Gays in the Military

Topic: Gays in the Military
Paper instructions:
What has led you to interview a certain population? What have you noticed about a specific context that makes you want to interview people about their beliefs, actions, and experiences?

How to approach this assignment
1. Context. Find a setting that you are interested in learning more about. Your miniethnography will need to involve interviews with people who experience the same context. A context is not “English language teachers” -this is a population. Observe this context at least one time before moving on with interviews.
2. Interviewees. If you can ascertain that there are different populations that experience the same context (e.g., a classroom), then it will be important to interview representatives from each population (e.g., teacher, student). Try to interview two people.
3. Time and transcription. Limit your interviews to 3 hours maximum. You do not need to transcribe your interviews for this assignment. You are welcome to use short excerpts in your write-up. Instead, you will record them and then listen to them, taking notes as you go. These notes will be the ‘meta-level’ field notes, similar to the observation option above.
4. Technique. Take the Qualitative Interviewing approach. There are a number of different questions types, consider using a nix of questions. This means that you will mostly be considering ‘what’ questions, rather than ‘how’ questions. Use the interviews to get a deeper understanding of a particular community or individual’s experience or activities, rather than analyze the interview interaction itself.

Guidelines for interviewing
1. I suggest you record your interviews AND take notes as you go. Use a reliable recorder and PRACTICE using it. Bring extra batteries. Find a quiet space for the interview.
2. Tell your own story or provide a detailed description of your own stake in the research area as a starting point. This will help you to create a comfortable relationship with your interviewee, and it is part of the ‘active interview’ concept as well. It is also part of informing the interviewee about the purpose of the research, and hence, relates to the concept of ‘informed consent.’
3. 4. Use open-ended questions whenever possible.
5. Use ‘structuring’ language that keeps the interviewee informed where the interview is headed next.
6. Don’t restrict yourself to your prepared questions. One of the best strategies to use is to probe an idea produced by your interviewee in the preceding turn.

Writing it up
For the due date, include the following in a document:
1. Field notes from initial observation (Can be a scanned copy)
2. List of interview questions.
3. 2-3 page (double-spaced) narrative on the experience. This should include any ‘findings’ that you believe you have found. What did your interview yield? How did these relate to any observations you had made about the context? What might be the next step in a research project that would carry on with the particular context that you studied? What other methods or other procedures might you turn to next in order to probe the context further?