Cultural Comparison Component

Inquiry Project Writing Guidelines-PLEASE READ.html

Wendy Bianchini Morrison

**Please refer to this resource before turning in all papers in this course

Please follow APA formatting as much as possible for your INQUIRY PROJECT, in terms of how to reference. The structure of your drafts and the final paper will not necessarily follow strict APA guidelines (for example, you will not do an abstract), but it will be close, and the referencing does need to be APA style. I give you examples of APA referencing below.

See the Purdue On-Line Writing Laboratory (OWL) at for complete APA guidelines.

Please take advantage of the resources offered by the Writing Center on campus to get more support with your writing. Go to the following link for more information:


Cultural Comparison Component

Part of the requirement for this assignment is to perform a comparison of your topic in at least two cultures. Your main inquiry is most likely taking place in the culture where you are the most familiar—for most students this will be the United States, but not necessarily. Then you need to find an example of what your topic looks like in another culture.

Culture Defined

Culture is a complex term that helps form one’s worldview or ways of knowing. Culture typically consists of the shared values, norms, traditions, customs, arts, history, folklore, language & institutions of a group of people. It creates the lens in which we see the world. There are also subcultures that exist within larger cultures that contribute to a person’s worldview. There are subcultures that can be influenced by socioeconomic status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, regional differences, etc.

Because the topics for this assignment are so diverse, the cultural comparisons will vary as well. For many students, they will find an example of their topic is another country for their cultural comparison. This is great. But if that is not possible or relevant to your topic, there are other components of culture that you could research as well. You could compare groups of people from different socioeconomic groups (poverty vs. the middle class), geographical differences within the same country (urban vs. rural), different religions, different sexual orientations (heterosexual vs. homosexual), etc.

While I do want students to look at their topics from a wider, global perspective, and I would like students to see if they can find examples of their topic in other countries, understand that the cultural comparison is not limited to that.

Research and Sources

In terms of where to find sources for your cultural comparison, I would recommend starting by doing academic research in the library. Be sure to use the reference librarians for assistance if you are struggling. But depending on your topic, you may need to use other sources for your research as well that may not be academic sources. That is OK for this section. You need a minimum of two peer-reviewed academic journal articles for this project as a whole, but you are allowed (and encouraged) to use other sources for your inquiry as well. The Internet is probably going to be your best source of information for your cultural comparison, besides the reference librarians. If there is anyway to talk to someone or gain first hand information about your cultural comparison (observations, interviews, etc.), that is also highly encouraged, but not required. Remember, you will need visuals for your final presentation of your inquiry (the Pecha Kucha).

Interview & Observation Components

You are required to interview a PROFESSIONAL or EXPERT on your topic. This could be someone who conducts research on your topic, or works in some sort of professional capacity around your topic (a doctor, teacher, nurse, professional engineer, etc.) Think about finding an expert on campus–look at department websites across campus to see the research topics of faculty that might be related to your topic. You can also interview someone you know who works in a professional capacity. Interviews should be FACE TO FACE. You may do a Skype or phone interview if you’ve cleared that with your instructor. Email interviews are not accepted. Please talk to your instructor for interview ideas. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO TRY TO SCHEDULE YOUR EXPERT INTERVIEW. You should set up something NOW for mid to late October, or very early in November. The expert interview needs to be included in your FINAL PAPER, but is not required for the DRAFT. Your academic research on your topic should help you formulate your interview questions. From what you discovered about your topic, what questions do you want to ask this expert?

In addition to your expert interview, you may also interview people who have had personal experience with your topic. You may also complete some observation related to your topic.

If you are conducting any personal interviews for your topic (in addition to the required professional interview), and you want to keep your personal interviewee’s identity confidential, then just give them a fake name and use that for your paper, and for the citation. For example, in the paper I would put:

According to my interview with Jane Smith, which is not her real name, she stated, “It is really challenging to have a special needs child” (Smith, 2016).

And then in your reference section you would put:

Smith, J., (2016, Nov. 6). Personal Communication, Billings, MT.


Please follow these instructions for writing up the information you gathered from your interviews:

In your future careers, as well as in college, when you write about another person, whether it is a student, a patient or client, an interview subject, or someone who you’ve observed, it is your professional and ethical responsibility to be very thoughtful about the language you use in your descriptions. Whenever you describe information given to you in an interview or observation, you must make it clear where you got ALL of your information (either it was told to you by the interviewee or you observed the behavior in your observation) and use neutral*, non-judgmental language. For example, you must say for each sentence whether the information was reported to you or it was observed. Don’t just state what you THINK, or your assumptions. It MUST be backed up with what was OBSERVED or STATED. Be as specific in your observations as possible.

For writing up your interviews, you can use the person’s name if they are your “expert.” If you did some personal interviews, please keep those people’s identities’ private. You can make up a name or use initials when referring to them in your paper.

In academic papers you use a person’s last name when you are referring to them throughout your paper. So you introduce them initially by their full name: Dr. Sarah Jones. But then throughout the paper, you would just say, Jones stated, reported….. This is the same for when you are referring to someone’s research–use their last name. “According to Morrison….”

For example:

“I interviewed James Knight. He reported that he is a licensed teacher and has been teaching in Belgrade, Montana since 2002. Knight stated that he has worked with children with disabilities and these are some of the experiences he described….”

“During my observation of the preschool, one child who appeared to be about 3 or 4 years old, appeared to have a hard time concentrating during circle time as evidenced by her speaking throughout the activity and the constant fidgeting of her hands and feet…”

***You have to back up ANY assumptions you make in your observations (ie: that the student had a hard time concentrating) with behavioral evidence that you observed.


If you apply developmental theory to any of your observations, you MUST use tentative language. For example: “According the Brofenbrenner’s theory, the child may be suffering due to the lack of the connection between her microsystem and exosystem. She appears to be struggling in her situation based on the following statements…..”

You are not stating FACT, but rather a hypothesis.

Do NOT include any opinions or judgments in academic papers UNLESS YOU MAKE IT VERY CLEAR THAT YOU ARE STATING YOUR OPINION or CONCLUSIONS BASED ON YOUR INQUIRY. DO NOT EVER STATE YOUR OPINION AS FACT when writing about other people.

Think about if the person you are writing about were to read what you have written about them—would they feel judged, would they feel as though you are seeing them as inferior, deficit, lazy, pathological, etc.? Also ask yourself about each sentence: According to who? Is it clear to the reader where I got my information? If it is unclear, then you need to clarify where the information came from (again, was it reported to you by your interviewee? Behavioral observations? Results of research? The tentative application of a theory?)

REMEMBER: You are trying to describe the person in a respectful way, and while it is virtually impossible to view a person different from you without any of your own biases or judgments, a major goal of being a helper is for you to increase your awareness of your biases, which is the lens in which you view the world, so that you can set them aside and just OBSERVE the client, and perhaps use a theory to help you better understand them, in order to produce an informative description of them.

*As neutral as possible.

II. D2L Submission Information

For all writing assignments for this course, you need to create your document in either WORD, PDF, or HTML—that means when you save your response the document title should be followed by either .doc, .docx, .pdf, or .html (if you do not use one of these formats, there is a chance that your response cannot be read and you won’t get a grade for it. Go to a campus computer lab for help if you don’t know how to follow these instructions. PAGES is not an approved format). You will then save it & upload it into the DROPBOX in D2L by the deadline.

Once you’ve submitted your paper into the D2L dropbox, you will get an email confirming your submission was successful. SAVE THIS EMAIL. If you ever have any issues, you will need to provide this email confirmation to prove that you did actually submit your paper successfully. If you don’t get the email, you can’t assume your submission was successful.

III. Paper Structure and Mechanics

1. Cover sheet:


a. Your name and date

b. Section number

c. Instructor’s name (spelled correctly)

d. Paper title

OR you can follow APA structure for cover sheets.

***Please do not include an abstract for your paper.

2. Paper format:

a. Typed, double -spaced

b. 12-point font type maximum, no less than 10-point


d. Follow the page number guidelines in the assignment

e. Paper will include ONLY the information asked for in the report description—leave out all extraneous information. DO NOT add “fluff” to your paper just to meet the minimum page requirement. A complete yet short paper is better than a longer paper that is full of “fluff,” or unnecessary information.

f. Cite references according to paper requirements (see instructions below for citing).

g. Submit papers by the D2L deadline (papers MUST be turned into the D2L dropbox by the deadline. There is no way for you to submit papers past the deadline). PAPERS EMAILED TO THE INSTRUCTOR WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

II. REFERENCING (also known as CITING your references)

If you state any piece of info. in your paper that you got from somewhere else, YOU MUST CITE THE SOURCE. If you don’t, then you are PLAGIARIZING and it can lead to failing grades and even getting asked to leave the university. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Referencing can either be of a book, journal article, lecture, interview, website, or other piece of information. WITH SO MUCH INFORMATION OUT THERE TODAY, YOU NEED TO START RECOGNIZING WHAT ARE APPROPRIATE ACADEMIC SOURCES AND WHAT ARE NOT. Just because you found something on the web DOES NOT mean it is necessarily a legitimate source. Talk to your instructor if you have any questions about sources. You must CITE your source after you refer to any information that is not your own in your paper.

Examples for citation in the body of your text:

THERE ARE 2 WAYS YOU CITE INFORMATION (Direct quotes vs. paraphrasing) AND ALL CITATIONS MUST BE CITED IN 2 DIFFERENT PLACES (shortened in the body of your paper and then the full citation at the end of your paper in the REFERENCE section.)

This is APA format for referencing.


Paraphrasing a lecture or something out of another piece of information:

Example A: Statistics show that college students suffer episodic stress 30% of the time (Morrison, lecture, 2017).

Example B: Many factors affect the rate of maturation (Belsky, 2016).

(Do not include a page number in this type of referencing)

Example C: For direct, word for word quotes:

According to Berger, “Genetic factors and nutrition affect not only size but rate of maturation as well” (Berger, 2008, p. 304).

(You must include an exact page number, or range of page numbers for direct quotes)

Example D: When you cite something that is inside another text, you would say:

Jones describes the topic of conformity in his article “Take As Directed” (as cited in Bee & Boyd, 2015).

Remember to ONLY include the page number after direct quotes:

Kim states, “Boredom is a common condition of schoolteachers…” (as cited in Bee & Boyd, 2015, p. A44).


After you cite a source of information in your paper (and you are required to use sources and cite them), you MUST have a reference page to the back of your paper.



Belsky, J. (2016), Experiencing the lifespan (4th ed.).

NY: Worth Publishing.

Morrison, W. B. (2017, October 16). HDFS 101-03 Class Lecture.

**Remember that the reference page should be double spaced, just like your paper, and you reverse indent your reference (meaning the second and subsequent lines of the reference needs to be indented using the TAB KEY. This is also called a hanging indent.)


The APA manual states two things:

1. Direct readers as closely as possible to the info. being cited–whenever possible, reference specific documents rather than home or menu pages.

2. Provide addresses that work.

At a minimum, a reference of an internet source should provide a document title or description, a date (either of publication or of when you retrieved the info.–the difference should be made clear), and an address (the URL). Whenever possible, identify the authors as well.

Here’s an example from the manual:

Greater New Milford Area Healthy Community, Task Force on Teen Issues.

(n.d.) Who has time for a family meal? You

do! Retrieved February 5, 2015, from

**In the body of your paper I would put (, n.d.) or something like that. (n.d. stands for “no date”)

Trinity University, Sociology of Death and Dying, retrieved May 6,

2017, from

4. Citing Interviews and Personal Communications

For your interviews of people for your Inquiry Project, here is how you cite them. It would be like a lecture, except it would be called a ‘personal communication.’ in the text (after you quote the person in your paper) you would put: (Sedgwick, personal communication, 2017). Then in the reference section of your paper at the end you would put:

Sedgwick, S., (2017, March 12). Personal Communication, Billings, MT.

****Please note that according the APA publication guidelines, interviews & other forms of personal communication are not cited. However, for this paper I DO want you to cite all personal communication, so that you make it clear where the information comes from that you are including in your paper.

5. Citing a Class Handout

Here’s an example:

Woodworth, M. (2017). Psychopaths [Class handout]. Department of Psychology, University of British

Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, Canada.

III. Paper mechanics:


a. Use spell check or dictionary

b. Use grammar check along with spell check

c. Use clear, concise vocabulary and sentence structure

d. Go to the Writing Center, have someone proofread your paper, or at least read it out loud to make sure it makes sense.


a. Misuse fancy words that you have looked up in thesaurus.

b. Use contractions (can’t, don’t, I’d, they’re, etc.).

c. Use slang or casual lingo that is OK when talking, but not OK in an academic paper.

d. Use a thesaurus to try to find fancier words for what you are trying to say.

e. MAKE GRAND ASSUMPTIONS IN YOUR PAPER (ie: “The child’s development was normal.” Or “Every kid likes baseball,” “They were a normal family,” etc.).


Do not use the second person, ie: “you” or “your,” in academic papers, such as: “You know how children usually like to eat sugar…..”.

Using the first person, “I,” is acceptable for this project if you are describing something directly related to you and your experience. Otherwise, the paper should be written in the 3rd person tense.

Common Writing Errors to Avoid:

1. Run-on sentences: “I’m having a really good day because it’s beautiful outside and I’m in a good mood it’s because it’s almost Christmas and I really like Christmas I hope I get what I want and I’m going to get to go see my parents.”

2. Incomplete sentences: “Because it’s a nice day.”

3. Verbs that do not agree with subjects: “Carol and Wendy has a nice office.”

4. Sentences ending in prepositions: “This class is hard to get anything out of?”

5. Grammar and punctuation–Know when to use commas, colons, and semi-colons!!!

6. Verb tense inconsistency. “She is going to the store and then goes to the bank.”

Know the differences between:

* “our, ” “are,” and “hour”

* “affect” and “effect”

* “then” and “than”

* “adolescents” and “adolescence”

* “lead” and “led”

* “where” and “were” and “wear”

* “there,” “their,” and “they’re”

* “it’s” and “its”

* “your” and “you’re”

* “witch” and “which”

***This information is not meant to insult anyone, as many of you I’m sure are excellent writers. But many students struggle with writing, and learning how to write an appropriate academic papers if very important for college success.

Please get additional support for your writing if this is not an area in which you feel strong.

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