Two pages draft of interview

Interview Paper Assignment Sheet

The interview is one of the most important parts of your ethnographic research because it allows you to gain an insider’s perspective on your field site and subculture. A good way to gain authority as a writer is to let the subculture you are researching speak for itself. It is this combination of your outsider and your informant’s insider views that is key to writing a successful final paper. Your interviewee has insight about your subculture, and you give it order by identifying themes and issues and by unifying the information you collect into an effective piece of writing. This writing will embody the feeling of the interview—the sense of place and of the person you have interviewed.

  • Physical description of the informant and his/her actions, mannerisms, and personality
  • A description of the environment in which the interview takes place
  • A blend of a summary and direct quotation of the informant’s words and your conversation with that person
  • A blend of objective writing, reflexive reactions, and secondary sources, for triangulation.
  • A reproduction of the informant’s voice (imitation of the person’s real speech: “I wanna go” instead of “I want to go” if it reflects the person’s way of speaking)
  • Selectivity in the use of quotations, paraphrases, reflection, and description that illustrates the interview’s purpose
  • A conclusion that details new knowledge about the subculture that you have gained through interviews

It is important that your interviews and your interview paper have a purpose. I do not want to see a write-up of random questions and answers. Each question you ask and each thing you include in your write-up should have a purpose and should contribute to a point.

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