Intercultural Communication Final Research Project Investigating a Culture
The Communications Department at CSM requires this final research project for all COM 1350 students. Use the Grading Rubric, follow the steps below, and respond to the following questions:
1. Find sources: Your primary source for this project is a person from the culture or co-culture you are exploring. However, you must use at least 3 secondary sources, including your textbook. Be sure to note any discrepancies you may find between your primary and secondary sources in your essay. You may use books, periodicals, class lectures, maps, the Web, library databases, and other credible sources.
2. Interview your primary source: To gain information about the culture you are investigating, interview your primary source. Explain how you know your interviewee and what their culture is. Use the questions below to guide you. If the person you are interviewing does not know the answer, you must research to find the answer. Remember that the person you interview may not understand the terminology we are using in class, so you must explain it. Also, consider that your interviewee is giving his/her perception of the culture and this perception may not reflect the entire culture.
3. Include these topics. The following topics should be covered in your project in the order listed.
I. Background of Culture. (Use primary and secondary sources for this information. (1-2 paragraphs)
How you know your interviewee and what is their culture?
Talk briefly about the history of the culture.
What major historical events shaped the present? (Go beyond describing the events. Explain how those events influenced the present)
What major events shaped the character and perceptions of the people?
What is the worldview orientation of the culture?
II. Cultural Taxonomy.
What are the value patterns of this culture? Explore the culture values of individualism-collectivism, small-large power distance, weak-strong uncertainty avoidance, and masculine-feminine sex roles. Use information from the Hofstede Website* and be sure to include examples from your interviewee for each.
Consider the culture’s additional value orientation patterns including meaning, destiny and time.
*If necessary paste into your browser: https://www.hofstede-insights.com/product/compare-countries/
III. Cultural Identity.
What is your interviewee’s cultural identity salience?
What are his/her social, personal and ethnic identities?
Does your interviewee face discrimination based on his/her identity?
IV. Intercultural Interaction.
How do members of this culture communicate verbally? What are the communication norms? What rules about language are used? Is there language that is specific to the culture? How does the language reflect the culture? Discuss high context vs. low context, direct vs. indirect, self-enhancement vs. self-humbling style, talk vs. silence, and self-disclosure.
What are the rules for nonverbal communication? Discuss how the various channels of nonverbal communication are used. Is it a high-, moderate- or low-context culture?
V. Culture Shock.
Describe the stages of culture shock your interviewee went through when moving to a new culture. If your interviewee did not move from one country to another, consider movement to a co-culture or new experience. Use specific quotes and examples from your interviewee.
VI. Group Membership.
What is the family structure and what roles are played within the family?
What rules govern friendships and romantic relationships?
How does the culture regard strangers and acquaintances?
What social roles exist in this culture?
How and to what degree is this group affected by ethnocentrism or racism? Describe any injustices your interviewee or their cultural group has faced.
What stereotypes, positive or negative, are used to describe this culture?
How is this culture portrayed in the media?
Discuss how prejudice, discrimination and racism affect this particular group.
VII. Improving Intercultural Communication.
Overall, what problems do members of this group and/or your interviewee face within the dominant culture of the United States?
How can communication with the culture be improved?
To conclude your essay, reflect on your experience as you conducted your interview.
Discuss how the elements of the model of intercultural cultural communication from Chapter 2 were evident in your interaction. Be sure to discuss how you adapted to any cultural barriers in your answer.
How did you adapt your communication based on relational, psychological and physical contexts of the interaction?
On what step of the staircase model would you place yourself during the interaction and why?
4. Essay format. Your essay must be 6 -7 pages long, in 12-point font, double-spaced and uploaded into myLearning. Terminology that you use from class should be underlined or boldfaced. Throughout you must document your sources following MLA or APA style. An excellent source for information about using MLA/APA style can be found at:
5. Grading. You will be graded on your ability to apply the terminology and concepts from the semester and illustrate them through examples from your interviewee. You should apply at least 50 terms/concepts. In addition, you should provide stories and specific examples that you receive from your interviewee to support your points. Finally, be sure to use proper grammar spelling and MLA/APA formatting. See the grading rubric posted in myLearning for more details.