Culture Analysis and Comparison
Each report will focus on a semester-long research project focused on some aspect of intercultural communication. You may write an in depth description/analysis of another culture, compare two cultures, or discuss an aspect of intercultural communication (e.g., differences in non-verbal communication, misunderstandings between cultures). Remember that your paper should not simply compile information but should analyze cultural influences and connections. (Example: A report on wedding customs in another culture would not simply list or describe them. The customs would be explained within the context of culture, beliefs, and values. See also the required elements listed below.) The report will run at least 15 pages (7500 words), excluding title pages and bibliography. The report will follow this general format.1. Introduction (1 2 pages) What interests you about this topic? What research questions did you want to answer when you began exploring it? What possible answers did you predict? What procedure did you employ to learn more? Did you perform any first-hand research (interviews, questionnaires, experiments)? How did you go about locating secondary sources? 2. Findings (4 5 pages) What did you learn from your primary and secondary research? What new ideas do you want to share with your audience? 3. Discussion ( 5 6 pages) Were you surprised by any of your findings? Were your predictions confirmed, refuted, or modified? Which of your research methods proved most (and least) beneficial? 4. Conclusion (1 2 pages) What practical applications result from your research? How could these ideas be used in professional or personal communication? Based on what you have learned, what should researchers study next about this topic? Your report must also include the following elements. 1. Insight into your own cultural rules and biases, including awareness of how your experiences have shaped them. Example: A student chooses to compare educational systems between China and the U.S. The paper would include demonstrated awareness of the reasons that Chinese expectation of high power distance in the classroom would be unlike the informality that feels right in our culture. The author would explain his/her own perspective, the reasons he/she has developed it, and how it influences his/her approach to the research data. 2. Understanding of the relationship between the elements of other cultures and their relationships with the history and values of those cultures. Example: The paper would probe the historical and value-driven reasons for observing high power distance in the Chinese classroom. 3. Ability to adopt new perspectives and to empathize with the views of other cultures without necessarily agreeing with them. Example: The author would be able to see ways in which the Chinese approach to education might be effective, especially within its cultural context. 4. Ability to articulate differences in communication (non-verbal as well as verbal) that influence the cultural elements you discuss in your paper. Example: The author would connect aspects of Chinese education with elements of communication (such as a preference for high context communication and elevated levels of formality). 5. Demonstration of curiosity about and respect for cultural differences. Example: In addition to citing objective/statistical evidence for the success or shortcomings of the Chinese educational system, the author would exhibit a willingness to learn more and an appreciation for differences.