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Communication Theory Paper Assignment

1.  Check your assignment instructions- number of journals may vary by instructor. Make sure you know the number and type (social science or rhetoric) to ensure you are fulfilling the first requirement for the assignment. 

2.  Don’t put the full title of the article in your paper- just refer to it as "this study" or "this essay/analysis"

3.  Refer to authors by last name only- if it is multiple authors, you may need to use "et. al" instead of listing them all

4.  FOCUS on the meat of the article not their lit reviews: For Social Science: Findings, Discussion, Results…. For Rhetoric: Focus on their analysis

5.  References are in alphabetical order by last name of the author starting with A- in text citations- do NOT re-order names of authors in a single article

6.  No personal stories- or really cool introductions- no OPINION and no arguing the “obvious” point of view- there isno BIAS in lit reviews

7.  Social Science DIRECT QUOTE= page number… If you are summarizing NO PAGE number needed for APA.

     Rhetoric DIRECT QUOTE= page number.. If you are summarizing INCLUDE the page number as well for MLA.

8.  FOR Rhetoric: NO Prolonged DISCUSSION OF YOUR ARTIFACT. Feel free to introduce your artifact and relate the articles to your artifact but there should be no one page plot summaries- block quotes or dialog from the script- or actual rhetorical analysis by YOU of the artifact.

9. This is NOT a book report- you need to synthesize your articles- arrange them by concept or theme or similarities- differences- Some articles may be mentioned in more than one section. One section may only have one relevant article. don't forget to mention any limitations and future research that should be done on your topic! 

10. Grade yourself with the grade sheet given to you by your professor so you don't leave anything out!!!

COMM 100:  Theories of Human Communication
Fall 2010   Cagle
[revised October 18, 2010]

Two papers on topics of interest in communication theory are required. These papers should be a thinkpiece based upon library research; seek out seminal books and articles.
Due Dates: 

  1. A first essay writing assignment was due September 27th
  2. A research paper is Wednesday, December 8th.  Details of the writing assignment are below.

Requirements:  The research paper can be on a theorist or theory of your choice.  This paper should be in the neighborhood of 5-7 typed pages. For all reports and papers written for this course, papers must be written in proper form and you must use either APA or MLA documentation style.  Each paper is a serious research assignment, so get started now.

This research paper should be a well-written thinkpiece based upon library research; seek out seminal books and articles related to your assigned topic.  Part of the assessment of your paper will be the quality of the research materials you are able to find. The content and references in Julia T. Wood’s textbook are meant to be an initial springboard for your understanding of the topic, but I want you to try to find and read the original books or articles that introduce this theory or theorist to the world.  Use book materials and peer-reviewed articles, not quick summary webpages.  Look in the citations and reference bibliographies of books and articles to find additional things to look at. 

Your paper must be submitted in Microsoft Office Word format.

Having an initial sense of what your paper will be about will help you find appropriate materials to read and think about.  In the course of thinking about and writing your paper, here are some things that might be good to include:

    • the general context of the theory—write about the significance of studying this aspect of communication
    • explication of the key elements of the theory
    • discussion of the place of the theorist in the scheme of things
    • exposition of criteria to be used in analyzing the theory
    • critical evaluation of your theory using this criteria
    • discussion of ways in which this theory can be helpful in addressing problems or meeting practical needs in the real world


A Few Theoretical Areas, Theorists, & Theories
to consider writing your research paper about:


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