Length and Formatting
Your paper will probably end up being at least 10 pages (at least 2,500 words) and very likely longer than that (there is no maximum limit on pages – take the space you need). Your paper should be double-spaced, use 1-inch margins, and Times New Roman 12-point font. An abstract is not required, but a title page and references page are. Your paper should be carefully proofed and edited, and should reflect university-level, upper-division writing proficiency. Papers that do not reflect university level writing proficiency will not be awarded any credit at all.
The Overall Structure of Your Paper
In terms of structuring this essay, your paper will ultimately be organized around your selected communication theory, (Agenda Setting Theory) (i.e., the body of your paper will not be organized around the communication problem). Here is the overall format and required content for your paper:
Introduction: Your introduction should be concise yet precise. I expect to see here a clear thesis statement and an accurate preview of each of the main points in body of your paper.
Statement of the Problem: The second paragraph of your paper should clearly define some kind of real-world communication problem. This can be any communication problem you select, but you need to be able to cite at least three published sources to support this discussion. In addition to stating what the problem is, you need to give evidence of inherency (the source of the problem) and the significance of the problem (by stating the harm caused by the problem, and giving evidence of the extent of the problem). Be sure you do not make unsupported assertions about this communication problem – you must provide some kind of cited evidence for the claims you make here. Your discussion should be no more than one paragraph in length (be precise!).
Next, supplement your discussion with a specific example in a single, clear paragraph that illustrates the problem. Do not blend your discussion of the problem and your example together; this one-paragraph example should come after you have thoroughly and completely discussed the require content (above) on the communication problem.
Theory Summary: This section starts with the fourth paragraph of your paper, and should probably be developed over about 4 to 6 paragraphs (or more if you really feel you need it). You will need to be particularly concise and precise here. Develop a clear summary that explains the basics of the theory you have selected for this assignment. In this discussion you should integrate (and properly cite) information from your textbook (West & Turner, 2018), the supplemental required readings posted on Canvas, and anything I have discussed about your theory in lecture (see the APA
(Links to an external site.)
style manual for details on how to cite course content).
While you must use (and define) the terminology associated with your theory, you should NOT quote either your textbook or the additional reading I have posted for you. You need to demonstrate your understanding of these sources by explaining the theory in your own words. Be sure to give careful and correct source citations for your paraphrasing, but do not quote.
In terms of organizing your discussion of theory, do not summarize source-by-source. All theories have “parts” – core concepts associated with the theory. Be sure you have broken down your theory into parts (sub-topics) and discuss each part of your theory thoroughly and completely. Within each of those sections, you will discuss (and cite) content from multiple sources that is relevant to that particular sub-topic.
For a smaller theory (e.g., attribution theory or cognitive dissonance) you would want to discuss the entire theory. For bigger theories (e.g., the coordinated o management of meaning or symbolic interactionism), you can select the major parts of the theory that are most relevant to the analysis in the second half of this paper, and do not need to cover the entire theory. If you are unsure about how much of a theory you should be covering in this part of your paper, consult with me.
Analysis and Application: The remainder of the body of your paper should be a series of well structured paragraphs. Each paragraph in the body of your paper should analyze your communication problem using one of the “parts” you discussed in the previous section of the paper (explained above). Each paragraph in the body of your paper should start with a clear topic sentence, should develop one clear central idea, and end with a transition to the next paragraph. Make sure that each paragraph in the body of your paper develops analysis and application. In these paragraphs, you are essentially using ONE part of your theory to say something about one part of your communication problem.
The paragraphs in this section are where you will create clear and direct links between the theory and your communication problem. Some questions you might want to consider answering in this section of your paper could include: What specific conclusions can be drawn from the theory to better understand the problem? What specific conclusions can be drawn from the theory to better understand the problem? What can you conclude that your theory says would make the problem worse? What can you conclude that your theory says would make the problem better? What specific advice can be drawn from the theory to create an effective, enduring solution to this problem? (Remember, however, that the body of your paper should be organized around the parts of your theory, not around these questions – I am simply giving you these questions to consider as you develop the content of your paper).
Conclusion: The conclusion of your paper should be concise. In addition to summarizing your paper, it might be useful for your conclusion to demonstrate what you have learned by conducting this analysis. I am also looking for you to make some sort of creative suggestion here, based on your analysis, of something that could be done to solve (or at least help) this communication problem. In making that creative suggestion, however, I want to see that your analysis in this paper was important in developing your solution. In other words, you won’t get much credit here if I get the sense that you could have suggested this solution without ever having used theory at all.
References: Make sure that you use correct source citations in APA 7th Edition
(Links to an external site.)
style throughout the body of your paper. The source citations in the body of your paper must correspond with this list reference page at the end of your paper. Every citation in the body of your paper must have a clearly corresponding reference at the end of your paper. Each reference in this list must be cited at least once (and often more than once) in the body of your paper.
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