Any topic (writer’s choice)

There will be two parts to this project: a) identification of a research topic/question and interviewee, description of your interviewee and interview strategy, development of an interview guide, and development of a consent form; and b) identification of paper topic and results section of final research paper


Development of Interview Materials: identification of research topic(s), description of interviewee and interview strategy; informed Consent; and interview Guide (15%).

Before you start, visit: (Links to an external site.)guide.pdf (Links to an external site.) and read the guidelines for conducting a life history interview. Pay particular attention to the Getting Started and Interview Context sections of the interview guide and about picking an interviewee for your chosen topic. In addition, review at least 1 of the transcripts of life history interviews provided on the Canvas website. 

This assignment will have four sections described in detail below: (1) a description of your interview topic or research question, (2) a description of your interviewee and your interview strategy, (3) an informed consent document, and (4) an interview guide. All 4 sections should be combined in a single word document (or pdf if formatting is an issue) and submitted to the Canvas website by 11:59p on the due date.

(1) Interview topic/research question (a few sentences to 0.5 pages double spaced): while you are conducting a general life history interview, you also need to identify a clear topic or research question on which you want to focus your interview (e.g., certain risk and protective factors; historical influences on a persons life, key events or turning points, the role of intrapersonal relationships or environmental factors on a persons life). Remember, this topic is meant to be the grounding for your thesis in your final research paper. The qualitative data (quotes from the interview will be used in your final papers as data or evidence supporting your thesis; so, you want to make sure you are gathering enough information about a specific topic in your interview to integrate into your final paper). Your final paper is relatively short; thus, your topic needs to be clear and relatively small in scope. A general question like, “what is the role of childhood in someone’s life trajectory?” is pretty vague. What aspects of childhood might you be interested in exploring? Attachment? A particular early childhood trauma? Friendships in childhood?  Think of the topics of research papers or newspaper articles you have read recently. These topics tend to be fairly narrow, e.g. the role of race in someones health across the lifespan, the role of connection to environment in a persons career trajectory, the role a siblings mental health plays in someones interpersonal relationships across the lifespan, the role of childhood trauma on adolescent and early adult development, religion/spirituality as a risk and/or protective factor across the lifespan. You want your topic to be specific enough to design an interview guide that will yield rich, descriptive responses from your interviewee about that topic that can be used as empirical data in your final paper. Please reach out to me if you have questions. Once you have settled on a topic, write a brief paragraph that includes your interview topic/research question and how this topic fits into either the DLCP or ecological perspective.

(2) Description of interviewee and interview strategy (approximately 1.5-2 pages double-spaced): in this section of the assignment you will describe the individual with whom you will conduct a life history interview and provide a description of your strategy for interviewing them. In your description of your interviewee, please discuss why the person you have chosen is a good person to interview based on your chosen interview topic. For example, if you are interested in writing your final paper on the role of race in health across the lifespan, you would need to interview someone whose life experiences might give you rich insight into that topic. If you are interested in the role of environment in a person’s career trajectory, then you want to interview someone who can either speak to how their environment has influenced their career trajectory or, even if they cannot identify it, they can speak in depth about their environment, neighborhoods, etc. In the description of your interview strategy you should discuss the location (Zoom or alternative) and time for the interview; your strategies to ensure the comfort, privacy, and/or confidentiality of your interviewee; your strategies to minimize background noise, interruptions, etc.; and whether or not you will be providing compensation for the interview (e.g. buying airtime or coffee for your interviewee). In your interviewee strategy, also think about any other accommodations you might need to make for your interviewee (e.g., built-in breaks, closed captions, hearing aids, scheduling concerns like meals or medication times, etc.). I am recommending the us of Zoom for these interviews because you should all have accounts through the school and the Zoom platform has an automatic transcription option, which could help you with analyzing data later on. That being said, the transcriptions need to be cleaned up and are not useful in a lot of languages; so, alternatives to zoom are fine. Just describe what platform you will be using (including in-person if you are able to do this safely).

***Notes: Remember, your interviewee needs to be in the later adulthood developmental stage of their life. Interviewees can be friends, neighbors, close relatives, etc. I suggest interviewing someone who will be willing and able to accommodate your interview into their schedule. Preferably, interviews will take place between October 15th and October 29th. While that may seem like a long window, people often take a long time to schedule interviews or they have to reschedule; so, keep that in mind. It will be your job in the interview to ask the right questions and guide the conversation to address the topic. Sometimes this requires direct questions like: in what ways do you think your neighborhood or home space affected your performance in school? Other times, you will simply need to ask about someones experiences within the physical environment, neighborhood, school, classroom, or at home to get at the role they played within someone’s life trajectory. Again, it will be up to you to guide the conversation.

(3) Interview guide (no specific length, but make sure you have enough questions/probes about your topic): By now, you have seen a couple of examples of a qualitative interview guide in class. You can use these to help you develop your guide. Each interview guide will be unique because your interviewee and research topics are unique. You can also use the suggested questions in the Smithsonian Interview Guide and the transcripts from the interviews on the course website to help you develop the interview guide for your interview. Make sure you include questions that will help you understand how your subjects life experiences might be linked to your specific research topic.

(4) Informed Consent (no specific length, just make sure it has all of the required elements): Review the Basic Elements of Informed Consent documentPreview the document on the Canvas website and the slides on the required elements from class. Develop an introduction to the research and informed consent document for your interview.

find the cost of your paper