COMM 130: Interpersonal Communication

Danielle Powell

The purpose of this assignment is to give each student the opportunity to analyze and evaluate the development of a significant relationship of his/her choosing (the relationship does not have to be romantic). Students will begin by identifying the person and briefly describing the relationship, then using the principles that we have studied all quarter to analyze this relationship. Through this assignment, each student will realize the importance of various influences on communication within relationships (such as one’s self-concept, various verbal and nonverbal factors, self-disclosure, emotions, etc).

Your 5-8 pages essay should demonstrate a clear and correct understanding of the concepts as they pertain to the development of this significant relationship. Your essay should be typed in 12 point, Times New Roman font and double-spaced. It should be well-written, organized and free of grammatical and spelling errors. For writing assistance, you may visit the Student Learning and Resource Center in Building 5.


1. List three communication objectives or goals you want to achieve (i.e. information you want to learn about your interpersonal communication within this relationship, and in what areas do you want to improve in order to become a more competent and more cognitively complex communicator) as you examine the development of this significant relationship. Please be specific and make sure your objective/goal is related to a specific aspect of communication that you have learned/read about thus far in this class (so for example, if you have had trouble listening effectively to your significant person, then one of your goals should be related to some specific aspect of listening more effectively that you read about in chapter 7, etc.) Draft of Objectives/Goals: _____________ (Refer to Tentative Weekly Schedule for Due Date)

2. Find at least one scholarly source (in addition to your textbook) that provides you with more information that will help you to accomplish your objectives/goals. Your sources should be within the last seven years. To cite your sources in the paper use in-text citations using the APA format. Please refer to your Style Manual for Communication Studies for the instructions on how to correctly cite sources within the paper and in the References section.

3. Take notes on and outline the following over the next couple of weeks (these notes will ultimately result in the content of your essay: (please note that you must have information in your paper from each of the categories below to guide you throughout the paper. You may also develop your own questions based on content from course materials that relate more specifically to your own goals): Outline due: ___________(Refer to Tentative Weekly Schedule for Due Date)

Format of Outline: please note that your final paper will NOT be in outline format and will include an introduction and conclusion to the paper (though those parts are not required for the outline). This outline serves as preparation for the final paper.

Be sure to include in-text citations (in APA format) throughout your outline of information from the textbook and from your scholarly source that you will use in your paper (and provide a reference page with your outline in APA format)

I. Relationship Development:

A. Consider the variables that we have studied that apply to why we form relationships (attraction, similarity, differences, proximity, etc.).

1. How did these variables function in the beginning of your relationship?

2. How do these variables function now that you have a more established relationship?

B. Consider your relationship in terms of the stages of escalating and deescalating relationships.

1. How did you move from one stage to another (what were some turning points)? Where are you now? What tells you this?

2. Be sure to talk about the levels and types of intimacy and the impact your self-concept has on intimacy in your relationships.

3. What suggestions for improving close relationships might be beneficial for you and your relationship?

C. Consider how dialectical tensions function in this relationship?

1. Give at least two specific examples

2. Describe how you managed the tension.

II. Communication Patterns/Behaviors in the Relationship:

A. Consider the role self-disclosure plays in this relationship.

1. Why/what reasons do you self-disclose in this relationship?

2. What benefits have you found in self disclosure?

3. How important is honesty in this relationship? Do you occasionally need to use ‘alternatives’ to self-disclosure, and why? Give a specific example and discuss the results of such behavior on the relationship.

4. What guidelines for disclosure could you use to improve/enhance the relationship?

B. Consider how the influences on emotional expression (listed on pp. 121-125) have affected your communication in this relationship.

1. What guidelines for expressing emotion could you use to improve/enhance the relationship?

2. Include any other pertinent information from this chapter that relates to emotional expression in your relationship.

C. In what situations do you listen mindfully and in which do you listen mindlessly when interacting with this significant person in your life?

1. Identify the situations in which you listen ineffectively and the poor listening habits you use in those circumstances?

2. What listening styles could you use to respond more effectively in those situations?

D. What role does metacommunication play in this relationship?

1. What is your understanding of what you read in the chapter regarding metacommunication?

2. What types of communication behaviors do you usually discuss in your relationship?

III. Communication Climate of the Relationship:

A. What do you feel is the overall communication climate of your relationship?

1. What types of confirming and disconfirming messages do you use in this relationship?

2. What kinds of confirming and disconfirming messages do the other person in this relationship use? Give at least two specific examples of the use of these messages.

B. Consider the types of conflict that typically occur in your relationship.

1. What do you feel the conflict(s) that you generally have with this individual are about?

2. What conflict rituals exist in your relationship?

3. How do you handle/manage conflict (i.e.which styles do you generally use and what constructive conflict skills might you employ to manage these conflicts more effectively)?

C. Overall, what is your level of satisfaction in the relationship?

1. What could/should be changed?

2. What is your prediction for how effective communication interactions will be in the future of this relationship? This should be discussed in the conclusion to your paper.

Format of the Paper: Please include the various sections of this project in the order listed below and include in a folder with the three parts below separated by dividers. Also, you must print and include the Relational Analysis Assessment Form (located on Web Access) in the binder as well. Your paper should be typed in 12 point, Times New Roman font and double-spaced. It should not be longer than 8 pages.

Completed Draft of the Paper is Due: _______ (Refer to Tentative Weekly Schedule for Due Date).

Final Paper is due: __________ (Refer to Tentative Weekly Schedule for Due Date).

Name and Student ID Number:

COMM 130: Class day and Time

Relational Analysis Paper

Due Date of Assignment


I. Objectives: List the three communication objectives/goals that you sought to achieve

with this assignment (Please type in complete sentences)




The objectives should be listed before the introduction (but doesn’t count as part of your 8 page total for part II)

II. Analysis: This is the most important section and will comprise your essay. Please

use the notes that you have taken in your outline to write this section of

your paper. This portion should be in paragraph/essay format (introduction to the paper, body, and conclusion with transitions between each paragraph). Be sure to include the following:

· Your introduction should provide an overview to your paper.

· Your first body paragraph should introduce the person you’ve chosen for this assignment and briefly describe the relationship.

· Your second body paragraph should explain the communication objectives/goals you set for yourself and explain how you worked to achieve or make progress towards them. Please be sure to incorporate information from your scholarly article in this section, explaining how the information you’ve read might help you to accomplish your goals. You should incorporate information from the scholarly source in other applicable parts of your paper as well. Be sure to provide in-text citation in APA format when quoting/citing information from the textbook and your scholarly sources. Information that is not properly documented will be counted as plagiarism and any student found guilty of plagiarizing will receive a grade of F on this assignment as that is a serious offense that could also result in disciplinary action.

· The following paragraphs should expound on the notes you took on each of the various aspects noted in the sections of the outline (in the order/sections listed above). Please be sure to incorporate language and concepts from the textbook throughout these paragraphs

· Your conclusion should provide an overall summary of the paper, your level of satisfaction with the relationship, your prediction for how effective communication interactions might be in the future of this relationship if you all work on the aspects of communication noted throughout the paper, as well as what you learned from this experience.

III. References page: List titles and author(s) of sources used (in APA format). This should be on a separate page from your essay. Please be sure to follow APA guidelines and refer to your Style Manual for Communication Studies for how to correctly document sources in the References page.

If you have any questions about this assignment, do not hesitate to ask me.

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