RELATIONAL COMM 113 - Mini-term Paper
April 21-30



1] Each person will prepare a 4-5 page mini-term paper which reviews a topic concerning some subset of Persusion. You may choose to investigate a specific theory, a specific line of research, or a specific topic. Topics are pretty open and there are thousands of potential areas to discuss.

2] Each paper should follow an approved format (e.g., APA, American Psychological Association; MLA, Modern Language Association, etc.). Journal articles or the texts can be modeled if you do not have access to a style manual. (11 or 12 point fonts only)

3] The paper must use at least three sources besides the text books (you donít have to use the text, of course). At least two of the sources consulted must be from a published journal article. The most likely journals to be relevant are typified by the examples that follow (although many sociology and psychology journals also have relevant resources (e. g, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology). Please provide a bibliography. Also, once you have a topic you can consult the Communication and Mass Media Complete in the Library Datebase services to find related articles of interest, or consult the articles you find in the bibliography of your main article.


1] The most effective strategy is to select a very narrow topic and do the research which allows depth in your analysis. Very generic treatments or topics will not be as favorably received. You will most likely find the initial topic you choose to be too broad and once you know enough about the topic, you can then focus your discussion on an even more narrow aspect. If you have a question about your topic selection, an appropriate direction to follow, or where to look for materials, stop by my office hours or by appointment and talk, but not until you have made an effort. If you are uncertain browse relevant journals, or turn to patterns, or situations, you have notice in "real life." I know that each person in the class has a life time of encounting persuasive messages which are interesting, have been written about or tested in the literature, and merit consideration.

2] The paper should:

a. Identify the major terms of the area/theory directly related to interpersonal; identify and explain major implications of the area investigated for understanding the persuasive process; identify limitations when appropriate

b. Most importantly you must do more than simply report - also provide your analysisand conclusions. Error toward putting the discussion is your own words, trust your own ability to make judgments and evaluations concerning research you review.

c. What does an "A" paper look like: (1) is narrow and provides enough details (evidence) for your conclusion, yet provides some overview of the importance, placement of your subject matter, (2) Is presented in your own language; adding personalization and readability; in other words, it is your words and not so jargon laden or source dependent as to be impenetrable (3) develops a somewhat unique or fresh topic, (4) makes an argument, takes a position and defends it, does not just repeat what the authors you read said and (5) is written in an engaging manner

3] 20% of the grade

Finding Topics and Literature for your paper

There are thousands of articles published on aspects of Persuasion from both social science and rhetorical points of view


THESE ARE ONLY SUGGESTIVE Explore several before choosing or conduct your own topic search.  Nearly all of the topics will be interesting once one knows more about them.

Active participation                                         Passive Participation                               Adaption level theory
Additive model                                                Advertising                                             Anchors
Anticipatory                                                    Attitude change                                       Argument Arousal
Assimilation effect                                          Attitude                                                   Attraction
Attribution                                                       Balance theory                                         Beliefs
Boomerang                                                      Conditioning Approaches                       Cognitive Algebra
Congruity                                                        Dissonance                                              Commitment
Comprehension                                               Contrast Effects                                       Counterarguing
Credibility                                                       Ego-defense                                            EMG Response
Channel                                                           Fear Appeal                                             Foot-in-the-Door
Forewarning                                                    Forgetting                                                Functional theory
Mindlessness                                                  Identification                                           Impression Manage
Incentives                                                        Inoculation theory                                   Insufficient Justification
Intelligence                                                      Involvement                                            Judgment approaches
Intelligence                                                      Involvement                                            Judgment approaches
Latitude of Acceptance/rejection                      Mere Exposure                                        Message logic
Order Effects                                                   Compliance gaining                                 Warning Labels
Motivational approaches                                 Learning theories                                     Ownness bias
Perceptual approaches                                     Persistence                                              Perspective theory
Intentionality                                                   Polarization                                             Positivity bias
Power                                                              Role playing                                            Schema theory
Recency effect                                                 Propaganda                                             Reactance theory
Door-in-the-Face                                             Low-balling                                             Self-esteem
Self awareness                                                self-monitoring                                        Self-perception
Sleeper effect                                                   Social Judgment                                      Rate of speech
Interactive Technologies                                  Reasoned Action                                     Agenda setting
Value systems                                                 Metaphor                                                 Audience Analysis
Bandwagon                                                     Non-verbal                                              Cultural Approach
Social movements                                           Charisma                                                Health Subjects
Delivery                                                          Dramatic pentad                                      Reasoning
Emotional appeals                                           Ethical issues                                           Ethos
Evidence                                                          Dissemination of Inform.                        Grammatical forms
Humor                                                             Image in campaigns                                 Logical appeals
Health campaigns                                            Safety campaigns                                    fundraising
Motivated sequence Messages                        Narratives                                              Vagueness in
Association                                                     Slogans                                                   Repetition
Rhetorical vision                                             Modeling                                                 Scripts
Semantic Axis                                                 Language & Persuasion                          Style
Subliminal                                                       Testimony (Legal)                                   Visual evidence
Legitimization                                                  Disassociation                                         Mind control
Intercultural aspects                                         Interposed                                               Selective exposure
Distortion                                                        Forgetting                                                Attention
Salience                                                           Persuasibility                                           Age factors
Gender factors                                                 Conformity                                              Media effects
Cognitive response                                          Spiral of Silence                                      Critical events
Political spots                                                  Group membership                                 Habit
Episodes                                                          Environmental constraints                       Visual imagery
Ingratiation                                                      Heuristic processing                                Memory
Scarcity                                                           Authority                                               Behavior Modification