Loading Library Hours...

Comm 336 (Delaney)

CMN 336: Family Communication

Fall 2012

Assignment Description

Your task in this assignment is to think critically and theoretically about media portrayals of family communication. Choose a 2-3 minute clip from a television show or film that focuses on an interaction between family members. Then, think about how the theories, concepts, and behaviors we talk and read about in class can inform us about first, your particular video clip and then, about family communication in general. There are three major learning goals for this assignment:

  1. Students should become skilled in applying course information to the media they consume on a consistent basis.
  2. Students should acquire the ability to identify nurturing and controlling behaviors in interactions and describe those behaviors in the bigger context of family culture.
  3. Students should develop an in-depth understanding of a communication theory and its applicability to family interactions.

Paper Guidelines

Your paper should be 8 to 11 pages long and consist of the following 5 sections:

  1. Introduction: Spend approximately a page introducing the major theme of your paper. Here, you’ll want to introduce us to the behavior(s) and theory you’ll be covering and draw readers into your writing.
  2. Clip description: In one to one and a half pages, describe the clip you are analyzing. Give brief descriptions of the characters, the setting, and the interaction. In this section, it is important to focus on the communication behaviors and how they fit into the story.
  3. Behavior analysis: In two to three pages, analyze the nurturing and controlling behavior that your “participants” exhibited in their interaction. Here, you’ll want to integrate academic research to be able to make claims about not only what is going on in your clip, but some big picture claims about family in general.
  4. Theory synthesis: In three to four pages, integrate your theory into your analysis of the clip. This section is where you will first describe an important communication theory, then synthesize the premise of the theory into your analysis of your media clip. As in the previous section, you should use academic research to move beyond analysis of your clip into making claims about family interaction in general.
  5. Conclusion: Spend up to a page summarizing your clip and the ways that communication concepts and theories helped you to understand the content of the interaction. As you conclude, be sure to speak to (a) what kind of conclusions we can draw about communication based on this work, and (b) future avenues for research in this context.

Paper Formatting Guidelines:

Paper formatting guidelines

  • 8-11 double spaced pages
  • Stapled
  • 1-inch margins on all four sides
  • 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Include an APA style cover page, running head, and page number

APA Guidelines

Writing and Research Guidelines

  • In the analysis sections of your paper, you should cite at least eight academic sources. These sources can be handbook chapters, textbooks, or peer-reviewed journal articles.
  • These eight sources should not be class readings, although you are welcome to supplement your research with items we cover in class.
  • Your writing should be clear and free from grammatical errors. Be sure to use standard introductions and conclusions and proofread your paper carefully before the final due date.

Print Sources

  • Encyclopedia of Communication Theory Call number: 302.203 En 192 (on the reserve shelf at the Communications Library)

Suggested keywords for searching

  • Family, Family Relations, Father, Mother, Parenting, Parents, Adolescents, Children, College students, Young adults, Adult, Elderly, Spouse, Pregnancy, Communication, Conversation

Videos of TV Programs

  • Modern Family (Seasons 1-3)    Note: you may view these videos in the Comm Library Media Room

Citation Assistance

Can’t find what you need? Email us at: comlibrarian@library.illinois.edu. Or, visit the Communications Library

Library Hours: Mon-Thurs: 8 am-12 am; Fri: 8 am-5 pm; Sat: 1-5 pm; Sun: 1 pm-12 am