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COM 520, Spring 2013 – Reading Guide Questions for January 23

For Poole:

1. In the title, Poole asserts that “the small group should be the fundamental unit of communication research.”  In the essay, he makes the argument for why that should be the case.  Put that argument in your own words.

2. In the second column of p. 94, he asserts that small groups are “the locus for the construction of social reality.”  What’s that mean in English?  What are examples of your membership of a group constructing (or remodeling) some aspect of your social reality?

3. By Poole’s definition, is this class a small group?  Does that result make sense to you?  Why or why not?

4. On p. 96, he makes his argument for why groups are superior to dyads as a focus for studying interaction.  Put that argument in your own words.

5. Upon reading the whole article, what do you think should be the fundamental unit of communication research: individuals, dyads, groups, organizations, societies, or some other unit?  Why do you conclude as you do?

For Henman:

1. Think of a group you belong to.  As you read the explanations of these premises about groups as systems, think about how each applies to the group you selected:

–> Any part of a system can be understood only within the context of the entire system (p. 3)

–> A system is more than the sum of its parts (p. 5)

–> All parts of a system change when one part changes and groups never do just one thing (p. 6)

–> Groups are rooted in countless other systems (p. 6)

2. On p. 6, she identifies the organization, the community, and the society in general as environmental factors that influence the group.  As you read this discussion, how have each of these factors influenced the group you selected?

3. On p. 7 she identifies four features  of an open system.  As you read this discussion, think about how each of these features have influenced the group you selected.

4. What haven't we said about this article that we should say?

For Keyton & Beck

1. Now think about a task-oriented group you belong to, which may be the same group you used in your answers to the questions about Henman, above.  As you read their discussion of the five common group attributes on pp. 489-491, and the three central group processes on pp. 491-493, how have each of these attributes and processes influenced the group you selected?

2. Does the intersection of group attributes and processes (table on p. 494 and discussion on on pp. 493-496) yield useful insights about your group?  How so or why not? 

3. Do you get useful insights about your group from the table of values exposed by the intersection of attributes and processes on p. 497-498? How so or why not?

4. What haven't we said about this article that we should say?

For all the of these readings:

1. How might each of these readings help you analyze (or maybe even "fix") the things you identified last week as the things that frustrate you about group process?

For Bourhis, et al:

1. Please skim Ch. 1 to get a sense of materials used in COM research.

2. Please read Ch. 2.  What do you need to do to meet each of the five general guidelines for evaluating sources when writing a research paper?  Have you committed any of the common errors they identify on p. 21?

3. Now please read pp. 25-29 so you'll be familiar with the requirements for annotated bibliographies, research critiques, and literature reviews.

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