Length:  2-3 pages Format:  Double-spaced, 12 pt font (Times New Roman preferred), 1 inch margins

General Directions

Length:  2-3 pages
Format:  Double-spaced, 12 pt font (Times New Roman preferred), 1 inch margins
Name:  Put your name and RUID number in the top left hand corner of the first page of the paper
Page Numbers: Insert a page number in the top right hand corner of each page

Bring a printed copy of the paper to class on Monday, February 12 and upload an identical copy to the Sakai Drop Box before class (by 4:30 PM)

Assignment Overview:

Identify a commonsense or working theory that you use that could be a scholarly theory if there were any systematic research to support it.  Analyze the theory in terms of the evaluation criteria presented in the textbook (Dainton & Zelley, 2019).  Propose a way to study the theory to assess its applicability in the “real world.”

Structure of the Paper:

Paragraph 1: Identify a commonsense or working theory that you are familiar with or that you use in your daily life.  Clearly label it as a commonsense or working theory.  Briefly describe the theory. (NOTE:  Do not use any of the examples discussed in class.)

Paragraphs 2-6: Analyze the theory in terms of the evaluation criteria discussed in the textbook and in class (i.e., accuracy, practicality, succinctness, consistency, and acuity).  Write one paragraph on each criterion and how it applies to the theory.

Paragraph 7: Discuss whether or not the theory is a good theory based on these criteria.  If it does not meet all of the criteria, does that make it a “bad theory” or are some criteria more important than others?

Paragraph 8:  Propose one way to test this theory using one of the four methods of communication research discussed in the textbook (Dainton & Zelley, 2019) and in class (i.e., experiments, surveys, textual analysis, and ethnography).

Additional Information:

You do not need to cite any scholarly sources for this paper (e.g., journal articles, book chapters, etc.).  You may choose to use material from the textbook.  If you quote specific material from the textbook, you should reference it using APA style and include the page number if you are using a direct quotation.

For example:

Dainton and Zelley (2019) contend that “research is a fundamental part of theory development” (p. 18).


It is important to provide research support for a theory because “research is a fundamental part of theory development” (Dainton & Zelley, 2019, p. 18).

If you cite material from the textbook, include a complete reference to the book at the end of your paper:


Dainton, M., & Zelley, E. D.  (2019).  Applying communication theory for professional life: A practical introduction, 4th ed.  Los Angeles, CA:  Sage.

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