CONFLICT SYNTHESIS FINAL PAPER
The group paper is designed to advance your understanding of a specific topic related to conflict by researching that topic, applying theories, ideas, and concepts gleaned from class to provide context for your topic, and then exploring your topic and practical recommendations based on your research. Through the course of the paper, you will complete a literature review of your chosen topic. You will then provide greater context for the topic (that is, why is this topic important; how does it fit into the bigger conversation about conflict communication that we’ve had all semester long; and elaborate on how your topic is related to larger ideas like gender, culture, and conflict communication theories). You will also be asked to engage in a research activity outside of class as a group to explore how your phenomenon works on a more practical level. Finally, you will outline a series of no fewer than three recommendations (with at least two based on your research) for how people can engage with your phenomenon successfully.
STEP 1: CHOOSE A PHENOMENON & WRITE A LITERATURE REVIEW
If you haven’t already, you will need to work with your group to choose a specific topic related to conflict communication that you are interested in exploring. Once you have selected a phenomenon to be the focus of your paper, review some of the literature on this topic to gain a better understanding of it. The first section of your mediation paper will be a literature review on the phenomenon that you have chosen. You must use a minimum of 8 scholarly sources in your literature review to define the phenomenon, explain some of the causes of the phenomenon, identify some of the consequences of the phenomenon, and/or describe some of the other variables that are affected by the phenomenon. You must also provide insight into the broader context of your phenomenon (that is, where and how does it fit in with other topics and conversations about conflict communication). In your literature review, you should also create an argument for why your topic is relevant and how it might be influenced or understood using different lenses (e.g., culture, gender, conflict theories, etc.).
STEP 2: ENGAGE IN RESEARCH EXPLORATION
For this part of your paper, I am asking you to complete some sort of research activity. I have left the definition of “research” intentionally broad to allow for your own creativity and inventiveness in how you want to explore you topic. You made decide to interview relevant individuals on their thoughts/opinions/experiences with your phenomenon; compare popular culture notions of your phenomenon with what we know from research; or actively engage in an systematic effort of self-evaluation and improvement with regards to your phenomenon. These are just a few ideas. You must have both your topic and your research activity approved by me. Once you have an approved research activity, you will engage in it. In your paper, you will provide a summary of the activity and its relevance/appropriateness for your topic. You will also outline your “findings” or what conclusions were made based on your research activity.
STEP 3: OUTLINE PRACTICAL RECOMMENDATIONS
Having researched your topic, it is now your job to bring these two sections of your paper together to make practical recommendations about your phenomenon. What should people know about your topic to more fully understand conflict? How can they use the knowledge you’ve obtained to better engage in conflict? Are their practical emotional, social, relational, or health benefits to be gleaned from your research? In this section, you will outline a minimum of three practical recommendations, and at least two of them must be based on your research into the scholarly literature surrounding conflict (that is, your reading and understanding of scholarly articles). The final recommendation may be based on research or more informal sources (that is, the outcome of your research activity and/or personal experience).
SUGGESTED ORGANIZATION OF THE PAPER
One paragraph introduction
Clearly identify your topic of interest that will be the focus of the paper
Offer a thesis/goal statement
Preview what is to come in the paper
Literature Review on the Phenomenon
Define your topic
Discuss the major components of the phenomenon and identify some of the major antecedents, consequences, or correlates of your topic
Provide context for your topic
Outline its relevance of discussion and its importance
Discuss how different lenses (culture, gender, supportive theories, etc.) might provide insight into your topic
Summarize your research activity, explaining its relevance
Explain the outcomes or findings of your activity (minimum of two, at least one paragraph each)
Outline practical implications
Explain how what you learned in your scholarly research matched (or did not match) the conclusions of your research activity
Outline three recommendations based on your scholarly research and your experience with the research activity (minimum of three; at least one paragraph for each recommendation)
Outline how you plan to integrate what you learned through writing this paper into your own lives
Summarize what was included in the paper
Highlight the important or interesting points that you made in this paper
Close with a final statement that marks the end of the paper
Reference page including APA citations for all sources
Papers should be typed in a readable, 12-point font, double-spaced, with one inch margins. Papers should be between 12-15 pages, not including your references. Please use APA style for all citations in the text and on the reference page. Please separate each section of the paper with an appropriate heading. Don’t forget to proofread, spell check, and use proper grammar.
The overall tone of your paper should be professional and scholarly. That said, when outlining your hands-on activity, you can use personal pronouns (“I”, “we”, etc.), though you should still maintain a professional tone.
You must include a minimum of 8 scholarly sources in your paper. While you may certainly use articles and readings from class (and, if you do use them, you should cite them properly), they will not count towards your 8 sources. You, as a group, must go out and do your own research to generate at least 8 scholarly sources.
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