Conduct an interview in person or through email or a chat session with someone who is not the same religion (if you have one) as you are. This means that if you are Protestant Christian or a Christian Catholic, you may not interview someone who is another denomination of Christianity.
If you are not sure if a religion is a Christian religion, ask me. You also may not interview an atheist or agnostic. You are looking for someone who is a different kind of believer than you. You should interview someone who practices one of the religions we cover in this class, though.
Written Summary of Interview
Once you have conducted your interview, you should write up a summary of your interview. It should be brief, about 500 words long, and include the most pertinent information that you learned from your subject. I do not want a conversation or a transcript of the interview. You should, however, include a concluding paragraph with your overall observations about what it must be like to be a member of this religion. The point of this exercise is to consolidate what you have learned about someone who practices a religion that is different from yours (if you have one). You will post this in the “Interviews” discussion forum to share with your classmates.
How to Conduct Your Interview
There are two basic ways you can conduct your interview. You can have a structured interview in which you ask a set series of questions in a set order and receive a set series of answers. This is very useful for getting specific information, and its good if you are a bit uncomfortable doing the interview. Or you can have an open interview in which you start out with a set series of questions, ask one or two of then and “go with the flow” of the conversation coming up with new questions on the spot, or asking questions from your list as the topics come up in the conversations. This is an less formal way of interviewing, but it allows for you to get information you might not have gone into the interview thinking you would try to get. However you conduct your interview is completely up to you. The questions below are only suggestions.
Suggested Questions
Suggested questions for soliciting background/demographical information:
There are a number of questions you can ask someone to get background info, but be sensitive if someone does not want to share certain personal information with you.
Where were you born? Describe your family?
What schools have you attended?
What is your current job? How do you feel about your work?
Do you have any children?
How old are you?
Soliciting information about religious beliefs and practices
What religion do you currently practice? Is this the religion of you parents? Were you raised in this religion?
Why did you choose a different religion than that of your parents? Did you hav a conversion experience? Could you please describe it for me?
What is the most important thing to you about your religion?
How often do you practice your religion? What specific things (rites, rituals, masses, services etc.) do you do?
Do you have any religious objects in your home? If so, could you please describe them
for me? How do you use these items at home? What do they mean to you?
What advantages or disadvantages do you think there are to belonging to your religious community?
What are the most important things you believe in?
What is your conception of the afterlife?
Are you raising your children in the same religion? How have they reacted to it?
Have you ever done missionary work or helped someone else join or convert to your religion? If so, could you please describe the experience?
How do you feel about other specific religions (Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism etc) ?
Have you ever dealt with discrimination and/or been in uncomfortable situations because of your religious beliefs?