INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES FOR INTERVIEWING ELDERS FROM DIVERSE ETHNIC BACKGROUNDS
Several educational modules in this curriculum suggest having students interview elders from ethnic backgrounds other than their own as part of their learning experience. This appendix provides instructors with some specific strategies and ideas for how to design and optimize such interviewing assignments for students.
Any interviewing assignment should take into account the following:
Suggested Strategies: Depending on the nature of the course/educational experience of which the interviewing assignment is part, instructors have many issues and options to consider:
Regardless of strategy, instructors
should consider creating a structured interview guide, with questions
focused around the learning objectives for the course or/and the
specific curriculum module(s) under consideration. Such a guide could
be created in conjunction with students, making the construction of
the interview guide a participatory learning experience. Drafts of
the proposed interview guide should be reviewed with a knowledgeable
cultural guide/broker. Module Focus of Interview Sample Questions* Module 1 General background, i.e.,
cultural beliefs, religious beliefs, customs Level of
acculturation In what country were you
born? Module 2 Informal/Family
support Experience with
disease/illness Tell me about your family/or the
people closest to you. Module 3 Health belief systems Models/Traditions of
healing Historical experiences of
cohorts What does it mean to be sick or
ill? Module 4 Clinical Assessment See Module 4 for specific
areas of ethnogeriatric assessment Module 5 Service Access &
Utilization How do you stay
Some sample interview questions, organized around the modules of this core curriculum, are presented in the table below:
How long have you (or your ancestors) been in this country?
What language did you first learn to speak? What language is used at home?
How do you identify yourself (in terms of your ethnic/racial background, heritage, or culture)?
What is important for others to know and understand about your background or culture?
How has your background or culture influenced who you are today?
>What is the role of spirituality, faith or religion in your life? Do you identify with any formal religion/belief system?
What customs or traditions are important to you/your family?
What does your culture/religion/heritage teach you about aging/growing older/ elders or older people?
What has been the biggest adjustment for you/your family about life in this country?
In times of illness or need, to whom do you turn?
What help or assistance do you give to family members/others close to you?
What help or assistance do you expect &/or receive from family members/others close to you?
Who makes (or is involved in) decisions regarding your health or well-being?
Tell me about your experience with _________ (specific disease/illness).
When a person is sick or ill, what treatments or remedies should he/she seek?
How is the tradition of healing or care in your culture/heritage different from Western medicine (i.e., medicine in the US)?
What events in history have helped shape the attitudes and beliefs that you/your family/people of your heritage/descent?
Questions can also be tailored to the specific discipline and/or focus of the class (e.g., psychosocial aspects, medical issues, etc.)
What types of healthcare/other services do you use & how often?
When you have an identified need or illness, what keeps you from using available services (probe for accessibility, and acceptability issues)?
Tell me about your most recent experience with a health care system or provider (try to elicit reactions to the experience, level of satisfaction with care, examples of misunderstanding -- e.g., anything that made you/your family uncomfortable, offended you/your family?)
What advice would you give to health care providers (i.e., doctors, nurses, etc.)?
Focus of Interview
General background, i.e., cultural beliefs, religious beliefs, customs
Level of acculturation
In what country were you
Experience with disease/illness
Tell me about your family/or the
people closest to you.
Health belief systems
Models/Traditions of healing
Historical experiences of cohorts
What does it mean to be sick or
See Module 4 for specific
areas of ethnogeriatric assessment
Service Access & Utilization
How do you stay
*Some questions may not be appropriate to all ethnic populations/sub-populations. Phrasing of questions should be tailored to the ethnic group(s) being interviewed.
Debriefing, Feedback & Evaluation