Family Research Project
Initial addition due on webpages: October 10
Final Revisions due: October 17
You may choose to do this research using ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: 1) the family interview, 2) a parent interview, or a 3) field study project. What you did and what you found should be posted to your webpage (remember to write for the web, do not simply write a paper and paste it on your webpage). In the case of family and parent interviews, do not list questions and answers (you may put your questions at the end, if you like). Talk about the conclusions you drew and then use specific responses to support those conclusions.
Family interview: Interview THREE GENERATIONS of one family. Each family member should be interviewed separately. Your final analysis should compare and contrast the answers provided by each of the family members and include the following information: 1) introduction and brief background of family members; 2) conclusions you drew about family communication and how things may have changed with time (use interview information to support this). Include a concluding sentence or two which "wraps up" what you learned. You may use your own family, but you cannot be one of the people interviewed! Consult page 84 of your text for ideas about topics to explore. Below are some possible questions (feel free to use these and/or your own):1. Discuss the roles played by various members of your family.
2. Describe topics that were discussed with your mother, with your father,with siblings. What topics were considered 'taboo'?3. Describe a family story that was told in your family.4. Describe family rituals that were observed in your family.5. Recall a conflict that occurred in your family. How were conflicts generally resolved?
Parent Interview Project: Interview at least FOUR individuals who are or were PARENTS (If you interview two couples, interview them separately, try to interview both mothers and fathers). Your final analysis should include the following information: 1) introduction and brief background of family members; 2) conclusions you drew about family communication and how things may have changed with time (use interview information to support this). Include a concluding sentence or two which "wraps up" what you learned. Be sure to change the tense of the questions as necessary, depending on the ages of their children. In addition to seeking out basic demographic information (age, number of children, ethnic background, socioeconomic group), ask the following:1. What is your definition of "family" and why is it constructed this way?2. What is an effective parent, explain what behaviors are associated with your definition of effective.3. What communication skills are necessary for a family to cope in our culture?4. Do you believe we are living in "turbulent" times? Why or why not? How does your response relate to families (how are families different because of the way things are today?)5. What is your impression of the different family types in this country, such as homosexual parents, working parents, single parents, stepparents? Do you long for the "good ol' days" when family types were not so complex? Why or why not?6. What types of discussions (topics talked about) does your family have when you are all together?7. What are the stressors involved in being a parent? How do you cope with these?8. Some people compare their family to something else to make a point about their family (e.g., a waltz, a circus). What would you compare your family to and why would you make this comparison?
9.-10. A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS OF YOUR OWNField Study Project: This project has a variety of possible topics and may include a brief background literature review, interview/observation, and/or an extensive literature review with synthesis/evaluation. Each of these should not only describe the interaction/situation but draw conclusions about communication within that family, how it affects the family, how it affects individuals within the family and how the family may be affected by societal/cultural norms. Sample topics include the following (if you have other ideas, great, just check with me in advance):1. Observation of specific family interaction (e.g., dinner time) and an analysis of the communication behaviors exhibited.2. Observation of specific family ritual (e.g., weddings, holiday get together) and an analysis of the communication behaviors exhibited.3. Communication issues within dual-career marriages.4. A carefully documented analysis of your own family or family-of-origin in terms of communication style.5. Communication within families from the perspective of a particular family type (i.e., homosexual or lesbian family, single parent family, specific racial or ethnic background, etc.)6. Taboo topics in families7. An analysis of how family stories communicate information within a specific family.