Essay on Skills: Scientific Method and Case Study

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SESP 203: Adulthood and Aging

Prof. Logan

Final Exam/Project: Comprehensive Case Study

You will tape record an interview and write a case study of an older adult (at least 70). Your subject may be a family member (grandparents or great aunts or uncles make interesting respondents), friend, or acquaintance. Note: You should not identify the individual by name (use a pseudonym and note it); generally, you should protect confidentiality while providing descriptive information. Since this paper is the equivalent of a comprehensive final, you should discuss the concepts that we have studied throughout the course. You will have to develop an interview protocol (double-spaced, font 12) to hand in by the date indicated on the syllabus. The interview has to cover the questions you intend to ask (opening questions, follow-up questions, probes, etc.) See below for some areas to consider as you develop your protocol. Your case study will be analyzed in a final paper (10-15 pages, double-spaced, font 12 – NOTE: 15 pages maximum, not including appendices) and will be due no later than the time indicated in the syllabus. I will not accept late papers, nor will I accept emailed papers. Format for the case study analysis follows. Remember, this is a comprehensive final exam. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the main concepts we have covered in class and how you have integrated the topics covered in the readings, lectures (mine and guests’), websites, videos, and class discussion. Please, use headings, PROOFREAD, and refer to the handouts on APA to correctly cite your references.

Final Project Protocol
You are to write an analysis of a person’s life based on the data you have collected. You have to have enough relevant data to make a good analysis. In order to demonstrate that you’ve understood what we’ve covered in this course, including what’s in the readings, you will need to ask your subject questions to get information on all (or most) of the course topics. Your best approach would be to list out for yourself all the topics, then make questions about them that will provide responses that you can later analyze in your comprehensive final exam. For example, ask questions that will allow you to discuss the last four Eriksonian stages. DO NOT INCLUDE CHILDHOOD STAGES. Be aware of the language you use in your questions; avoid psychological terms, unless they are in daily language. For instance, it is likely that your subjects won’t know what “generativity” is, so rather than ask them something like, “How have you been generative?” ask questions that would allow you to surmise something about their generativity in mid-life.

If you are interviewing a family member, you may want to include some memories from childhood since that’s great for family history. However, don’t spend too much time with that kind of information or you risk tiring out your subject before they get to the data you will need for the final project. Even though childhood data may be personally fascinating, it most likely will not be relevant to this course, so please do not include it in your final paper unless you feel strongly that it helps tell this person’s story. An example that would be relevant might be a paragraph in your introduction describing the person’s childhood as part of the picture you paint of him/her.

You have a rare opportunity to hear a person’s reflection on his/her entire adulthood, so enjoy and have fun with this project!

Format for case study analysis:
Part I: Introduction (approximately 1-2 pages; 20 pts.) A. Begin with an overview of the life span perspective and how it applies to a life story case study. Include developmental influences and controversies in development. Describe Erikson’s model of psychosocial development and Vaillant’s model of aging well. Use the life span perspective, Erikson, and Vaillant as the structure for your case analysis. B. Introduce