In interviewing the adolescent, be sure to tell them that the interview is for a course on adolescent development. Assure them that they have the right not to answer questions and may stop the interview at any time. Let them know that no one will see the answers and that their names will not be used. The questions are designed to help you explore key areas of the teen’s development. Feel free to add questions to the interview as appropriate, but be sure to cover all of the issues. Many of the questions are meant to have more than one or two sentence answers. You will need to use interviewing skills to probe for richer responses: e.g. Can you tell me more about that? I don’t understand. Can you give me an example? How does that make you feel? How important is that to you? Using “uh-huh” and head nodding may also lead to more responding.
Begin your paper with a brief description of your adolescent. Then identify the adolescent’s identity status. Include different aspects of development (i.e., intimacy/dating relationships, family relationships, peer groups, sexuality, future/career goals, work patterns, school achievement and focus, etc.) and discuss how they contribute to their identity. If different in different areas of his/her life, describe this. Consider ethnicity, social class, gender, and sexuality. Connect the findings of your interview to the course content and developmental theory. DO NOT SIMPLY SUMMARIZE the interview. You do not need to report all your findings. Instead, create a narrative that highlights your relevant developmental findings. Show analysis of your interviewee in a developmental context throughout the paper when appropriate. Are they on track? Are they demonstrating typical or atypical development in certain areas? Greater depth of analysis will improve your grade. Do not simply provide a journal-like paper describing what the adolescent said. You must take the interview content and explore how it connects to development in an informed manner.
- How old are you?
- What grade are you in?
- How old are your parents?
- What type of work do your parents do?
- How many brothers and sisters do you have?
- Can you recall anything that happened in your childhood that may not have happened to your friends? What? How do you feel about it?
- Do you think that this still affects you? How?
- Is there anything else from your childhood that has had an influence on you?
- What changes have you noticed in your height and weight over the past few years? How did you feel when these changes occurred?
- Is there any one thing that you would like to change most about your body right now?
- What? Why?
- Compared to your friends, would you say that you have grown about as fast as they have? Faster? Not as fast?
- Are there any advantages/disadvantages to growing up faster or slower than your friends?
- How would you describe yourself to someone who did not know you?
- What kind of person would you like to be?
- Do you participate in any athletics, clubs, or other activities? Tell me a little about them.
- Do you like the activities that you are in? Do you wish you were involved more? less?
- Is there a group of other girls/guys that you hang around with? How often do you see them? How long have you known them? What do you do together?
- What do you think is important in a friendship?
- Do you have any best friends? How would you describe them?
- Do you have a steady boy/girlfriend? How often do you date?
- How important do you think it is for parents to be strict with their teenager? Why?
- Do you think your parents are strict with you?
- How much say do you have in making rules and decisions in your home? Are you satisfied with this?
- Do your parents pressure you about your schoolwork? How do you feel about this?
- How much have your parents influenced your decisions about your future (college, career)? How do you feel about this?
- How is school going for you right now?
- What makes a good teacher? Can you describe one of your best teachers?
- If you could change your school, what would you do to change it?
- What would you like to do with your life? What do you reasonably see yourself doing in five years?
- Is there anything else that you would like to tell me about yourself?