Life Event Paper

Choose a life event to focus on in this paper.

(The definition of life event is a significant occurrence in a person’s life that may produce serious and long-lasting effects. This can be positive or negative.)

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Possible life events you could focus on (these are just options to get you thinking… choose any that you like, it doesn’t need to be on this list): marriage, divorce, death, injury/illness, work change, graduation, leaving home, buying a home, moving, a personal achievement, retirement, “coming out”, pregnancy, birth, natural disaster, etc. (YES, Covid would be an excellent topic for this paper.)

Once you’ve thought of a life event think about how it has affected 3 different generations.

(The definition of generation for the purpose of this paper involves people who are in different phases of life. A child, a young adult, and an older adult would represent different stages of development. An adolescent, a middle age adult, and an older adult would also represent different stages of development.)

For example, let’s say I choose birth and want to understand/process more surrounding the life event of my son being born. I would then think about how it affected 1) my daughter (a child, a generation younger than mine); 2) me (an adult, different generation than one younger or older than mine); and 3) my parents (older adults, a generation older than mine).

Once you have chosen a life event and picked out 3 individuals (one can be you as long as you represent a different life stage than the other 2 individuals) who have experienced the life event at different stages of life, think of questions you want to ask them. The people you interview do not need to be identified by name in the paper, but still make sure to ask their permission for you to write about their responses.

The questions should focus on themes listed below:

– How did the event affect them (their thinking, their behavior, and their attitudes)?

– How did the person react or adapt to the event? (Explore certain coping or adaptive patterns) – How did the event impact their relationships with others?

 

Once you have finished interviewing you are ready to write the paper.

Here is an example of an outline that you could follow. If you prefer to organize it differently that is completely acceptable, just make sure it covers all of the parts listed.

PART I:

Describe the life event you chose and the reasons why you thought it would be an interesting event to explore from different perspectives.
Briefly describe who you interviewed in basic demographics (“a 72-year-old white female”) and a little bit about their life circumstances that you feel are relevant to the life event you explored (“lives in rural Mississippi, has a strong religious faith, has experienced several tragedies…”)

PART II:

Share the responses of your interviewees by identifying the question and a summary response to each question. If you choose to simply write a narrative that reflects the questions asked and their responses, that is also acceptable. It is your choice.

PART III:

What were your hypotheses about how each interviewee would respond to your questions/what their answers would be? Did they align or were you surprised? How so?
How do you think former life events might have affected their reactions to the one you were asking about? How about their life circumstances (gender, race, sexual orientation, financial wellbeing, place of residence, religion, etc.)?
How does risk/protective factors play into their experience of the life event? Do they demonstrate resilience? How so?

PART IV:

What did you learn about how one’s place in the life course impacts how various life events affect people? What are the implications for understanding human behavior in the social environment? How will this assignment inform your future work as a social worker?

The paper should be written in 12pt Times New Roman Font. You do not need to have a cover page, page headings, or a reference page (unless you cite the textbook or any research articles you use….this is not required but would certainly beef up your paper!). There is not a strict page limit as long as you explore the questions above.

 

3-4 pages is acceptable for me as long as all requirements are met and questions are discussed.

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