Writing Exercise: Interview Summary/Synthesis

This assignment is designed to help inform a topic that interests you, and the information you gather here will be used in your Proposal Letter assignment.


For this assignment, you should be interviewing a person who has expertise about a topic you are interested in. Please note that you should be conducting an actual interview; you should not be summarizing an interview conducted by someone else.

Part #1: Choose a Research Topic and an Interviewee

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You do not need to submit this portion in writing, but you do need to accomplish this in preparation for your research assignment. 

In preparation for your research proposal letter in the next topic, you will need to choose a topic for your proposal. This research proposal letter will be directed to an audience who can create change (Congressperson, business administrator, or other similar audience). In the proposal, you need to suggest a change or a solution to a current problem. Examples of strong proposal topics would be things like funding ideas for an animal shelter, starting a recycling program in a community, suggesting a better plan for public transport, or another idea that interests you. You will be proposing solutions for these issues. Choose a topic that you are passionate about and for which you will be able to develop at least one solution. While this information should be enough for you to choose a topic, please consult the assignment sheet within Topic 7 if you have more questions about this assignment. 

Once you choose a topic, it’s time to choose a credible expert to interview on that subject. In other words, you should avoid choosing an interviewee who is a close friend or family member unless that person truly is an expert in the field. This credible expert should have 10+ years of experience in his or her discipline. Choose an interviewee who not only could offer some specific details about the problem but one who may also be able to offer suggestions of a plausible solution. Use the information contained in the lesson presentation to secure and conduct a successful interview.

Part #2: Summarize and Synthesize Your Interview

When you summarize and synthesize, you take the smaller pieces (the sections of the interview) and develop them into one cohesive piece. Doing this exercise will help you prepare for the research proposal letter, where you will need to incorporate at least a few ideas from the interview.

To successfully summarize and synthesize, you might find it helpful to follow this sequence for your essay:

1) Provide Background Information:
In your introductory paragraph, introduce your audience to your interviewee. What is his/her name? What is his/her experience? if relevant, where is the interviewee employed?

2) Summarize the Interview:
While you want to avoid the all-too-predictable question and answer format, you should provide information about what you learned from the interview. Take a look at your original questions, group them into categories, and use those categories to build your body paragraph(s). Also, you may note the interviewee’s reactions in your summary as well. Was the interviewee nervous about answering a question? Did he/she seem knowledgeable in the subject matter? Make this summary work for you by including whatever details and responses you feel are important and will help you when you write the research proposal.

3) Synthesize the Interview:
In the conclusion, synthesize the interview. To synthesize just means that you should consider all of the information you gathered from this interview and draw conclusions. What did you learn from the interview? How did the interviewee and/or the interview help you gain a deeper understanding of your topic? Other findings?

No source citations are required for this assignment, but please review the rubric to get a better idea of how you will be assessed.


The guidelines for this assignment are as follows:

Length: This assignment should be a minimum of 350 words.

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First Name Last Name

Composition II

Interview Summary

10 February 2015

Farmington Pet Adoption Center

A passionate animal lover, Sandy King, is currently the Vice President on the Board of Directors, as well as the Head Adoption Counselor for the Farmington Pet Adoption Center (FPAC) going on 11[A1]  years now. Before she lived in Farmington, Ms. King resided in the suburbs of Chicago. She decided to move back home to retire and spend more time with her grandchildren. Shortly after moving, Ms. King was appalled by the way animals were being treated in her new hometown;[A2]  thus prompting her to reach out as a volunteer at the FPAC.  Ms. King typically spends around 45 hours per week volunteering at the shelter.  During our interview, Ms. King explained that FPAC’s funding is mostly from donations, their animals are strays and pound recues, and the adopted animals do not leave the shelter without first being neutered.

The FPAC is a non-profit, no-kill shelter overseen by the Department of Agriculture used to provide a temporary home for the many homeless dogs and cats.  Since[A3]  it is a non-profit shelter, the only stable form of income received[A4]  is from the FPAC Resale Shop along with occasional donations.  These funds go toward the cost of food and care to maintain healthy adoptable pets.

Although most dogs and cats brought into FPAC are strays found by local residents, some are rescued from the pound.  An estimated 35 to 40 dogs and cats are brought in on a monthly base.  Due to a maximum capacity of 40 dogs and 100 cats, FPAC is constantly full leaving the heartache of denying others.  This is where the importance of pushing adoption comes to play.[A5] 

In order to adopt, FPAC requires all dogs and cats be spayed or neutered before they can leave the shelter.  This is to minimize reproduction and the potential of future homeless animals.  It costs anywhere from 35 to 95 dollars to adopt a pet from the FPAC which[A6]  is a fraction of the expenses the consumer would incur if purchasing a dog or cat from another provider.  Even though the adoption fee tends to affect the rate at which they are rehomed, FPAC still manages to find loving homes for about 20 to 25 dogs and cats per month.

Whether living in a big suburban city or a small rural town, there are many dogs and cats in need of loving homes.  Reaching out to local shelters in search of a new family member would not only give these animals a home, but also bring joy to those adopting.  Despite the limitations of the facility, Ms. King and her team will continue to show their love and care to many mistreated dogs and cats in rural Farmington.[A7] 

Works Cited

King, Sandy. Personal interview. 10 February 2015.


 [A1]A source with 10+ professional years’ experience in his or her discipline works well for this essay.

 [A2]Please review the following source for semicolon and colon uses: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/punct/col-semi.html. Determine whether a semicolon, colon, comma, or no punctuation is best suited here by studying punctuation rules. View this link for comma guidelines: http://www.towson.edu/ows/modulecomma.htm

 [A3]Two words that are commonly, but mistakenly used for “because” are “as” and “since,” but there are others such as “being.” If you can replace “as” or another similar substitution with “because” and keep the same meaning, please do so. Additionally, please note that “since” should be used only when you reference a time in the past: “since yesterday,” “since they began construction,” etc. Therefore, please change “since” to “because” where applicable.

IMPORTANT: If you have a comma before any of these words that should be “because,” please omit the comma. A comma should never precede a “because” clause.

 [A4]Strive to use the active voice over the passive voice. First try to identify the verb. Does the subject who/that is acting out the verb come before the verb? If not, you may need to change to the active voice. For instance, “The fish was caught by the seagull” should be in active voice: “The seagull caught the fish.”

The passive voice also often fails to reference the subject, which leads to broad claims, and, remember, your claims should be as specific as possible. See below:

Passive: “The law should be passed.”

Active: “The US government should pass the law.”

Please study http://www.towson.edu/ows/activepass.htm and https://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/passive-voice/.

 [A5]Be sure to use wording that indicates the information that comes from your interviewee.

 [A6]Please use a comma before (and after if it is in the middle of a sentence) a nonessential clause, also called a nonrestrictive clause, because these clauses tell you something about a preceding subject, but they do not limit or restrict the meaning of that subject. Typically, you can remove these clauses without disrupting the sentence. Keep in mind that the word “that” is often used to begin an essential clause while “which” often precedes a nonessential clause. Please review this source and check your essay for other instances: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/02/ and http://www.kentlaw.edu/academics/lrw/grinker/LwtaClauses__Restrictive_and_Nonrest.htm

 [A7]In the conclusion, in addition to summarizing the subtopics in your essay, synthesize the information you gathered from your source. To synthesize just means you should consider all of the information you gathered from the source and draw conclusions. What did you learn beyond the information from the source? How did you draw these conclusions? Other sources or experiences? What were you surprised to learn that you did not know previously? How will the source help you develop the research essay?