the      textbook).
  • Must include a separate reference page, formatted      according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.

Carefully review the Grading Rubric for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.

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