Family Interview project

Assignment title:

Family Interview Project (50 points)

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Due date: Sunday, December 6th



The purpose of this assignment is to conduct a narrative interview with a family member in order to practice the application of interpersonal concepts. The life interview assignment is your chance to actually collect a story from an individual of your choice. Using the life interview protocol developed by McAdams (2008), you will conduct an interview with an individual in your life (family member) In addition to writing up the results of your life interview in a 10-12 page paper, you will be presenting the findings of your interview to your peers.



This interview assignment is a chance for you to actively collect a story from a family member of your choice. Keep in mind your professor views family as a social construction. The individual you choose to interview need not be genetically or legally related to you, but should be someone who is a very significant person in your life history and ideally someone two generations above you (i.e., a grandparent instead of a parent). You may NOT interview romantic partners, friends, or siblings. Using the life interview protocol developed by McAdams (2008), you will conduct an interview with this individual.



Leah will provide you with the interview questions!


Writing instructions:

Introduction (1 page)

–Provide a justification for your participant. Why did you choose this individual? What do you think you might get from interviewing this individual that you would not from others? What makes this person the best for the interview?


Overarching story (1-2 pages)

–Provide a brief overarching story of the life of your participant. What makes up this individual’s life? What are the essential elements or events that one might need to know about this individual in order to understand him/her/them?


Unit One: Identity/Culture/Perception (2-3 pages)

–Which identity or identities do you think were most salient to your participant? How did the interview potentially affect your identity? Did your participant mention any perception shifts in his/her/their life story? How did your perception of your participant change or not change after the interview? Draw upon concepts from our first unit (Chapters 1-4) in your analysis. For example, did they mention reflected appraisals? Did they talk about presenting or performing their identity differently in different situations? Keep in mind that they won’t be using the words that our textbook uses but it will be your job to draw those connections.


Unit Two: Listening/Verbal/Nonverbal/Conflict (2-3 pages)

–What do you think was one of the central conflicts of your participant’s life? Did they have conflict with an individual? A group? Within themselves? Did your participant talk about communication skills in their stories? Again, keep in mind that they might not explicitly use the same vocabulary or give you direct answers about skills but rather it will be up to you to draw conclusions from their stories. For example, if your participant talks about the importance of writing letters or talking on the phone to their loved one while they were away, you might consider how that communication impacted their relationship. Draw upon concepts from our second unit (Chapters 5-8) in your analysis.



Unit Three: Managing Challenges/Personal Relationships (2-3 pages)

–What do you think were the most important interpersonal relationships of your participant’s life? What impact do you think your participant’s relationships had on his/her/their life? What kind of relational/communication challenges did your participant need to overcome in their life? Can you identify any relational dialectics? What kind of family type do you think they had? Were there any “dark side” aspects of their stories (i.e., deception, ORIs, accounts, etc). Use concepts from our third unit (Chapters 9-12) in your analysis.


Final thoughts (1-2 pages)

–What are your take-aways from this project?



Mechanics and Other Really Important Information about this assignment:

In addition to adhering to the guidelines listed above make sure you are voiding any grammatical, semantic, or syntax errors. In addition to using the tools that Microsoft word provides such as spell check, be sure to proofread your paper carefully and correct any errors that cannot be caught from spell check or by your computer. It is a great idea to finish your paper a few days early and then return to it with an eye for these specific mistakes. Or, you might print your paper and read it aloud. Though class time might not allow for us to participate in a peer review in class, you are also welcome to exchange your papers with another student to check the others for these types of errors.


Use size 12 Times New Roman font on standard white paper with dark ink. Use standard margins (top to bottom, left to right) of 1-inch. Use no headings; rather, incorporate the structure in to your text. Submit your paper with a simple staple in the upper left hand corner. There is not need to place your paper in a folder or binder. I will take good care of it just as it is!

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