The artifact that I chose was my Communication 230 research paper where I examined The Social Penetration Theory. The purpose of the assignment was to show my knowledge about the theory, give insight about the theory from further knowledge and then apply it to real-life experiences. Prior to writing my research paper, I had to do extensive research in order to completely understand the theory and be able to apply it in different areas in my life as well as in society. Through this reflection, I will show the way in which my research paper fully examined The Social Penetration theory and was able to successfully apply the theory in different aspects of my life and the world around us.
To begin, The Social Penetration theory is a theory that describes how relationships are formed. These relationships are created through disclosure between the individuals involved. The authors Irwin Altman and Dalmas A. Taylor are credible because of their extensive research and findings of the theory. By including their definition for this theory, my research paper showed credibility. Along with including their definition, I included a breakdown of the definition in order to show my understanding of the theory. I stated “This theory is about how the bases of people’s relationships are reflected upon the level of disclosure they reached.” Here clearly expresses a simple description of the more complex definition that the previous authors had constructed.
I also included information on a key concept regarding the theory which is disclosure. Disclosure happens when individuals share information about themselves beyond the superficial knowledge in order to form a relationship. In the research paper, I also included a definition of what it is by the authors Altman & Dalmas. However, The Social Penetration Theory states that the relationship formed relies on the rewards and costs that may end or keep the relationship going. These different parts of Social Penetration Theory assisted with the formation and production of my research paper. By using them, I was able to adapt my knowledge and apply them to different examples in order to show my own understanding to the various characteristics of the theory. For instance, in my research paper I stated “Cross-cultural studies confirm that self-disclosure events differ across cultural groups such as between individuals from individualistic countries in the West and collectivistic countries in Asia.” This was an instance of the extensive research I conducted because it went beyond what was discussed in class. It talks about disclosure’s relationship with cross-cultural aspects.
As stated above, the main features of the Social Penetration Theory are disclosure along with rewards v. costs. Disclosure is allowing a relationship to form based on the information shared between individuals on a deeper level. I applied this idea to the example I used in the research paper. I included an example about my college roommate and I. In the research paper, I stated “We would both bring to the table levels of disclosure that we would share. For example, I would share a story about myself and then she would do the same or share her insight on the situation. By me being open with her and disclosing information about me led her to feel comfortable to be open with me as well. Disclosure in our friendship forced us to become closer than before.” By using this specific example, I was able to vividly show my understanding of this particular part of the theory and apply it to my own personal experience. I did this in order to further show my understanding of the theory to the audience and also give them an example to better understand the theory for themselves. Furthermore, I gave an example of the rewards v. costs of the Social Penetration Theory. I expressed how in terms of the relationship I have with my roommate, “The reason why our relationship has gone well thus far is because the rewards had outweighed the cost. There are more positives in our friendship that outweigh the negatives that had taken place throughout our friendship.” I supplied the audience with this example in order to further their understanding and see how the rewards v. costs aspect can be related to an actual experience.
In the end, my research paper successfully showed my knowledge about the theory and also showed vivid examples about how the theory applied to personal experiences.