Relational Communication: Term Paper Assignment

This 100-point assignment requires you to analyze, from a relational communication perspective, the (a) development, (b) maintenance, and/or (c) termination of a dyadic interpersonal relationship from your own life or from a movie, TV show, book, play, etc. You may NOT use relationships from any of these movies:


50 First Dates


The Breakup

The Office (U.S. version)

The Notebook

The Story of Us

Twilight (or any of the sequels)

When Harry Met Sally


To analyze the relationship, use theories/research findings other than social penetration theory that you have encountered in lecture and/or the readings. The parts of the paper and their corresponding point values are given below. 



Description (20 points). Describe the two participants in the relationship that you will analyze. Review what you know about the participants, including what you know about them from cultural, sociological, and psychological levels of analysis. One of the main participants may be YOU if you chose a relationship in which you are a participant. You should thoroughly describe each participant in the relationship, similar to how a character is introduced in a novel or a movie tell us who they are. In addition to cultural, sociological, and psychological levels of analysis you could also explain how the information was learned about each participant (i.e., how was the information revealed)? NOTE: You should not be analyzing the relationship in this section  analysis of the relationship should be in the next section; this first section should only describe the two people in the relationship.


Theoretical Analysis (60 points). Summarize the theories/research findings that you have chosen to use in your analysis. Then, show how those theories/research findings explain or add insight to the development, maintenance, termination, and/or communication that takes place within this relationship. To do this convincingly, you will need to be well versed in the language of the theories/research findings that you choose. Using the terminology and concepts specific to those theories/research findings, describe how the various features of the relationship and the communication correspond to the parts of the theories or the research findings. NOTE: This section is worth the most points; it should be the longest section of your paper.


Future Speculation/Conclusion (20 points). Some suggested questions to help you write this section: How do you think this relationship will progress in the future? If the relationship has already terminated, will it ever be revived? What obstacles will the participants have to negotiate going forward? What do theories and/or research findings predict about the future of this relationship? Are there things about this relationship that the theories or research findings do not explain well? If so, what are they? How would you explain them?


Other information:


-When you write your paper, USE THE THREE HEADINGS THAT CORRESPOND TO THE THREE DIFFERENT SECTIONS OF THE PAPER DESCRIBED ABOVE (i.e., Description, Theoretical Analysis, Future Spectulation/Conclusion).


-The paper should be approximately 5-7 pages long double spaced (not including title page or reference page 5-7 pages of text). The highest scoring papers tend to use the full seven pages. The point values should be used as a guide to give you an indication of how much space to dedicate to each section (e.g., do not spend 50% of the paper on the description). Format using APA style.

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