Intercultural Communication Final Research Project | Sociology homework help

Final Research Project Investigating a Culture Instructions

This final research project is required by the Communications Department at CSM for all COM 1350 students. Use the Grading Rubric, follow the steps below and respond to the following questions:

  1. Find sources: Your primary source for this project is a person from the culture or co-culture you are exploring. However, you must also use at least 3 secondary sources including your textbook.  Be sure to note in your essay any discrepancies you may find between your primary and secondary sources. You may use books, periodicals, class lectures, maps, the Web, library databases and any other credible sources.
  2. Interview your primary source: To gain information about the culture you are investigating, interview your primary source. Explain how you know your interviewee and what their culture is. Use the questions below to guide you.  If the person you are interviewing does not know the answer to the question, you must do research to find the answer.  Remember that the person you are interviewing may not understand the terminology we are using in class, so you will have to explain it.  Also consider that your interviewee is giving his/her perception of the culture and this perception may not reflect the entire culture.
  3. Include these topics. The following topics should be covered in your project in the order listed.
  4. Background of Culture. (Use primary and secondary sources for this information.  (1-2 paragraphs)

How you know your interviewee and what is their culture?

Talk briefly about the history of the culture.

What major historical events shaped the present? (Go beyond describing the events. Explain how those events influenced the present)

What major events shaped the character and perceptions of the people?

What is the world view orientation of the culture?

  1. Cultural Taxonomy.

What are the value patterns of this culture?  Explore the culture values of individualism – collectivism, small-large power distance, weak-strong uncertainty avoidance, and masculine-feminine sex roles. Use information from the Hofstede Website* and be sure to include examples from your interviewee for each.

Consider the culture’s additional value orientation patterns including meaning, destiny and time.

*If necessary paste into your browser:

III. Cultural Identity.

What is your interviewee’s cultural identity salience?

What are his/her social, personal and ethnic identities?

Does your interviewee face discrimination based on his/her identity?

  1. Intercultural Interaction.

How do members of this culture communicate verbally?  What are the communication norms? What rules about language are used?  Is there language that is specific to the culture? How does the language reflect the culture?  Discuss high context vs. low context, direct vs. indirect, self-enhancement vs. self-humbling style, talk vs. silence, and self-disclosure.

What are the rules for nonverbal communication? Discuss how the various channels of nonverbal communication are used. Is it a high-, moderate- or low-context culture?

  1. Culture Shock.

Describe the stages of culture shock your interviewee went through when moving to a new culture.  If your interviewee did not move from one country to another, consider movement to a co-culture or new experience.  Use specific quotes and examples from your interviewee.

  1. Group Membership.

What is the family structure and what roles are played within the family?

What rules govern friendships and romantic relationships?

How does the culture regard strangers and acquaintances?

What social roles exist in this culture?

VII. Biases

How and to what degree is this group affected by ethnocentrism or racism?  Describe any injustices your interviewee or their cultural group has faced.

What stereotypes, positive or negative, are used to describe this culture?

How is this culture portrayed in the media?

Discuss how prejudice, discrimination and racism affect this particular group.

VII. Improving Intercultural Communication.

Overall, what problems do members of this group and/or your interviewee face within the dominant culture of the United States?

How can communication with the culture be improved?

VIII. Self-Reflection.

To conclude your essay, reflect on your experience as you conducted your interview.

Discuss how the elements of the model of intercultural cultural communication from Chapter 2 were evident in your interaction. Be sure to discuss in your answer how you adapted to any cultural barriers.

How did you adapt your communication based on relational, psychological and physical contexts of the interaction?

On what step of the staircase model would you place yourself during the interaction and why?

  1. Essay format. Your essay must be 6 -7 pages long, in 12-point font, double-spaced and uploaded into myLearning.  Terminology that you use from class should be underlined or boldfaced.  Throughout you must document your sources following MLA or APA style. An excellent source for information about using MLA/APA style can be found at:



  1. Grading. You will be graded on your ability to apply the terminology and concepts from the semester and illustrate them through examples from your interviewee. You should apply at least 50 terms/concepts.  In addition, you should provide stories and specific examples that you receive from your interviewee to support your points. Finally, be sure to use proper grammar spelling and MLA/APA formatting.  See the grading rubric posted in myLearning for more details.

    Investigating a Culture Sample Essay Answer

    The criticality of cross-cultural dialogue in the web of our intricately linked world cannot be overstated. It paves the way for individuals to traverse cultural boundaries and foster comprehension. In the course of this investigative undertaking, I had the chance to immerse myself in the profound cultural lineage of Japan, facilitated through a conversation with my close acquaintance, Hiroshi Yamamoto. The enlightening perspectives offered by Hiroshi, when amalgamated with secondary resources, present a holistic exploration of the societal norms, values, and the cross-cultural dynamics that define Japanese culture. The purpose of this composition is to illuminate aspects such as the roots of Japanese culture, its societal taxonomy, cultural identity, patterns of cross-cultural interaction, experiences of culture shock, group affiliation dynamics, prejudices encountered by the Japanese community, opportunities for enhancing cross-cultural dialogue, and my individual musings on this cross-cultural exchange.

    I. Roots of Culture: A robust understanding of Japanese culture necessitates a deep dive into its historical context and the significant past occurrences that have molded its current state. Japan, an archipelagic nation nestled in East Asia, boasts a cultural lineage extending over millennia. Pivotal historical happenings like the Meiji Restoration in the closing decades of the 19th century and the Second World War have etched indelible imprints on the country’s identity and societal framework. The Meiji Restoration earmarked an era of accelerated modernization and Westernization, catapulting Japan into the league of global economic juggernauts. Conversely, the Second World War triggered a monumental transformation, resulting in post-conflict rebuilding and fostering a deeply embedded focus on tranquility and unity.

    II. Societal Taxonomy: Grasping the societal values of Japan is paramount for decoding its distinctive societal dynamics. As per Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, Japan demonstrates a collectivist orientation, prioritizing group consensus and collaboration over individualistic desires. The notion of “Wa” or unity is deeply embedded within the Japanese society, nurturing an intense sense of allegiance and camaraderie within in-groups. Moreover, Japan displays a minimal power distance, suggesting a relatively balanced power dispersion and a less stratified society. While deference to authority and elders holds significance, those in leadership roles are anticipated to conduct themselves responsibly and considerately. Japan also gravitates towards pronounced uncertainty evasion, underlining stability, predictability, meticulous forecasting, and strict adherence to regulations and procedures. Additionally, Japan illustrates a fusion of masculine and feminine gender roles, appreciating both assertiveness and ambition (masculine) along with nurturing and compassion (feminine).

    III. Cultural Identity: Hiroshi’s salience of cultural identity is intrinsically linked to his Japanese heritage. Being a Japanese national and an immigrant in the United States, Hiroshi takes immense pride in his cultural origins and identifies himself as a participant of the Japanese community. Though he has come across instances of bias stemming from his ethnic identity, he admits that he has also encountered acceptance and comprehension from a majority of individuals.

    IV. Cross-Cultural Interaction: Within the realm of Japanese culture, spoken communication accentuates subtlety and courtesy. The employment of respectful language, variations in verb formations, and respectful conversational patterns is a commonality, particularly when interacting with individuals of higher status or advanced age. Language stands as a mirror reflecting the culture’s focus on preserving unity and dodging discord. Nonverbal communication holds equal importance, with a moderate-to-high-context communication style prevailing in the Japanese society. Nonverbal indicators such as facial expressions, body language, and nuanced gestures are crucial in transmitting messages. Hiroshi stressed the significance of interpreting the unspoken and comprehending contextual hints in Japanese communication.

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