Assignment: Write a 600-750 word essay (approximately 2-3 pages) that applies some concept or set of related concepts to an interpersonal relationship or a task-oriented group that you observe, or to some aspect of contemporary media culture. You may choose a friendly relationship, a family relationship, a romantic relationship, or any other interpersonal relationship you think is interesting. Or, you may choose a work related group, a club or team to which you belong, or any other task-oriented group you think is interesting. Or you may look at a relationship or group in a fictional popular culture text. Remember, the objective of this approach is to apply course concepts to an existing relationship or group, not to describe in lay terms a relationship or group of which you are a part. Alternatively, you may look at some aspect of media culture, such as the way different news outlets present a local issue, or at the way a particular group is represented in a media text. Your paper should have three parts: first, briefly describe the relationship, group, or text you are analyzing; second, identify and explain briefly the concept or concepts you are looking at; third, discuss how the concept helps you better understand some aspect of what you are analyzing. You might find that a particular relationship or group departs from what might be expected, and explain how and why. Again, the purpose of the assignment is to get you to apply course concepts, not merely to talk about your relationships or groups to which you belong, or about videos you watch. Be sure to look at what the text and lecture have to say about appropriate self disclosure in deciding what to write about.
Preparation: Look carefully at what the text about the concepts or topics that interest you. You may also find interesting and helpful concepts from verbal (Chapters 6 and 8) and nonverbal communication (Chapter 7). If you choose to look at a relationship or group to write about, be sure to choose something which you can look at with a certain amount of detachment, and which will not involve inappropriate self-disclosure, nor violate anyone’s confidence. Be sure to observe carefully the relationship you choose to analyze, and look for evidence to support your observations and claims. Don’t say, for example, “Self-disclosure is important in this relationship;” instead say, “The topics of conversation suggest that the relationship is developing because th involve more self disclosure,” or “The level of self-disclosure seems inappropriate to the relationship, as evidenced by discussions of very personal information.”
Other: Papers should be typed, double-spaced, with page numbers to identify from where in the text you have drawn material about concepts. Papers should follow the MLA Handbook guidelines for manuscript preparation. Be sure to look at the Criteria for Evaluating Written Work while preparing your essay. You may choose to submit your essay electronically; you must follow the Rules for Submitting Papers Electronically or I am likely not to receive your essay and you will receive a grade of “0” (zero).
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