Law
Governors State University Semi Structured Interview Senior Capstone

Question Description

I need help with a Law question. All explanations and answers will be used to help me learn.

Below is the semi-structured interview guide that we just received approval on from the principals and superintendent (ironically). I want each member of the group to interview one female and one male high school student, aged 13-18, using this guide. You do not have to interview them in person, you can do this over the phone or by Skype or other online format similar to it. Interview a relative, friend, friend's sibling, whatever. If you want, do a practice run on a friend to make sure it runs smoothly. Take notes, type them up and give each interviewee a code (for example, I would use my initials and a number, CJ 1 and CJ 2). Then discuss with your group whether you want to use Google Sheets or Excel to record the data for the group. This will entail creating variable names (for example, questions on the home and who lives there can be named HOMEFAM) and coding answers (mother could be coded 1, father coded 2, aunt coded 3, etc.)

During the Interview:

If a youth discloses to you that he/she has been harmed by someone, is the victim of abuse, or intends to harm his/herself or others, you will need to tell the youth that you need to report this information to the appropriate officials. [Council and schools:What is the policy?]

If a youth seems uncomfortable with any question, be sure to let him/her know that he/she does not have to answer any question that he/she does not want to answer.

Pay attention to your body language.Do not give your opinions, don’t agree or disagree with answers, avoid gestures that would indicate approval or disapproval.Remember you are not judging responses, only recording them.

If you do not understand a response, ask for clarification.Some great probing questions:Can you tell me more?Can you be more specific?What do you think?Can you give me an example?

In margins, note youth’s body language, attitude.Note any distractions during the course of the interview.

When taking notes, please indicate any exact quotes with quotations.

Questions in italics after the main question are probes for exploration into the topic.

SECTION A. GENERAL INFORMATION

  1. Name of interviewer__________________________________
  2. Date and time of interview _____________________________
  3. Location____________________________________________

SECTION B. INFORMATION ON RESPONDENT

  1. Respondent number ________________________________
  1. Age of Respondent ­________________________________
  1. Year in School ­________________________________

For the following, ask respondent how they wish to identify:

  • Sex (circle):MaleFemale Other:_________________
  1. Race of Respondent: ________________________________

VIEWS ON ENVIRONMENT:SCHOOL

We are trying to get a feeling for how things are going at your school.

  • What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at school?
  • Are there activities you wish the school had?If so, what?
    • Why would this activity be important to students?
  • How does the school deal with bullying?
    • Are you satisfied with this approach?Why/why not?
    • Do you know someone who has been bullied?
      • Can you tell me about it?
      • What are your thoughts on how this was handled by everyone involved?
      • What do you think should be done?
  • Do you think students feel safe at school?
    • Can you explain your answer?
    • If not safe:What could be done to make it safer?
  • Would you say there is a problem with drug use at the school?
    • Probe:Can you explain your answer?
    • If yes, what do you think could be done to solve this problem?
  • How is your attendance at the school?
    • Would you say the same is true for most students you know?Please explain.
    • Why do you think attendance is high/low?
  • Are there gang members in school?
    • Probe:How do you know this?Can you tell me a bit more?
    • Male/Female students, both?
    • Is it a problem?
      • If yes, how so?
      • If no, why not?
    • Why do you think they are involved in gangs?
  • Is it easy for you to see a school counselor?
    • Probes:Is the counselor readily available?Do you know where to go or how to make an appointment?
    • Would you feel comfortable going to Mr./Ms. _________ if you had a problem?
      • Why or why not?
  • Is high school preparing you for the future?
    • How so?
    • What do you want to do in the future?
  • Tell me about your family life.
  • Is it fun to hang out at home?
  • Do you ever feel like you need to leave the house?
  • Who stays with you?
    • Try to get an idea of who stays permanently and who might be there temporarily, ages, sex, etc.Are both parents there?Or is there a guardian?
    • What do they do?Work/School?
  • Do your parent(s)/guardian(s) check in with what you are doing at school?
    • What about school specifically?Homework/Activities/Friends
    • Does everyone in your household get along?Have youth explain as much as comfortable.
  • How do you get to and from school?
    • Probes:feeling safe, reliable transportation
    • Whose home when they leave/return
  • Would you say you get enough sleep?
    • Enough to eat?
  • What is your favorite thing about your home life?
    • Least favorite?
  • Describe your community (helpful:Describe it to me like I am a new kid in the neighborhood).
    • Probes:safety, causes of stress, crime, access to youth activities
  • What is your favorite thing about your neighborhood.
    • Least favorite?
  • What do you think your community could improve upon?
    • Why?
  • How many close friends would you say you have? (Can rely on them, trust them with secrets, talk to them about private problems)
  • How would you say they are doing in school?
    • Probes:grades, activities, support from teachers/staff, at-risk behaviors (truancy, drugs, gangs, illegal activities).
  • How would you say they are doing at home?
    • Probes:parents/guardians, supported, safety, basic necessities
  • What are your friends involved in at school?
  • Do your friends support you doing well in school or activities?
    • How so?
  • What is something kids often get pressured into doing?
    • Does that happen to you?What have you done about it?
  • What does it mean to be independent and how independent should you be?
  • How is discipline handled in your school?
  • Do you think this addresses the problem?
    • Why or why not?
    • If no, how should it be handled?
  • How is discipline handled at home?
  • Do you think this addresses the problem?
    • Why or why not?
    • If no, how should it be handled?
  • What do you worry about?
    • Do you worry a lot about this?
    • Why is this a concern for you?
    • What do you think you are able to do about it?
  • Do you ever feel depressed?
    • What do you think causes it?
    • What do you think you are able to do about it?
  • What are life’s challenges?
    • How do you address them?
    • Probes:Feels capable, feels hopeless, feels supported
  • What motivates you?
    • Probes:at school, in life, to do better
  • Where do you want to be in ten years?
    • Probes:Education, Work, Family, Disposition
  • What do you think causes kids to break the law?
  • Why do some kids choose not to?
  • What could the school do to help?
  • What could your community do to help?
  • What could Cook County Southland Juvenile Justice Council do?
    • Remind youth that this is who this research is for.

VIEWS ON ENVIRONMENT:HOME

I want to remind you again that if you do not feel comfortable answering any questions, you don’t have to.If you want to know why I am asking a question, don’t hesitate to ask me.

VIEWS ON ENVIRONMENT:NEIGHBORHOOD

PEERS

DISCIPLINE

OTHER PERSPECTIVES

PERSPECTIVES ON TRAJECTORY TO DELINQUENCY


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Final Answer

Attached.

1

SECTION A. GENERAL INFORMATION
1. Name of interviewer__________________________________
2. Date and time of interview _____________________________
3. Location____________________________________________
SECTION B. INFORMATION ON RESPONDENT
1. Respondent number ___AJ 2_____________________________
1. Age of Respondent ___13_____________________________
1. Year in School _____I___________________________
For the following, ask respondent how they wish to identify:


Sex (circle): Male Female Other: _________________

1. Race of Respondent: ________Black________________________
VIEWS ON ENVIRONMENT: SCHOOL
We are trying to get a feeling for how things are going at your school.


What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at school?
AJ 2: At school, I am involved with is a part time job selling lemonade juice.



Are there activities you wish the school had? If so, what?



AJ 2: I wish my school had many activities that I can get involved
in. For example, I would like activities such as arts and making

AJ 2 shows sincerity attitude. It seems
like it is something that he is longing
to have.

music.
o


Why would this activity be important to students?

AJ 2: This activity is important to students because today, younger people can
earn through art and music. Therefore, to young people, they can use this to earn a

2

living while still young and support their families achieve goals they have not
achieved yet.


How does the school deal with bullying?
AJ 2: My school is very strict on matters related to bullying. The
school punishes bullies and educates us on the negative effects of

AJ 2 sits upright and comfortably,
maybe trying to show the matter is
serious in the school.

bullying others. Those found with bullying cases are expelled from
the school to serve as example to those students who bully other students.
o

Are you satisfied with this approach? Why/why not?

AJ 2: Yes, I am satisfied with this approach towards bullies. This
approach has made bullying cases reduce since its implementation.
o

AJ 2 shows a positive attitude towards
this question.

Do you know someone who has been bullied?

AJ 2: Yes, I know someone who has been bullied before.


Can you tell me about it?

AJ 2: Yes of course. This student was from our class and he was from the

AJ 2 shows discomfort. It seems he
was not happy with the situation.

black race. Other students used to laugh at him how his skin was dark.
Other student used to sit far from the student saying that he had diseases
from Africa. I can imagine how the student was feeling. It was horrible to him and is
something I would never wish happens to any other individual.


What are your thoughts on how this was handled by everyone
involved?

AJ 2: I think this situation was handled in a professional manner by the
teachers and the principal involved. The culprits were given off-school
suspension fro two weeks and their parents called for the issue. Once back

AJ 2 is not sure about this situation;
he is expressing disgust. It seems like
he was not satisfied with something.

at school, they were taught on equality and avoid racism at all cost. This seemed to work
since it never happened again at out our school.

3


What do you think should be done?

AJ 2: I think racism is a serious matter in the world. Therefore,
students caught with racism offences should be punished severely.

AJ 2 is confident and is saying this
positively.

These students should be even expelled from school.


Do you think students feel safe at school?
AJ 2: Yes, I think students are safe in school. Student’s security is the number
one obligation of the school. Therefore, I think that they are very safe while in the
school environment.
o

Can you explain your answer?

AJ 2: Student’s security is the number one obligation of the school. Therefore, I
think that they are very safe while in the school environment.
o

If not safe: What could be done to make it safer?

AJ 2: N/A


Would you say there is a problem with drug use at the school?
o

Probe: Can you explain your answer?

AJ 2: Yes, there is a problem with drug use at the school. There is
a small forest near the school field and that is where students go to

AJ 2 smiles as he answers this
question. It seems this issues is
serious at their school.

use different types of drugs. Once, these students were caught and
expelled from school, but this behavior has never stopped. It is hard to get these
students because they never use these drugs in public.
o

If yes, what do you think could be done to solve this problem?

AJ 2: I think the school should install CCTV cameras on every
corner of the school. By use of technology, eyes will be
everywhere, catching culprits who are smart enough to use drugs

AJ 2 is talking as if he is not sure. He
seems like he is tired sitting down. I
think he knows installation of CCTV
cameras is not a good idea.

4

when the coast is clear. Also, the school should can give lessons on the effects of
using drugs more often so that it creates awareness to the students on the adverse
effects of drug usage.


How is your attendance at the school?



AJ 2: The attendance in our school is high.
o

Would you say the same is true for most students you know? Please
explain.



AJ 2: Yes, because the students I know attend school unless they are having a
serious issue, such as diseases.
o



Why do you think attendance is high/low?

AJ 2: I think the attendance is high since the school has come up with
stringiest measures to avoid truancy.



Are there gang members in school?
o



Probe: How do you know this? Can you tell me a bit more?

AJ 2: Yes, there are small gangs in the school. I know about this
because students in our school like sitting in groups and walk in

AJ 2 shows discomfort answering this
question.

those groups all the time. Also, there has been rumors that there
have been gangs that has been distributing drugs in the school.
o

Male/Female students, both?

AJ 2: Both
o

Is it a problem?

AJ 2: Yes, it is problem.


If yes, how so?

AJ 2: It is a problem because there are students recruited in this
group and engage in activities that are unhealthy in their life.
Some of these students are the ones who have been missing school
and it is bad for students.

AJ 2 shows negative attitude towards
this matter. It seems like it is a serious
issue to him.

5

o

If no, why not?

Why do you think they are involved in gangs?

AJ 2: I think they are involved in gangs because of peer pressure.


Is it easy for you to see a school counselor?
o

Probes: Is the counselor readily available? Do you know where to go or
how to make a...

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