For this assignment, you will interview an adult (18 or older) immigrant living in the United States. Immigrants are individuals who were not born in the United States, did not have U.S. citizenship at birth and can be 1st ( born outside of USA and migrated here after 18 ) or 1.5 generation ( born outside of USA and migrated here BEFORE 16 ). You also will interview an adult (18 or older) second generation person with at least one foreign-born parent.
Using data collected from your interviews in conjunction with course materials and 3 outside sources (2 academic and 1 non-academic), describe and analyze the migration and adaptation experiences of your interviewees sociologically in a 7 (double-spaced, 12pt. Times New Roman) page paper due by 12/7. You must generate a claim/thesis (Links to an external site.) (see link) about immigrant life based on your two interviews.
Before you begin your interview, you should write an interview schedule with topics, questions, and prompts (follow-ups, clarifications) that will guide you through the interview. This will help your interview flow like a conversation while covering all of the necessary topics. You should aim for no less than 10 open-ended questions.
Avoid close-ended questions that are answered with “yes or no”. Formulate questions with “how” or “why”. Your interview schedule must be included at the end of your paper. See this handout (Links to an external site.) for more details.
Questions to ask:
Your interviews should cover issues surrounding the decision to emigrate, conditions in the country of origin prior to immigration, the immigration process, dealing with immigration policy, connections to the origin country, and adaptation/integration into life in the host country, the particularities of place (cities/neighborhoods), work life and labor market experience, educational trajectories, degree of ethnic identity, language/literacy acquisition, national sentiments, the role of religion, gender or sexuality, hopes & dreams (as well as dreams deferred), connection to parent culture, society perceptions of immigrant group, their sets of beliefs and ideas, level of activism, etc. Be creative and generate your own unique questions based on your interviewees.
- Probe: ask a follow up question in order to learn more about what an interviewee just told you. Get more insights into how they feel, think, and behave. E.g. “can you describe how your village looked and how did it make you feel?” “What do you mean by _____?”
- Avoid $100 words: Don’t ask questions like, “what is your gender ideology?” Instead, ask something like, “who do you think should be responsible for housework?” or “What do you think the proper role is for women?”
- Do a Homer Simpson: A good tactic for interviewing is to “play dumb.” Tell them you really don’t know what they are talking about in order for them to elaborate more.
- Battle the ‘You know what I mean?” Demon: Don’t let your interviewee minimize a potentially rich response by assuming you know exactly what they mean or feel. Rather, say, no, you don’t know what they mean, or ask them to clarify what they mean for your own sake.
- Orderly interview: questions that do not logically follow one another makes the interview process seem disjointed and artificial. Put your interviewee at ease by organizing your interview logically and making it more conversation-like.
- Don’t lead, follow: try to avoid leading questions that make your interviewee feel obligated to answer in a particular way. For example, don’t ask, “how did xenophobia upset you?” if your interviewee has not yet expressed what they think xenophobia is and whether or not it upset them.
- Enjoy the silence: sometimes there is “dead air” during your interview and that’s okay. Avoid tempting to fill it and let your interviewee have time to think about their answers.
- Don’t judge: You may not agree with some or a lot of what your interviewee says and that’s okay. You are not there to agree or to judge them but to document, understand, and try to explain why they think and feel in certain ways.
- Shut up: Do not put words into people’s mouths. Let them say things in their own words, especially with questions that deal with thoughts, opinions, and feelings.
- Enjoy it: try not to be to formal and official. If you relax, smile, put down your guard, and enjoy the process your interviewee is most likely to do the same.
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