Current Paid and Unpaid Work

If you elect to do the interview (and report), you will undertake a much different set of assignment activities. Instead of doing secondary research (i.e., reading about research done by others), you will do primary research by gathering first-hand information from the woman, lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) person, and/or gender-nonconforming/transgender person you interview. In addition to arranging for and conducting the interview, you will need to prepare a written report of the interview.

Follow these steps to prepare your interview and written report:

To begin, identify a woman, LGB person, and/or gender-nonconforming/transgender person who would be able and willing to participate in an interview. They might be someone in your own family, a family friend, or someone suggested by a friend or colleague. Ideally, the person you interview should have extensive experience working for pay and/or working at home and be able to talk comfortably and in some detail about their current work situations.

Once you have identified a potential interviewee, contact that person to determine if they would be willing to participate in an interview.

Complete the Recruitment Form for Assignment 2B. The recruitment form will help you explain the interview process to your interview subject. Be sure to describe the purpose of the interview and let the subject know that this activity is part of an AU course assignment.

Review the ethical obligations you have as a researcher. First, tell the interviewee that you will guarantee their anonymity, which means that you will not write up the interview in any way that would reveal the interviewee�s name or any personal details that would allow them to be identified. Second, assure the interviewee that you will treat all information they provide as confidential, which means that you will not share this information with family members, friends, or coworkers. Finally, tell the interviewee that they have the right to refuse to answer any question asked. Should the subject then agree to an interview, you can arrange for a time and place that is convenient for them. When you begin the interview, reiterate your promises on these three points.

Complete three copies of the Consent Form for Assignment 2B. Review the content of the form with your interview subject and, if they agree to the interview, have them sign and date all copies. Leave one copy with them, mail the hard copy or email a scanned copy to your tutor (contact your tutor for a mailing address), and keep a copy for your files. Do not conduct the interview until you have a signed consent form.

Before the interview, prepare a list of questions that you intend to ask the subject about their work experience. You may want to discuss their work history, how they moved through different jobs, and how they have combined their paid and unpaid work, or you might want to focus on their current work situation by exploring what they do now and how they feel about it. You will need to decide if you want to do a structured interview, in which you prepare 15 to 20 specific questions that you ask in a particular order, or a semistructured interview, in which you prepare 5 to 10 broad questions to which the interviewee can respond at greater length and for which the order is less important.

In developing your interview questions, reflect on the assigned readings for Unit 2 and on the current situation of women, LGB people, and/or gender-nonconforming/transgender people working in Canada. You may want to ask questions that touch on the following issues:

The interviewee�s education and training

Challenges that the interviewee has had in gaining access to postsecondary education of their choice

How the interviewee found their current job and how it relates to their past employment

The interviewee�s current paid job

The interviewee�s reasons for working, and their feeling about their work

The interviewee�s working conditions (e.g., hours of work, place of work, health and safety, stress)

The interviewee�s experiences in nontraditional jobs, masculine work environments, and expectations about gender performance

The interviewee�s experiences with disability and accessibility in education and their workplace(s)

The interviewee�s experiences as a single parent, and unpaid and paid work

Their unpaid work at home; that is, the specific work they do in the home on a daily basis

How the interviewee�s household work is organized; that is, who does what and when

The interviewee�s experience of balancing paid and unpaid work, and how easy or difficult this situation is for them

The types of changes the interviewee thinks would help support people�s work at home

The interviewee�s beliefs about hiring people to do domestic labour, as well as their experiences with hiring people to do domestic labour

The interviewee�s experiences with poverty and/or government social supports

The interviewee�s views or experiences with advocacy efforts to improve work for women, LGB people, and/or gender-nonconforming/transgender people

When you meet for your interview, be sure to thank the subject for participating and for volunteering their time. You should also repeat the assurances you gave earlier concerning confidentiality, anonymity, and the right to refuse to answer questions.

If you want to record the interview in any way, you must ask for and obtain permission to do so before you start, and you must respect the interviewee�s wishes in this matter. Note that recording is done primarily for purposes of accuracy and that any recordings made will be deleted once you have completed your report.

The interviewee might ask for a copy of the interview recording, and if so, you can offer to send the recording to them once you have completed your report. You might also offer to provide them with a copy of your written account of the interview.

If the participant prefers that the interview not be recorded, you will need to take notes as they talk.

Begin by asking easy, conversational questions about the interviewee�s background, such as where they grew up, their family, how they lived, and so on. You can then ask the questions you developed for either a structured or semistructured interview. Let the subject answer each question fully, and listen carefully for any issues you want to clarify or follow up on. At some points in the interview, you may need to ask probing questions to obtain additional details, or you might ask them to provide a specific example to illustrate their point or to explain in detail how a particular event or decision occurred. You may also want to ask clarifying or follow-up questions to ensure that you understand what they have said. You can ask these questions at points where natural breaks in the conversation occur, or you can ask them at the end of the interview.

It is important to go into the interview with an open mind. Do not assume or expect your interviewee to have certain views or experiences. Listen carefully and learn as much as you can. Ask questions that will help you understand more about their life and points of view. For example, if your subject has a different view than you about a certain issue, ask them why they feel this way.

When the interview is completed, sit down as soon as possible and develop more extensive notes based on your recollection of the discussion. It is crucial that you do this immediately; otherwise, important details will be forgotten. Following the interview, be sure to send the interviewee a thank-you note. Remember to send along any promised recordings or notes from the interview as well. Sharing your recording or interview notes also gives your subject an opportunity to correct or expand on anything that they said.

Once you have completed the interview and follow-up, begin preparing your written report. Review your interview recording and/or notes while reflecting on the unit�s assigned readings. Your written report should not be a word-for-word transcript of the interview; rather it should provide a summary and analysis of the interviewee�s current working life. Try to identify the key events and/or issues that emerge from the interview. Include direct quotes from your interviewee to illustrate the issues that are important to them. Ideally, your report should provide the reader with a sense of who the person is, the types of paid and unpaid work they do, their feelings and insights about their work, and their views on any specific issues you have addressed.

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