COM 102 MVCC Fostering Empathy in Multicultural Societies Essay

Your Essential Task

Your assignment here is to conduct some field research in the form of phone interviews, group conversations, and site visits or participant observation (where safe and practical). Your field research focus for this piece will require that you identify some stakeholders on the issue. A stakeholder is a person who has a vested interest on the matter—someone directly affected by the issue or its proposed remedies, an organization or community leader who is working to effect change on the issue or deal with its repercussions, or a person who has the power to influence outcomes. You need to find at least three such primary sources and interview these people in order to learn more about their various perspectives and to inform your own. “Ask around” and see what you can learn. You might also consider talking to other experts on the matter—academics, for example, who study the issue closely.

By attending to the stories of others, and those we share with them, I can communicate values we share—a story of us.
— Marshall GanzWith your research field experience, write a compelling and critically reflective narrative of your investigation. Help your reader bear witness to the experience. This is the power of storytelling. Recreate the experience for the readers so they can feel like they were there with you—taking this journey alongside you and seeing, experiencing, and gaining the insights you gained.

While narrative or storytelling is the organizing strategy in this piece, be sure to include critical information along the way, such as the expectations you had going in for what you might learn and what you might contribute. What kinds of questions were in your mind as you entered these conversations or possibly a fieldsite? What did you observe and what were your reactions to these observations? Think and write more deeply too as you scrutinize your own thinking. Consider very honestly why you had the reactions you did. Or, perhaps, why you had little reaction. What intrigued you, surprised you, or disturbed you? The point here is to write deeply about how this experience affected you.

Also, of course, you are writing to represent the perspectives of those directly affected by the social issue you’ve been studying, and of the people/organizations you interviewed or someway partnered with who are immersed in working on this issue. You need to balance these twin tales (yours and the insiders’ you studied)—interweave them.

Remember ?
Early in the course I introduced you to a model of persuasive, public communication developed by Marshall Ganz called “Public Narrative.” Your first Major Assignment was based loosely on this idea of “The Story of Self.” Then, we had what I would call “informing the story” with Major Assignment 2. And now this Major Assignment 3 will, in some ways, become a “Story of Us” as you venture out into your/our community for further investigation. Keep Ganz’s model in mind. It will be useful a bit later on.

As a part of this writing, raise the level of intellectual rigor by incorporating meaningful and adequately developed connections to at least two outside sources; be sure that they are credible sources and relevant to the issues at hand. It’s expected that you make use of at least three interview sources and one other source (perhaps from your annotated bibliography). Be sure to document these sources properly using MLA.

How will this piece be assessed?

First of all remember that this assignment will remain a work in progress until the end of the semester, when you’ll call it “done” (at least for the moment) and include it as a part of your final portfolio; however, as an early draft that will be reviewed by members of the class and possibly others, completing it on time is essential to get timely feedback and to continue your growth as writer in this course.


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