Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Assignment 4 Interviews.

For this assignment I chose the topic of "What object do people treasure most? and why ?". The things I wanted to investigate about this area were if the price of an object would be a factor over the sentimental value of an object and the memories it holds. After a little research into different interview techniques I came across a ted talk by Marc Pachter, "The art Of The Interview" . He interviewed a number of celebrities creating a human portrait of their lives. Through his use of clever questions he managed to dig deeper than any one else ever had. He often used shockingly blunt questions to evoke emotion in his subjects in order to get the information he needed. So I knew I had to chose my questions carefully as I didn't want to suggest to the people was interviewing what I was trying to find out in case it influenced their answers. I asked a selection of six people ranging in age from 18- 28 and I have titled their answers (subject 1-7).

A quick introduction to subjects 1 to 7.
Subject 1 - Male, 22, Student
Subject 2 - Female, 19, Student
Subject 3 - Female, 20, Student
Subject 4 - Male, 23, Phone salesman
Subject 5 - Female,28, Student
Subject 6 - Female,19, Part time shop assistant.
Subject 7 - Male,2o, Student

The first question I asked was to find out if people actually had a treasured object.

"Assuming that all family members and pets are safe, what would you save first if your home was on fire?"

Answers ranged in price and sentimentality which was exactly what I was hoping for.

Subject 1 - Pen Drive
Subject 2 - Photographs
Subject 3 - Laptop
Subject 4 - iPod
Subject 5 - Photographs
Subject 6 - Phone
Subject 7 - Laptop

To find out the reason behind the subjects decision be it sentimental or money based, I asked.

"Why would you save this item in particular?"

Subject 1 - " Because it has my dissertation on it"
Subject 2 - " They are full of memories that I couldn't get back or repeat"
Subject 3 - " It has all my uni work on it and my life"
Subject 4 - "Its small and easy to carry and I could listen to it while I wait for the fire brigade to come and put the fire out."
Subject 5 - " They are irreplaceable and full of memories"
Subject 6 - " Because it has all my numbers stored in it and I could never get them back"
Subject 7 - " Because it is full off photographs and uni work"

I had a few more questions prepared if people had said to me their treasured object was a gift from someone, but no-one's object was.
I found that for most people the price of an object was not the deciding factor in whether it was treasured on not. The more expensive items which at first seemed to be chosen because of price, once explained were for more sentimental reasons. Subject 4 took the questions too literally and thought I was asking what would be the most practical object to save during a fire. Which ended up giving me the wrong information. The questions I asked got me the right information for the rest of the six subjects but I should maybe think of an alternative question for people who might misunderstand the question.

The results from this experiment were interesting, with most people choosing the same or similar objects. If laptops hadn't harnessed the power to host photographs yet then most of the answers to my questions would have been photographs, which seems to be the thing that most people find irreplaceable.

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