Theory paper -Analysis of the Attribution theory- communication major

Comm 89 Theory Paper


Evaluate the utility of an academic theory by examining its applications to everyday life. Enhance your ability to understand academic theory as explained by an outside source and to apply theoretical concepts with organization and clarity. Demonstrate original thought in analysis of utility.


  1. Choose an episode from your life.

Choose one of the two following types of brief (1-3 minutes) real life communicative episodes (any communication interaction between 2 or more individuals). Do NOT attempt to use a movie scene.

  1. a) First-hand experience: an incident in which you met and/or communicated with someone.
  2. Observed episode: an incident in which you witnessed 2 or more others communicating.
  1. Select a theory from those on the schedule prior to the midterm. Choose one that will help you understand your communicative episode and that might also be beneficial for understanding your future communication interaction.
  1. Find at least one main academic source (NOT your textbook or lecture notes) that explains the theory.

This main source must be published and will most likely to be either a chapter in an edited book or a journal article that provides a thorough explanation of the theory.

A journal article with an experimental study is unlikely to provide a thorough explanation of the theory, but is a very useful additional source for discussing the utility of the theory. (Use these in your utility section.)

Your textbook and lecture notes do not count as main sources, nor do Internet sources from Wikipedia, online or other class lecture notes, etc.

  1. Based on your main source(s), explain the theory in your own words. Additional research, such as experiments, course readings can be included to further enrich your explanation of the theory. Explain all key concepts of the theory (unless it is particularly complex, then select just a few key points). Do NOT cite lecture –– it is not a published source.
  1. Analyze your communicative episode in terms of the theory as described in your main source(s). Cover all key concepts mentioned in your explanation and do NOT add any additional concepts in this section.
  1. Discuss how the theory has benefitted you/others in understanding and learning about your communicative episode. What did you gain? What could the theory not do for you? Why?
  1. Discuss how the theory could benefit you/others in understanding and guiding future communicative interactions. What could you gain? What could the theory not do for you? Why?
  1. Discuss how the theory could be beneficial in other types of communication contexts. What could be gained by applying this theory to various interactions? What could it not do? Why? Give examples. Use your additional scholarly sources, such as experiments, in this section to help address utility. Do NOT evaluate the theory on criteria such as parsimony, heurism, or falsifiability.
  1. Follow Format & Writing Guidelines on next pages. You must create the sections and headings specified in the formatting guidelines.



Choose a theory from those listed on current course schedule prior to midterm.

Use APA Style. (Refer to PurdueOwl or the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) for examples of APA Style.)

Papers should be 5-7 pages in length and formatted according to guidelines on next page.

All papers must be typed and double-spaced with one-inch margins and submitted in hard copy.

Cite all your sources in the text of the paper (using APA style).

Include a reference list (also in APA style).

Use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.


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