Written report


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The goals of this class require that we cover a variety of theories related to human communication. We use a textbook that provides summaries of human communication theories grounded in primary research, but we do not examine any of that research first hand. For this paper, you are asked to go beyond these limitations to examine primary research on a particular topic related to human communication.

General guidelines:

  1. Your paper should be 3-4 pages in length, not including your title page or reference page. Papers that deviate from this length by more than half a page in either direction will receive a grade reduction.
  2. You do NOT need an abstract, but you should follow APA formatting guidelines in all other respects (title page, citations, running head, page numbering, reference list, etc.).
  3. Your paper is to be typed using 12-point fonts and 1-inch margins and double-spaced throughout.
  4. Your paper must be in Word format (either .doc or .docx). PDF, Pages, and all other formats are unacceptable.
  5. Your paper is due by 10 pm (not midnight) on its assigned due date.

Specific guidelines:

1. Locate an article (published 2015 – present) published in a communication journal that reports original research on human communication. By “original research,” I mean an article that presents new, previously unpublished data. Articles that contain only a literature review, meta-analysis, or presentation of theory are not appropriate for this assignment. Journals likely to have an appropriate article include:

  • Communication Monographs
  • Communication Quarterly
  • Communication Research
  • Communication Studies
  • Human Communication Research
  • Journal of Communication
  • Journal of Nonverbal Behavior
  • Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
  • Management Communication Quarterly
  • Mass Communication and Society
  • Personal Relationships
  • Small Group Research
  • Southern Communication Journal
  • Western Journal of Communication
  • Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media

This list is not exhaustive, so you can locate an article from a journal not listed here as long as the article is about some aspect of human communication. You can locate an article by conducting a topic search using a database such as Google Scholar, PsycINFO or the Communication & Mass Media Complete database, which are available through the library’s website. If you are not sure whether an article is appropriate for this assignment, ask me.

2. Organize your paper about the article into four sections:

A. Section 1 should describe the assumptions of the theoretical framework tested in the article. Think of this as a summary of assumptions or definitions concluding with a brief overview of the hypotheses or research questions advanced. Do not feel as though you have to repeat every argument or hypothesis verbatim; rather, try to provide a coherent summary of the main ideas.

B. Section 2 should summarize what research method was used to investigate the research question. What did the authors do to collect their data?

C. Section 3 should summarize the conclusion supported by the research. What did the researchers find? It is not necessary to describe the statistical tests if any are presented. Instead, try to describe in plain English what the conclusions of the study are.

D. Section 4 should identify what you consider to be the major implications of the research findings. In other words, why are the research results important or meaningful? Do these results suggest implications for human behavior in general, or communication in particular? Notice that in this part of the assignment, you are going beyond a summary to provide your own commentary on the results of the study.

NOTE: Someone who reads your paper should be able to determine where the four sections begin and end. Using headings is a useful way to accomplish this (HINT: use the words printed in bold for your headings).

3. Include a reference page at the end of your paper in which you provide a citation to your article, formatted according to correct APA format. You are not required to cite any other sources in your paper, but if you do, they must be included in your reference list as well.

Evaluation: Your paper will be evaluated using these criteria:

1. Accurate and thorough presentation of the article’s theoretical framework. (out of 15 points)

2. Accurate and clear description of the method used in the article. (out of 15 points)

3. Accurate and clear report of the article’s conclusions. (out of 15 points)

4. Insightful and clear discussion of the article’s implications. (out of 10 points)

5. Proper APA formatting. (out of 5 points)

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