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In this Gordon Rule Writing course, you will complete three writing assignments that build on each other to facilitate your progress.
The goal of these writing assignments is for you to sharpen your research skills, apply communication theory to everyday life, and demonstrate college-level writing skills.
1. Select Section From the sections of our course textbook on communication theories, you will choose three sections to base your three Theoretical Review papers on. For the Theoretical Review Paper_1, you will work with the first section of the course textbook — The Self and Messages. This section is assigned to you to get us started with the writing assignments, however, going forward in the course you will be able to choose the section you want to focus on for each Theoretical Review Paper. The sections you can choose from are below and they align with the sections of the course textbook.
The sections on communication theories are:
The Self and Messages (Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7)
Relationship Development (Chapters 8, 9, 10, 11)
Groups and Organizations (Chapters 14, 17)
Culture and Diversity (Chapters 27, 28)
Public and Media (Chapters 18, 21, 25, 26)
2. Select a Theory from each section
From each section, you will select a theory you will research and write about in your Theoretical Reveiw Paper. For the first Theoretical Review Paper you will select theory/theories from (1) The Self and Messages (Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7); choose one theory to research.
With that theory, you should research how the theory applies to some aspect of communication of interest to you. For example, here are some topics (sections of the text, theories, communication aspect) that other students have previously chosen:
The Self and Messages
Symbolic Interactionism (theory), intrapersonal communication (communication context), and self-esteem among college students (situation or issue from everyday life).
Symbolic Interactionism (theory), intrapersonal communication (communication context), and its relationship to body-shaming (situation or issue from everyday life).
Coordinated Management of Meaning theory, intrapersonal communication (communication context), and its effects on the business environment (situation or issue from everyday life).
Cognitive Dissonance Theory, intrapersonal communication (communication context), and the effects on romantic relationships (situation or issue from everyday life)
Expectancy Violations Theory, intrapersonal communication, and employer/employee relationships (situation or issue from everyday life)
Relationship Development
Uncertainty Reduction Theory, interpersonal communication (or intrapersonal communication), and dating
Social Exchange Theory, interpersonal communication, and effects on sales and entrepreneurship
Groups and Organizations
Groupthink, group/organizational communication, and what happens when generating ideas in work groups
Organizational Information Theory, and how group projects may evolve
Culture and Diversity
Face-Negotiation Theory, interpersonal communication, and effects on sales or negotiations at work
Communication Accommodation Theory, interpersonal communication, and in-group/out-group dynamics at the University or work
Public and Media
Rhetorical theory, visual communication and its relationship to performance (theater, spoken word poetry, rap)
Agenda Setting Theory, mass communication, and the music industry
Agenda Setting Theory, mass communication, and how the news station you watch shapes political beliefs
Cultural Studies, mass communication, and how neighbors influence one another’s public health beliefs
3. Research the theory in the FIU Library data base “Communication and Mass Media Complete.”
Find peer-reviewed sources having to do with the theory you chose and the aspect of communication you chose. You may have to play with the key terms and you may also have to adjust the communication aspect. For example, search “symbolic interactionism” and intrapersonal communication, or just search “symbolic interactionism” and from the results, search for the topic that is interesting to you.
It takes time to find articles about the theory and communication aspect; be patient and persistent.
4. The two main sections of the paper are the Problem Statement and the Review of Literature:
Problem Statement (approximately 500 words or 1/2 page) with a research question. Form a research question specific to the communication discipline (e.g., What is the relationship between culture, communication style, and preventative health practices? What are effects of the media on sports culture? What is the relationship between intrapersonal communication and motivation?).
Example of the Problem Statement
Here is an example of a problem statement, prepared by one of my students in a previous section of the Communication Theory course here at FIU: Sample Problem Statement and Annotated Bibliography_SPC3210-1.pdfPreview the document You don’t need to do the annotated bibliography shown in the example.
Review of Literature (approximately 3 pages). In the Review of Literature section of your paper, you will write about your secondary sources about your selected theory (minimum of two articles). The articles must be peer reviewed articles, published in an academic journal which you find in the FIU Library data base. You may also use textbooks, not including the course textbook. You’ll write a thorough review and synthesis (not description) of the sources, with some discussion of how it connects with your problem statement. Altogether you paper should be between 3-4 pages long. Within the Review of Literature section, you will have many sub-sections with sub-headings. Examples of the Review of Literature Here are examples of the Review of Literature:
5. Required Content
In your paper, you will need to address the following questions:
What research questions were the authors attempting to answer?
What methods did they use?
What did they find?
What unique information is set forth? What consistent information is set forth?
What arguments/reading portions connect with the theory you are researching and writing about?
6. Important Content to Include with the Required Content
In addition to those questions, be sure to think about and include some thoughtful discussion on:
Theoretical approaches
Applicable traditions
Appropriate communication contexts
Implications of the theory/theories in understanding communication everyday life
Also, think about:
Communication context/level (e.g. intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, organizational, public, mass or cultural communication)
The models of communication (linear, interactional, transactional)
The value of your topic (What significance does it have? Why do you care about it? Why should anyone care about it?)
Which of the seven traditions would be best to study your topic? (socio-cultural, socio-psychological, critical, semiotic, cybernetic, rhetorical, phenomenology)
Which research approaches to knowing are important for your topic? (positivistic/empirical, interpretive, critical)?
What types of questions are important to ask about your topic? (think about epistemology, ontology, axiology)
Which approach to theory building would be important to understanding your topic? (think theory building: deduction, induction)
Respond to each of the above questions in relation to your preferred topic, and then write a research question.
Here are some examples of research questions from previous Communication Theory students here at FIU: How are college students affected by the nonverbal communication of their romantic partners?
What is the relationship between negative intrapersonal communication and the performance of a college athlete while playing soccer (or any sport)?
What types of intrapersonal communication have the most influence on self-esteem?
How does communication in social media promote safer health practices in college students?
What effects of rhetoric promote the highest rates of voter registration among young adults in South Florida?
7. Here is more information on writing a review of literature: (Links to an external site.)
Look at this link and you will find samples: (Links to an external site.)
8. APA Style Paper
Each paper must be written and cited in APA style. A good source for learning APA style is: (Links to an external site.)
Use a cover page, abstract, and references page; cover, abstract, and references pages do not count toward the total page requirement
(Links to an external site.)
(Links to an external site.)
Your paper will be graded on the basis of the following:
All instructions and criteria have been followed
Content and how well you understand the communication theory course material, reasoning and how well you synthesize theoretical source material
Quality and quantity of your sources (authoritative, peer-reviewed, and a minimum of 2 sources per paper)
Writing: thesis statement, organization of entire paper and organization of each paragraph, syntax, mechanics, and grammar. Writing Rubric.pdfPreview the document
The problem statement should be approximately 1/2 page. The rest of the paper should be approximately 3 pages. Altogether (problem statement with the entire paper) you should have between 3-4 pages of writing.
Turnitin score must be lower than 15%
On-time submission
All writing assignments must be submitted to Canvas submission boxes by the posted deadline. Assignments submitted by any other means will not be accepted. Once your paper is uploaded to the appropriate Canvas submission box, it will be reviewed by Turnitin; you must have a Turnitin percentage no higher than 15% to receive credit for the assignment. Late work is only accepted due to extenuating circumstances for which medical documentation must be provided within one week. Late work is accepted only with the instructor’s express approval, based on medical documentation for the need to submit late work. Late work is subject to a 10% deduction for each calendar day that it is late.


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