Project #27590 - Major History Project

Out-of-Class:_ Assignment Number 1

This report is to be submitted to the Dropbox basket # 1 and is due on or before April 20, 2014.

This report consists of a paper of at least 3 - 4 pages, typed, double-spaced, based on a series of interviews you conduct with family, friends, and colleagues.  The essay should follow the appropriate essay format that begins with an introductory paragraph, includes several supporting paragraphs, and ends with a concluding paragraph.  You may give your personal opinion in the opening or concluding paragraph, but the thrust of your essay is surveying and reporting the views of others.

The Nature of American Democracy

Interview a minimum of eight people of various ages, occupations, political parties, ethnic groups, nationalities, and gender about their beliefs and attitudes toward the American government.  It would also be interesting to find people of different religious persuasions.  Prepare a series of questions to ask before you start interviewing.  Some suggestions:  What does the word “democracy” mean?  What is the governmental structure of a democracy?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of a democratic government?  Is the American government democratic?  Why or why not?  These questions are just suggestions.  You should certainly create some questions of your own.  

Only one person can be a member of your immediate family (spouse/companion, children, mother/father, siblings) and one a member of your extended family (grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins).  You cannot use yourself or anyone in the class.  Of course, you do not have to use any members of your family.  Try to get as much variety as possible.

General Instructions

The best way to interview people is to use a tape recorder if they give you permission.  If you cannot use a recorder, be sure you copy down what they say as accurately as possible.  It is a good idea to let them look over your notes from the interview just to make sure there has been no misunderstanding.  To protect their privacy, do not let any interviewees see the answers from other interviews.  Of course, you may also summarize and paraphrase some of what they said, but it is important to get some quoted statements (exact words) too.

Variety is very important for this component.  Be creative.  Try to interview some people you don’t know very well.  Be careful about offering your own opinion; it is very easy to intimidate someone who disagrees with you, so you will not get an honest answer.  The more honest people are, the better your essay will be.  Most people are quite helpful when they know you are doing the interview for a class.  You do not have to use their names—just initials and the relationship will be fine.

Once you have done your interviewing, it is important to determine the organization of your essay before you start to write.  Do not make the essay just a list of the interviewees and their answers.  There should be a structural principle you are following.  For example, you may want to put the people into groups: age, ethnic group, gender, and nationality (if applicable).  Another type of organization could be grouping those who have essentially the same opinion (although they could have different reasons for that opinion).

Use a combination of summary, paraphrase, and direct quotation.  Remember that all direct quotes must be in quotation marks.  Make sure the quotation makes sense if that you are using a person's exact words.  A person does not call herself/himself by the words "she/he."  In a direct quote, people use "I."  When you quote people, you must use exactly the language they used - even if their word choice is not the language you would use.  You don't have to be shy about stating it as they said it.

You may include your personal opinion in the introductory or concluding paragraph.  It is also all right to give your reaction to something someone said.  The thrust of the paper should be about the opinion of others, not yourself.

The essay should be typed in font size 12.  Double space and use normal margins (about 1 inch all around).  Use a title page with the title, your name, the name of the class, and the date.  You must staple or clips the pages together.  It is a wise idea to put your last name in front of the page number of each sheet.  Proofread very carefully.  The spell-check does not catch everything, and it never includes recognized words that are spelled correctly, but are not the right word for the situation (paid instead of said).  I suggest you get a couple of your friends to proofread also.

Subject History
Due By (Pacific Time) 4/19/2014
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