Interview Report and Reflection Paper

Psyc 345.  Psychology of Adulthood and Aging.  Dr. vom Saal

***** IMPORTANT *****


As described in class, it is important to maintain confidentiality of the interviewee.   Do not include the name of the interviewee or identifying information in any written report, and do not use the name in any oral report.  As described in class, failure to follow this guideline could be grounds for failing this course.

The following guidelines apply to all students unless a student has made an alternative proposal that has been agreed to by the professor.

1. Each student should conduct a series of three interviews with one individual over age 60, based on guidelines and topics presented in class.  Note that sometime during your interviews you should discuss with your interviewee at least two of the "Issues important to the Elderly" that we discussed in class or were described in handouts.  (Refer to the handouts on planning interviews and the handouts on on "Aging: Critical Issues.")

2. The Interview Report must be submitted by the deadline described on the syllabus or announced in class.  The report is a single report that covers all of the interviews.

3. The Interview Report should be 6-10 typewritten pages.

4. The Interview Report should follow all of the normal guidelines for a well-written paper.  Please refer to Part 1 of the separate handout on Guidelines for Writing Papers.  You should read that handout before you write your report, and read it again after you have written your report.  I will expect you to follow all of the guidelines in Part 1 of that handout.

5. The Interview Report and Reflection Paper should use the following outline.  Begin each section with a numbered boldface title as shown here.

1. Introduction and overview.  This section should be a page or less.  It should describe how the interviews were arranged, give a general description of the interviewee (NO NAME!), describe when and where the interviews took place, and give an overview of what happened.  It should briefly orient the reader to what is to come, give sufficient background information so the reader can understand the context for the remainder of the report, and give a brief summary of what happened.

2. Plans for the Interviews.  Describe your plans for each interview even if they were not carried out.  Include any planning materials or other materials you prepared in advance in appendix.  If the plan for an interview arose from what happened in the previous interview, explain that.

3. Descriptions of the Interviews.  What happened in the interviews.  This may include descriptions of the physical setting; behaviors observed; topics discussed; description of the interviewee's answers and comments.  It may include brief verbatim sections or quotations to illustrate general aspects of the interview or to describe a particularly important part, but should not contain extensive quotes.

Note: The above format assume you will write one single section that describes your plans for all of the interviews and then another section that describes what happened in all of the interviews.  Depending on your preference and on how your interviews worked out, you may prefer to write a separate "plan" and "description" section for each interview.  If you choose to do that, label this section as follows:  2&3: Interview Plans and Interviews, and then describe each interview separately.

If for some reason fewer than three interviews were conducted, explain what happened.

4. What I Learned About the Interviewee.  This could include such things as health, living situation, personality, etc.  You certainly do not have to try to include everything you have learned about the interviewee, but you should include highlights, especially significant things, and broad conclusions.  Be sure to distinguish between your observations and your conclusions.  For broad conclusions, give at least some of the specific observations that led to those conclusions.  (For example, if you say the interviewee seemed anxious, or seemed easy-going, what behaviors did you observe that led you to those conclusions?)

5. Summary of other experiences.  This section should summarize your soup kitchen experience, your visit(s) to facilities or agencies for the elderly, and any other relevant experiences with the elderly that were part of the course.  Use the following subsections:

5A. Soup Kitchen Experience.  Summarize your soup kitchen experience in just a few sentences.  You do not need to repeat all of the material in your soup kitchen report, but you should include enough information here so that the reader can understand conclusions you draw below about what you learned..

5B. Visit [or Visits] to Living Facilities or Agencies.  Summarize your visit or visits to living facilities or agencies in just a few sentences. You do not need to repeat all of the material in your facility visit report, but you should include enough information here so that the reader can understand conclusions you draw below about what you learned.

5C. Other Experiences. [optional section]. Summarize any other experiences you had that are relevant to this course and to your discussion below about what you learned.

6. What I Learned.   This section should include your comments, analysis, questions, concerns, and conclusions.  It should demonstrate evidence of critical thinking.  You should relate what happened in your interviews and other experiences to the concepts you are learning in readings and in class.  Include the following subsections that describe what you learned:

6A. What I Learned About Living Facilities and Agencies.  This section should summarize what you learned about agencies and/or living facilities you visited, including where your interviewee lived if relevant.

6B. [OPTIONAL SECTION] What I Learned About Society or History.  This may be appropriate for some students, but not for others.  For example, during your interview or in other experiences, you may have learned some things about our current society, or other cultures around the world, or World War II, or the Depression, etc.

6C. What I Learned About Issues. Sometime during your interviews you should have discussed with your interviewee at least two of the "Issues important to the Elderly" that we discussed in class or that were described in the various handouts.  Describe briefly what you learned about some of those issues.

6D. What I Learned About Aging.  What did you learn about principles of aging?  Relate this to concepts in the text.  In your discussion, refer to at least one concept from the text.  Cite the page number in the text that you are referring to.  (Examples include: Alzheimer's disease; cognitive changes in aging; personality changes in aging; physical changes or health problems; etc.)

6E. What I Learned About Myself.  This is an important section, and you should do some careful thinking and self-analysis while writing this section.  During your interviews you may have found out something about how you were as an interviewer, how you relate to others, your attitudes, and so on.  During the other experiences you may have realized other things about yourself.  You may have learned new things about yourself, or confirmed things you already know.  Did your experiences lead to any new insights, awareness, or “Aha's” about yourself?  Was there further confirmation of anything you already knew about yourself?  Hint: ask yourself whether you learned anything about your likes and dislikes, and also about your strengths and weaknesses.

7. Appendix: Include the planning material that you prepared in advance of the interviews.    It is NOT necessary to re-write or type this material, but please label each page so I can understand what it is.  Appendix material should be clearly labeled as an appendix, and the body of the report must stand on its own without requiring reference to the appendix.  Appendix material should be stapled to the report OR you may staple the report separately and submit the report and the appendix material together in a folder that has pockets, with the report in one pocket and the appendix material in another pocket.