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Friday, February 28, 2014

The magazine format

Images above: Magazines are all different in terms of purpose and style. Know your audience!

Contact me at 

The address for the Socialsense blog

The TSC Society and Culture Moodle 

Magazines in the form of on-line writings (blogs etc) by journalists and non-journalists are a growing trend where most people get their information today.

Most magazine articles do one of four things. They inform, adding to your knowledge about a subject. They help you to solve a problem. They persuade you about a particular viewpoint. They entertain you. Some articles do more than one of those things at the same time.

Here are some things to consider once your have drafted the basics of your article in Word form.

Think of a headline to attract attention
Put yourself in the position of reading the magazine.  What title would make you read the article?

How to Structure a Magazine Article
When you’re ready to write then you need to think about structure. The attached template is just one way to structure your article. A nice safe way!  Feel free to experiment with your article story if you feel confident enough. 

 Make it look attractive and eye catching
By the way, pictures are OK. Put in any pictures, maps or graphs that help support your writing (not too many though).

Grab the reader's attention with a dynamite opening paragraph. This is called your lead, and it's the most important paragraph of a magazine article. If the first paragraph doesn't convince a reader to keep reading, then you're sunk. Immediately after catching a reader's attention, make certain the point of the article or the theme is evident.

Give your idea an angle.
The angle of an article has to do with the way the topic is approached. For example, New Year's resolutions have been written about many, times, but give the idea a fresh angle - such as using social networking to succeed at keeping resolutions. Don't be afraid to be controversial.

Tell A Story
The key thing to remember is that you’re telling a story to your readers. That means you need a beginning, a middle and an end. It also means you need to think about where you’re taking your reader and create a logical path to that end point.

Beginning Your Magazine Article
The first thing you need to do is get people to read your article, so you need to find a way to grab them. When I interview people, I often start the resulting article with a quote or an anecdote from their life. However, you can also set the scene or use anything that will get attention.

The Middle
With most magazine articles, you talk to a person or people. People like reading about other people, so if your interviewee says something good, use a quote rather than reported speech. This makes your magazine article more interesting.

Ending Your Magazine Article
Finally, end with a bang. This could be an important point, a revelation, or another anecdote or quote. Next to the lead, the conclusion is most important. The ending of a magazine feature should bring the piece to a satisfying resolution for the reader. You might return to your opening paragraph so that you come full circle. Some conclusions summarize the main points or leave readers with an anecdote that illustrates the theme.

To get some ideas have a look at the culture and current affairs Magazines on-line website or just glance through some popular magazines and look at the articles and how they are written. It may give you an idea of how to structure and express the content of your article.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Interview

Contact me at 

The address for the Socialsense blog

The TSC Society and Culture Moodle

Now for the interview: Few hints.

The type of interview you will be doing for the Culture assignment is called a semi-structured interview. Such an interview is the best to get specific information and a range of views. They are the type of interview most commonly used when gaining qualitative research. The semi-structured interview invites responses to a set of guided questions but also allows for interaction and follow-up discussion. Although mostly open-ended questions, several closed factual questions may be involved. Finally, with such an interview the interaction between interviewer and interviewee is much more relaxed than with a structured interview. Here is a useful YouTube video about semi-structured interviews.


* Make sure you understand the purpose of the interview so that the appropriate questions are asked.
* Understand what information is necessary to complete the investigation?
* Do detailed research about the topic so you know what questions to ask.
* Choose the person to be interviewed carefully to ensure they are a creditable source of information.
* Prepare your equipment, such as cue cards, tape-recorder with microphone, video etc.
* Call and make the appointment for the interview and tell your interviewee about the topic of your investigation.
* Ask if they would like the questions to be sent ahead and ask permission to use tape-recorders or video.


* Choose a quiet location free from interruptions.
* Begin by explaining the purpose of the interview.
* Listen very carefully to what the person is saying(Often their responses will give you an idea for a question that you hadn't planned to ask).
* Don't be afraid to ask for more depth or greater explanation.
* Try and show your interest by your body language.
* Don't concentrate on your notes all the time.
* Towards the end of the interview you can ask the person if there is anything that you have omitted or anything they would like to add.
* Let them know the interview is drawing to a close by saying 'One last question'.

Remember the success of your interview depends on your research, choice of interviewee, your genuine interest in what they have to say, and your own skills in thinking on your feet.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Understanding Multiculuralism

Images above: A photograph in an exhibition on Multicultural Australia in Hyde Park, Sydney on a sunny Sunday morning in 2011.

Contact me at 

The address for the Socialsense blog

The TSC Society and Culture Moodle 

Write 100 words on:
Australia is a multicultural country. What does this mean in official Australian
Government policy terms?

Background research for you to consider before writing your 100 words.

From the Australian Government website on Multiculturalism

Australia’s multicultural policy embraces our shared values and cultural traditions. It also allows those who choose to call Australia home the right to practise and share their cultural traditions and languages within the law and free from discrimination.
Almost a quarter of us were born overseas, and four million Australians speak a language other than English. Since the Second World War over seven million migrants have settlement in Australia. Today, Australians speak more than 260 languages and identify with over 270 ancestries.

Australian culture is as broad and diverse as the country's landscape. Australia is multicultural and multiracial, and this is reflected in the country's food, lifestyle and cultural practices and experience.

Australia is a society of people from a rich diversity of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have inhabited Australia for tens of thousands of years. Most Australians are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants who arrived during the past two centuries from more than 200 countries.

In the recent global social and political environment, threats to social cohesion, harmony and security have emerged. The Australian Government is responding to these challenges by encouraging continuing dialogue with a wide range of community groups.
The diversity of the Australian population brings us important economic and cultural benefits, and has given us a greater understanding of the globalised world.

Multiculturalism has strengthened Australian society. The diversity of the Australian population brings economic and cultural benefits, and a greater understanding of our region and world.
The Australian Government’s new multicultural policy aims to celebrate and value: Australia’s cultural diversity, strengthen the government’s commitment to social inclusion, social cohesion and responsive government services, welcome the trade and investment benefits of Australia’s diversity, and promote understanding and acceptance while responding to intolerance.
The policy also outlines rights and responsibilities enshrined in our citizenship pledge, which requires future citizens to pledge their loyalty to Australia and its people, uphold our laws and democracy and respect our rights and liberties. These rights and liberties include Australians of all backgrounds being entitled to celebrate, practise and maintain their cultural heritage, traditions and language, within the law and free from discrimination.

The actual Australian Multicultural Policy document.
Go to and read it.

An interesting aspect of multicultural Australia is the document new citizens sign when being awarded Australian citizenship

Australian Values Statement

I confirm that I have read, or had explained to me, information provided by the Australian Government on Australian society and values.

I understand:
• Australian society values respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual, freedom of religion, commitment to the rule of law, Parliamentary democracy, equality of men and women and a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play and compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good
• Australian society values equality of opportunity for individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background
• the English language, as the national language, is an important unifying element of Australian society.
I undertake to respect these values of Australian society during my stay in Australia and to obey the laws of Australia.
I understand that, if I should seek to become an Australian citizen:
• Australian citizenship is a shared identity, a common bond which unites all Australians while respecting their diversity
• Australian citizenship involves reciprocal rights and responsibilities. The responsibilities of Australian Citizenship include obeying Australian laws, including those relating to voting at elections and serving on a jury.

Making Multicultural Australia for the 21st Century website has plenty of student activities that will be of use to you to understand multicultural Australia.

These two audios are worth listening to:
History of multicultural Australia
The challenge to multiculturalism by Prime Minister Howard in 1988

Some Youtubes to watch:

Changing face of Australia

Australia’s new face

Australia’s Multicultural Policy

Why Multiculturalism is a failure:

What is the Australian culture forum

Preparing the interview questions

Contact me at 

The address for the Socialsense blog

The TSC Society and Culture Moodle

Preparing the questions to ask.

Finally it is time to get our interview questions together. The following ideas will help you determine the type of questions to ask and how to arrange them to find out what you require for your assignment.

Before you start to design your interview questions and process, clearly articulate to yourself what need is to be addressed using the information to be gathered by the interviews. This helps you keep clear focus on the intent of each question.

Most importantly the interview questions must draw out what you need to find out about your culture.

Types of questions

Mostly design open-ended questions are asked during interviews. Avoid closed questions. These are questions that ask for a limited response eg. “Is this a good computer?” A response to a closed question has only two possible responses: 'yes' or 'no'. Neither answer will help you much, because you won't know how the interviewee is deciding on his or her answer. Does a 'yes' mean that the computer is good value for money, or best for games or terrific for a boat anchor or ... Such questions start with words like “Is, did or are”

Another point in relation to open questions is that such questions do not have any restrictions. eg. “What are the advantages and disadvantages of this sort of computer”? Such questions allow an interviewee to make a complete response which expresses their opinion honestly and in detail giving you access to large amounts of information. Open questions usually start with words like “How, what, when, where, why”

There are thought to be six kinds of questions. We can ask questions about:
1. Behaviors - about what a person has done or is doing in relation to your topic
2. Opinions/values - about what a person thinks about a topic
3. Feelings - note that respondents sometimes respond with "I think ..." so be careful to note that you're looking for feelings
4. Knowledge - to get facts about a topic
5. Sensory - about what people have seen, touched, heard, tasted or smelled in relation to a topic
6. Background/demographics - standard background questions, such as age, education, ethnicity etc.

Sequence of Questions

1. Get the respondents involved in the interview as soon as possible.
2. Before asking about controversial matters (such as feelings and conclusions), first ask about some facts. With this approach, respondents can more easily engage in the interview before warming up to more personal matters.
3. Intersperse fact-based questions throughout the interview to avoid long lists of fact-based questions, which tends to leave respondents disengaged.
4. Ask questions about the present before questions about the past or future. It's usually easier for them to talk about the present and then work into the past or future.
5. The last questions might be to allow respondents to provide any other information they prefer to add and their impressions of the interview.

Wording of Questions

1. Wording should be open-ended. Interviewees’ should be able to choose their own terms when answering questions.
2. Questions should be as neutral as possible. Avoid wording that might influence answers, e.g., evocative, judgmental wording.
3. Questions should be asked one at a time.
4. Questions should be worded clearly. This includes knowing any terms particular to the program or the interviewees’ culture.
5. Be careful asking "why" questions. This type of question infers a cause-effect relationship that may not truly exist. These questions may also cause respondents to feel defensive, e.g., that they have to justify their response, which may inhibit their responses to this and future questions.
6. Ask questions which allow the interviewee to do at least 70% of the talking. For the most part, avoid questions that can be answered "yes" or "no." The best questions are ones in which the interviewee has the opportunity to provided detail through elaboration i.e. goes on to explain why and what they think.
7. Phrase your questions so that the desired or "right" answer is not apparent to the applicant. Don’t ask leading questions, like, “don’t you think?”
8. Ask the easy questions first so as to make the interviewee feel comfortable.
9. Alternate between easy, non-threatening questions and more difficult, pointed ones.

Linking interview questions to assignment questions.

Finally, the 10-12 interview questions developed must have a direct relation to the core questions for the assignment. If the question cannot be seen as linked to the core question, then don't ask it, unless just a "getting to know you" introduction type question. Here are the core questions for the assignment.

• How the people you interviewed would describe the main characteristics and values of their culture?

• How does their culture relate to Multicultural Australia?

• What have been the main changes (if any) they have seen to their culture in the time they have been in Australia?

• Are there any challenges to the maintenance of their culture in Australia?

Use the attached interview questions template to design the final selection of questions for your interview.  

You have to be taught

Image: Children in the Madang area of Papua New Guinea.

Contact me at 

The address for the Socialsense blog

The TSC Society and Culture Moodle

You’ve got to be carefully taught

What is this song from the musical South Pacific saying? At the time (1949) it caused quite a stir. Can you explain why?

Listen to it here
and also here.

Here are the lyrics

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!

Here is the background to the song.

Do you agree with what the song is saying?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Society is...?

Contact me at 

The address for the Socialsense blog

The TSC Society and Culture Moodle

A broad definition of society
Is the way people organise themselves. This involves groups of people, institutions, organisations and systems that people use to link themselves with others to form a society. For example our society in Australia is linked together through formal government and national identity (through sport, media etc).
A definition of human society
A human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Human societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent members.
When we study a society we talk about the social organisation, cultural nature, economic function and political governance of a society.  All of these are distinct aspects of a sociey but are all inter-related ane interdependent.
• Any society has characteristics which work together to create identity and the ability for the society to function as a unit.
1. In 100 words (your own), describe what you see as a society and what each of the following mean:
  • social organisation
  • cultural nature
  • economic function 
  • political governance of a society

Culture is...?

Image above: Festival on the Ganges River, India.

Contact me at 

The address for the Socialsense blog

The TSC Society and Culture Moodle

What is culture?

Now that we know that society is about the organisation and functioning of communities we need to look at the critical area of society called culture. It is time we tried to clearly describe what composes culture and what we need to look at when we study a culture. We have mentioned in class that it is to do with things such as values, beliefs, dress, food, art, norms, taboos and ways of behaving. The following slideshows give a more detailed and at times contested view of culture.

Sub cultures!
Within in any mainstream culture there are many sub-cultures within a culture.


Watch this Powerpoint on 'What is Culture'.

Cultural groups are different around the world, but so are the sub-cultural expressions of those who feel that they are on the fringes of society.

6 Foreign Subcultures you've Never Heard of. Dandies in Congo, emos in Iraq, electro-hillbilly truckers in Japan. No matter how hard life can be, people carve out original ways of living.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Looking for issues

Contact me at 

The address for the Socialsense blog

Looking for an issue of interest

Today we discussed the nature of issues in society and the need to look at our views on issues and express our opinion about them. Many of you had difficulty thinking about an issue of importance to you. I thought the following websites dedicated to exploring and providing information on issues would be a useful exercise for you to look at and see a topic/issue that you find of interest. You may even find an issue of interest that you could conduct research on later in the year when you are asked to undertake an issue investigation assignment. Start thinking about it now! Spend some time over the next week looking at these sites, identifying issues and learning about them.

Here are some sites to explore:

* Newspapers to explore for issues at

* Find out the facts on a wide range of issues at

* Research issues at the Social Issue Research Centre at

* Investigate a catalogue of issues at

* Find out information for issue studies at

* Investigate a directory of issues at

* Look at this Australian social action issue site at

* Here is a site full of issue ideas

Images: Protesting US style on the issue of peace outside of the White House, Washington

Your task before Wednesday is to pick 5 issues to add to our 'What is your opinion' worksheet and then pick an issue from the sheet (mine or yours and do a reaction statement). The reaction statement should be at 10-15 lines in length.