Life Interview: Essay

Life Interview: Essay 
Purpose: By comparing an interview with the research and theories in the text book, and their work throughout the course students will deepen their understanding and knowledge of the life span view of human development.  
Directions: (Enjoy this experience!)
1. Select an adult who is age 40 or older to interview. The interview will take into account (a) the individual’s current stage of life and (b) important life experiences. This is a structured interview with questions to be addressed.    
 Your subject may be a family member, coworker, classmate, neighbor, friend, someone in the Veteran’s Hospital, or a person in a facility for seniors. Whomever you choose should be a person who is willing to talk and share at length his/her experiences.
2. Once you have identified the interviewee:
  • Read the chapter in your text that pertains to the person’s current age and life stage.
3. Interview Questions:  TAKE NOTES or RECORD!
 A. Personal Information: For use in your introduction in your paper.
 How you know/selected this person; age; family structure; current or past employment; level of education, military experience, and anything else of interest.
B. Past Influences on Development: How old was the person at the time of each influence?  
  • Positive Early Memory/Experience and Age: From childhood or your teen-aged years is there a memory or event that stands out as especially positive in some way?  How do you think it affected your life?  
  Textbook concepts and/or theory that relates.
 Negative Early Memory/Experience and Age: From childhood or your teen-aged years is there a memory that stands out as especially negative in some way? How do you think it affected your life?
Textbook concepts and/or theory that relates.
  • Turning Point and Age: Looking back over your life, it may be possible to identify certain key moments that stand out as turning points — episodes that marked an important change in you or your life story. Please identify a particular episode or event in your life story wherein you went through an important change of some kind and how it affected your life.
Textbook concepts and/or theory that relates.
  • Failure, Regret and Age: Everybody experiences failure and regrets in life, even for the happiest lives. Looking back over your life, please identify and describe the greatest failure or regret you have experienced. It can be in any area of your life – work, family, friendships, or any other area. How do you think the failure affected your life?
 Textbook concepts and/or theory that relates.
A. The Present 
  • You are currently at the stage of life our text book terms (fill in). Is there anything about this   stage of life that has surprised you or disappointed you?
  • Textbook concepts and/or theory that relates.
C. Future Thoughts:
  • When you think about the future, what do you look forward to and what do you worry about?
  • Textbook concepts and/or theory that relates.
D. Wisdom Gained or Philosophy:
  • If you could give advice to your younger self or to a younger person in regard to life’s challenges, what would you say? What wisdom would you share?
  • Textbook concepts and/or theory that relates.
Writing the Paper –Putting it all together: Follow the Questioning Order From Above. 
1. Except for the introduction, use third person format–do not refer to yourself.  For, example, “Mr. Jones was asked how he felt …” NOT, “I asked Mr. Jones….”
2.  Introduction: In your introduction, include answers to the present information about the interviewee and why you chose him or her for the paper. If s/he desires to remain anonymous, you may assign the person a fictitious name when writing the paper.
3. Summarize the interview information rather than trying to fit it all in. You can also use short quotes or sentences that you embed into a paragraph or use a separate indented paragraph for longer quotes. Don’t fill the paper with long quotes that do nothing to enhance the information.
4. Compare the Information in the Interview with Research/Theories From the Text.  
  • There are eight (8) questions, some with sub questions. Using this material choose four (4) responses/events that had impact on the person’s life, noting the age/stage at the time of the event. Consulting the text, compare the effects stated by the interviewee with what the text conveyed about similar events.  Be sure to include the page number.
    • For example, if the person was bullied as a child, Arnett, references a study that revealed, “Traditional victims … who are socially anxious—find that their poor self esteem snowballs.” (Bowlton, Smith & Cowie, 2010, quoted from Cavavaugh, pg. 196) As a result of bullying, Miss Jones became very withdrawn and stayed away from her school mates.”
    • If you cannot find information in the text which relates to the event in the interview, then locate a professionally written article that deals with similar events and consequences. Be sure to cite it in the paper. For example, if your subject had a parent die during his/her youth, find a journal article about parental loss and its effects.
5. Personal Reflection (label this section separately):  This part of the paper will address what you learned from doing the assignment and can include your personal opinions. Be thoughtful.
Your reflection may include but is not limited to:
  • What did you learn doing this assignment?
  • What surprised you?
  • What touched your emotions?
  • How does this experience help you to better understand yourself or others?
I am looking for good content, i.e., detailed use of examples that relate to theory and concepts in your textbook readings or other sources, not a length requirement.  However to give you a general idea I will say that the interview/theory essay should be a minimum of three full pages, single spaced. The personal reflection section is an additional page. 
Grading Rubric:
30 pts: Proper reference/citations from the text when information from the text is used in the paper 40%. The writer shows effort and insight when relating the interview to information in the text or retrieved articles.      
30 Points: Logic, flow, and attention:  There is an introductory and concluding paragraph. The sentences make sense and the writing flows together. Each topic or thought is completed before moving on to the next. The writer demonstrates thoughtful respect for the subject and the information shared.
Total Points: 60

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