The Relationship Analysis Paper
Assignment Description and Grading Criteria
To conduct an in-depth analysis of an interpersonal relationship.
Establishing and maintaining satisfying and effective interpersonal relationships can improve the quality of our personal
and professional lives.
A 4-5 page, typed (double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins on all sides) paper that analyzes a
or past relationship involving you and one other person
. The relationship may be a positive/successful or negative/unsuccessful
one (but keep in mind that most relationships are a combination of those dimensions).
Potential relationship partners
include, but are not limited to, the following:
A romantic partner (boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse)
A close friend (same-sex or cross-sex)
An immediate family member (parent, step-parent, sibling)
An extended family member (grandparent, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew)
A co-worker or boss
: The textbook provides numerous conceptual/theoretical approaches for your analysis,
depending on the specific relationship you choose to analyze. Suggestions are presented below:
(addresses how perceptions of the self, others, and the environment affect communication and relationships):
Self-concept and self-esteem (pp. 56-61)
Perceptual processes (pp. 72-76)
(focus primarily on romantic relationships, but can be applied to all types of relationships):
Knapp’s model of relationship stages (see Table 8.1 on page 175): You might analyze how a relationship “came
together” and/or “came apart.” You need not analyze every
stage—focus on those most critical in the relationship you
have chosen to analyze.
The six-stage relationship model (see Figure 8.1 on page 174). This is a condensed version of the Knapp model. Each
stage is discussed in detail on pages 173-182. Again, you may focus on how the relationship came together during the
contact, involvement and intimacy stages, how it came apart in the repair, deterioration, and dissolution stages, or some
combination of those stages.
If you choose to analyze an online relationship, see Table 8.2 on page 176 for online relationship stages.
Attraction theory (see pp. 182-184): Using attraction theory you might discuss what factors brought and keep you
Using a rules theory approach, you might analysis the extent to which you and your partner adhere to 3-4 of the eight
rules identified by Baxter (see page 184).
Relational dialectics theory argues that people in a relationship experience dynamic tensions between pairs of opposing
motives or desires: Closedness-openness, autonomy-connection, and novelty-predictability (see page 185). Select 2-3 of
these dialectics and apply them to your relationship.