Interview Paper reflection

ssaludades's picture

 

Usually, after reviewing class readings, I start an essay with the expectation of knowing (at least the guidelines of) what to write about. With readings, the argument is logically outlined and easy to follow. However, due to the open structure of my interview questions, I had to entrust my subjects, the international students, to guide me through their story, convoluted stories that involved different contradictory factors which made it harder to follow and produce a thesis.  Furthermore, never having been an international student, I didn’t know what to aspect from them - what they want me to take away from their experiences, their needs and their story. I took this as a blessing because, having read Tuck, I did not want to taint my data with my assumptions and bias. I wanted my data to be raw and genuine.

In any case, working with the international students for this paper reminded me of our reading of Tuck in which I was researching not only to build a greater understanding but utilize it towards change. The paper wasn’t just about collecting what they were saying but trying to piece together what to do with this understanding, to create a message that would give these encounters meaning. Sometimes, I take for granted conversations and encounters with different people but having to develop a deeper meaning for this encounter helped me to remember the potential in interaction and in turn, active learning beyond the self.

Comments

Michaela's picture

I also felt that this paper

I also felt that this paper was difficult--approaching writing from an entirely new perspective than the one that I use when I write based on class texts. This was a much more individual experience, because I needed to come up with all the steps on my own--I made the questions, gathered interview data, and tried to piece it together, as you said, without the guidance of a full class discussion about what it was I would be writing about.

I found it especially difficult because of what I had to leave behind of my interview data to keep my paper concise and to the point--the students that I interviewed are so much more than what I portrayed them as in my essay for the sake of brevity. I wished that I could have used more anecdotes that they had shared, more of what I saw as their personal feelings about their situations, etc. But because the information that I needed to support my claim (that students with greater amounts of financial aid see the school as less socioeconomically diverse than those with less aid) was mainly biographical, and only truly about their opinions on one issue that I had asked about, I was unable to relate, in this essay, all the things that I gleaned from talking to them.

Overall, I really enjoyed the interview process, and could see how doing this kind of research for larger projects could be interesting, but I also see the incredible difficulty in creating a comprehensive thesis that encompasses a great deal of data.

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