Objective: To apply a concept from the reading to analyze a communication situation (or œcase) from your life.
Description: In these response papers, you will apply one clear concept from the readings and apply it to a relationship from your own life. Draw on a concept that is
featured in the week’s readings and resonates with or œspeaks to your experiences. Make sure your paper is about an organizational experience if possible.
Worth: 100 points
3 to 4 pages long (not counting the title page or the reference page)
Your paper should have clear and understandable sentences and paragraphs
Your paper must be proofread and virtually free from typographical errors
Typed, double-spaced, stapled (no plastic covers please)
APA style throughout the paper
I. Introduction (1 Paragraph)
Opening: Write 2-3 sentences that guide your audience to the thesis. Your opening should go from general to specific. If your paper is about your family
communication, for example, your first sentence should be about family communication generally. Your next sentence or two should probably discuss some issue
within family communication. Your opening frames the topic for us and leads to your thesis
State the purpose of the essay: This short sentence explains what the essay does. For example, œIn this essay, I apply family systems theory to my recent
discussion with my mother and father about how to spend the holidays.
Thesis: Give one clear sentence that states the argument in your paper. A good thesis is a clear, concise thesis. For example, œI argue that my family made showed
high levels of communication but low levels of conformity in our discussion.
Preview: Preview the main remaining parts of the paper. Keep it short. First, I explain family systems theory, next I analyze my family’s discussion, and finally, I
offer some practical recommendations.
Part 1 (Concept)
II. Define and explain the main concept you focus on in the forthcoming case (1 paragraph)
Write a well-developed paragraph with a clear topic sentence.
Define the concept clearly.
Quote and cite passages directly from the text with author’s last names, date, and page numbers.
Do not start a sentence with a quotation from the text. You must introduce all quotations. E.g., Littlejohn and Foss (2008) explain that strategic ambiguity
describes how œpeople may communicate unclearly but still accomplish their goals (p. 32). Also, explain the concept in your own words clearly and provide some
brief examples to illustrate it. Do not yet introduce or discuss anything from your case.
Put the concept in your own words, but don’t stretch its meaning.
Provide a brief example that illustrates the concept in action
Part 2 (œcase)
II. Analyze your case (2 or so paragraphs)
Use a clear topic sentence that mentions the case and the concept. E.g., œMy boss recently used strategic ambiguity to discuss the cleanliness of the office.
Explain the case in detail.
Be sure to provide lots of communication details (e.g., vivid details, direct quotes from conversationsas accurately as you can remember). The communication
involved is your œdata.
Vague or general statements (e.g., œWe were yelling at each other.) will make for poor analyses. Get specific and detailed. Give us a œslow motion look at key
moments in the communication.
Important: As you explain your case, use the vocabulary of the theory to œpick apart or analyze what is/was happened in the case. Quote and cite a source to
support your point
Important: Toward the end of this section once your story is told, be sure to provide a few thoughtful analytical sentences that tie the examples in the case
together with the concept.
III. Recommendations (Provide 3 recommendations, 1 paragraph for each recommendation)
Give a good topic sentence that mentions œrecommendations. E.g., œI draw three recommendations from the analysis above.
Based on the theory and the case, what are 1-2 pieces of advice you would give yourself? What are 1-2 pieces of advice you can offer to the other person(s)
Important: Develop one full paragraph for each recommendation. Also, include one recommendation for the other person/people involved (2-3 recommendations
Number each recommendation clearly. E.g., œFirst, I should have asked clarifying questions to make sure . . . œSecond, I should have offered some examples to get
my bosses reaction to . . . œThird, my boss should have just told us exactly what he wanted because . . .
What should you have done? Use the word œshould. What should you do differently the next time your in a situation like that. Give hypothetical examples that
show ideal communication.
Base your advice on the concepts from the theory and the case. Don’t simply give advice from your everyday common sense.
Cite a source somewhere in the middle of each recommendation paragraph to support your point.
IV. Conclusion (1 paragraph)
Signal the end of the essay. E.g., œIn conclusion, . . . (or something like it)
Restate the purpose of the essay
Restate the thesis
End with a final thought or two that reflects or looks forward in some way