After watching the documentary/videos and drawing upon further research findings on serial killers and your understanding of social psychology, discuss possible reasons that might have led the individual selected down the wrong path.
March 13, 2019
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March 13, 2019

For this assignment you are required to examine the symbolic meaning of perhaps one of the most important purchases in most Americans’ lives: their home.

Symbolic Consumption Research Assignment
Individual Written Paper Analysis

For this assignment you are required to examine the symbolic meaning of perhaps one of the most important purchases in most Americans’ lives: their home. You will gather data on the symbolic meaning of this purchase, and its consumption, via a depth interview with one of the home’s owners. Your findings must be described in a 3-4 pp paper, as outlined below.

Specific Assignment Requirements:

1. Select the homeowner
a. This should be someone you know well, and who will be willing to sit down with you for a lengthy interview about fairly personal feelings and decisions
b. You may select a parent, grandparent, sibling, other family member, or very close friend or coworker
c. You should interview only one person for this assignment. Even if the home has more than one owner, select one of them, and interview them by themselves with no one else present.
d. You may not select a current student or staff member
e. Your interviewee must have owned their current home for a minimum of two full years prior to the date of your interview
f. Your interviewee’s home may be a single-family-residence, a condo, or a townhouse; but they must have purchased the home themselves for their own personal residence (i.e. it is not an investment property; they’re not living in their parents’ house or a friend’s house, etc.)
g. You may not interview someone about a home that you also own/helped purchase (e.g. your spouse about a home your own together; a home you purchased for your parent(s) or child to live in, etc.)
2. Conduct the interview:
a. You must prepare a set of detailed questions prior to the interview
b. Your questions must cover the home acquisition and the home consumption experiences
i. Be sure your questions (and your written analysis) cover more than just the importance and symbolism of buying the home, but also what the home currently symbolizes to them in terms of their day to day lives at present.
c. Your questions must address all four symbolic function areas: Emblematic, Connectedness, Role Acquisition, Expressiveness.
d. Your interview should last a minimum of thirty minutes; likely it will be longer
e. Use words and language in your interview questions that will make sense to your subject. Even though you are investigating specific symbolic meanings, such as role acquisition, emblems, etc., you probably should not use those exact words in your questions, since they are too technical for normal conversation. A good interviewer will use indirect questions that are more comfortable for the person being interviewed in order to explore and investigate the topics they are researching.
f. You should record your interview so that you can devote your full attention to your subject, and so that you can refer back to it later. I would strongly suggest a video recording: sometimes a subject’s physical reaction and/or facial expressions are as informative as what they actually say.
3. Paper Content. Your paper should be an analysis of your subject’s responses to your questions, using direct quotes from your interview. Thus, each section of your paper should be based on quotes from your interviewee, and your analysis (interpretation) of those quotes. The paper should consist of the following sections:
a. Introduction
i. Who you interviewed (at minimum name, relation to you, age, and sex)
ii. The type of home they own
iii. Where they live
iv. When they purchased their home
v. Why they purchased their home
vi. A 2-3 sentence overview of your findings and conclusions
b. Analysis of responses (each of these sections should contain direct quotes from your interview that you analyze to uncover the home’s symbolic meaning).
i. What does their home symbolize to them, in terms of each of the 4 symbolic functions
1. Be sure to discuss each one individually, in separate paragraphs
ii. How does the location of the home affect its symbolic meaning(s)?
iii. How does the size of the home affect its symbolic meaning(s)?
iv. How does the usage of the home affect its symbolic meaning(s)?
v. How does the style of the home affect its symbolic meaning(s)?
vi. How does the décor/furnishings of the home affect its symbolic meaning(s)?
vii. Any other important symbolic meanings you uncovered
c. Conclusions
i. What would you conclude is the most important symbolic function (of the four primary functions) of your interviewee’s home to them?
ii. How does their home provide this symbolic function for them?
iii. Why do you conclude this?
d. Appendix
i. Your list of questions
ii. The full name of your interviewee
iii. The address of their home
iv. When and where your interview was conducted
4. Paper Organization:
a. You must clearly organize your analysis using headings and subheadings for each of the sections and subsections noted below:
i. Use Headings for 3a, 3b, 3c, and 3d (Introduction, Analysis, etc.)
ii. Use Subheadings for 3bi through 3bvii (Expressiveness, Connectedness,…,Location, Size, etc.)
5. Paper Format:
a. The entire paper must be written as prose (essay format—not bullet points or outline format). This is a critical analysis of your subject’s responses, not a bullet-point restatement of each of their individual answers. Thus, you should be drawing conclusions about the symbolism of the home based on what they say—not your own observations of the home. Again, you are writing an analysis, not filing a report (no bullet points or sentence fragments).
b. Length: 1800 words minimum to 2400 words maximum (excluding appendix)
c. Single-spaced
d. 12 pt Times New Roman font
e. Each page must contain a header with your name and CWID
f. Each page must contain a footer with the course number and page numbers
g. No cover page

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