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Assignment 4: Interviews

After researching how people act and their behaviours in certain environments, we were asked, in this assignment, to interview people we did not know through the theme of one main question. The question I chose was:

What do people treasure the most and why?

Before carrying out the interviews I decided to brainstorm different areas the topic covers, different things I wanted to find out, and the types of questions I could ask.

I held the interviews in my bedroom with lamp lighting and incense burning because I wanted to create a nice chilled-out atmosphere where people would feel comfortable and relaxed. To begin the interview I informed the person of the main question to give them an idea of what the interview was all about. At first they seemed a little unsettled and indecisive, perhaps they have never thought about it. However, I told them I would ask different questions to get closer to what they treasured most, such as ‘what is the best present you have ever received? Why?’, ‘what is your favourite pastime? Why?’, ‘which person had a huge positive impact in your life? Why?’ I was surprised by the amount of contribution and information people gave me as they ended up giving me very personal and sentimental stories – there was one story which brought a tear to my eye!

Overall, I found that what people treasure is, in fact, other people – relatives, friends and family. One girl said she would not be who she was because of her best friend, everything she does reminds her of her friend. So does this mean whoever you get close to you become similar to them? You get inspired by their actions? Begin to think the same way? Possibly, Pierre Bordieu suggested that over time you begin to dress similar to the people you spend a lot of time with. The majority of the people said they feel inspired and determined to do better by the people they love most, thus, friends and family are very influential in things you, for instance, my dad is a very hard worker and smart which makes me want to do well at everything I do.

A girl told me she treasures some sacred rosary beads handed down from her great grand-father. Firstly, I felt very touched that she would share this with me, but it also conveys how an item can be transformed into such a powerful and intimate thing. It is as if the beads have healing properties that can curb loneliness, this stresses the importance of items which are given from close relatives, as if they have left behind their presence in an item.

I discussed my findings further with others. We all had similar results, people were of most importance. I read part of an article: Jussim, L., Wayne Osgood, D., (1989) ‘Influence and Similarity Among Friends: An Integrative Model Applied to Incarcerated Adolescents’ , Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 52, No. 2 pp. 98-112, which discussed how we are tied to each other – how other people act and express feelings can become a strong influence. These findings suggest just how important people are in shaping the way we act and behave in everyday life, perhaps we do not know or even want to believe we are so easily influenced but in reality you are influenced.

Overall, I believe my interviewing technique was good because all my questions were not yes and no answers, people expanded frequently on what they were saying. I got a lot of useful information out of people. I actually think people contributed more because of the atmosphere and the manner I spoke to them, as if I were just having a casual chat with them which in return made them feel more comfortable. All the interviews were recorded (I informed them beforehand) which did not make a difference in the way they spoke, I think it was because of how relaxed the conversation flowed. From my findings, I believe people treasure family, friends and relatives the most, as they shape the person who they have become, strive them for a better education, and are there for support when times get hard. Objects can only do so much in the end.

 

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