Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to comprehensively analyze one theory of communication and become an expert on this theory. You will also be creating a one-page handout of this theory for your classmates (which will help everyone in studying for their future comprehensive exam).

Process: There are two parts to this assignment: 1) A written report (detailed below) and 2) A presentation and handout. Please see the presentation assignment for the presentation portion of this assignment.

Steps for the Written Report:


1. Read the chapter in Dainton & Zelley text about your theory (if it is available). Use this information as a starting point for building your understanding.

2. Find articles and/or chapters in which the theorist(s) as the original author(s) discusses and/or describes the theory. If it all possible, find a foundational (original) statement of the theory. Hint: Start with a recent article and review its reference list. This may provide a citation for the foundational piece(s). Example: If you select symbolic interactionism, then you would be expected to find and read some portion of Mead’s Mind, Self and Society, and Blumer’s Symbolic Interactionism.

3. Find and read ten peer reviewed articles that incorporate your theory.  Continue to conduct a literature search for academic journal articles that test or employ this theory. You may need to use terms associated with the theory as well as the theory itself. Focusing on articles that appear in communication, business, marketing and/or leadership journals will also help you narrow your search. Based upon the titles and abstracts, compile a list of context areas (e.g., interpersonal, small group, organizational, intercultural, public relations, interactive marketing communication, crisis communication, etc.) in which the theory has been applied and/or tested. This will give you a sense of whether the theory has been applied in mainly one context.

II. Writing the Report

You will individually write a report on your theory.  Please use headers, bullet points and lists to organize your report.

Your report should include the following sections:

a. A summary of the major tenets of the theory (1-2 pages) supported with credible, peer-reviewed, academic sources and APA citations.

b. A list of all of the contexts in which the theory has been applied. For each context provide a representative citation for a study in that context.

c. Five summaries of research studies grounded in the theory.  Summarize the theories including the following information: i. A full citation for each article in APA style ii. Identify the Research questions/hypotheses iii. Method (e.g., survey) and Findings/Conclusion. Each study should be approximately one paragraph (e.g., 4-6 sentences).

d. An analysis of the theory in which you answer the following questions (1-2 pages): i. How does this theory define communication? ii. How would you evaluate this theory utilizing our text’s criteria? 1. Accuracy 2. Practicality 3. Simplicity 4. Consistency and 5. Acuity.

e.  What are the practical applications of this theory?  In other words, how would one apply this theory in practice?

f.  Create a 1 page handout to help your classmates better understand this theory.  This handout should help someone unfamiliar with the theory have a solid understanding about what the theory is, who the key authors are, how it is utilized, and how to best implement it in practice.  Creativity is highly rewarded.  You will provide a hard copy of this handout (or a PDF) to your classmates at the time of your presentation. Even though the presentation will be with a partner, each individual needs to create their own handout.

III.  Format of the Written Report:

i. 12 point, Times New Roman font, black type: 8-10 pages (approximately) double-spaced throughout. ii. APA 6th Edition format for references. (Title and reference pages do not count toward page total)


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