EOC defined

Theoretical overview

S.P.E.A.K.I.N.G.: A research tool

Applying S.P.E.A.K.I.N.G.

Sample study

Conducting your own study

Check your understanding

Sources for this Web site

Additional readings



Conducting Your Own Study

Sample Research Questions. Research begins with a question.  At some point in a cross-cultural encounter, you may have been curious about why a person was acting in a particular way.  This is the first step in posing a question to investigate.

The articles you find in the bibliography all began with one or more questions. For example, Carbaugh poses several questions in in Talking American (1989):

How is personhood symbolized and lived?

What is culture-specific and what is general in these accomplishments? How is speaking symbolized?

How does it vary cross-culturally?

What is the relationship between these models of personhood and speaking? (p.12).

These questions are general and can be particularly useful to ask when you want to find out about any one particular culture or cultural group because they do not make assumptions about what happens in all cultures. These questions are specific with regards to culture, time, and place. For instance, they can specify, how is personhood symbolized and lived in the United States in the 1970s?  Therefore, the questions themselves are never completely answered because one continues to find new contexts within which to ask these questions.

Think about what puzzles you most about culture and pose a research question of your own.

After you pose the research question, take a look back at Hymes' units and decide which unit of analysis, from the speech community to the speech act is the best place to study this question.  Then take another look at the S.P.E.A.K.I.N.G. model and decide which tool will help you to examine this question in the context you have pinpointed.

<Previous Page | Next Page>