Relationship paper - University of Puget Sound

Psychology 274
Fall, 2006
Christopher Jones
Relationship paper
For this paper you will be interviewing two fellow university students (or peers who are
college-aged) who are involved in a romantic relationship and examining various aspects of
that relationship from a developmental perspective. Based on information from the
interview and information you find from empirical journal articles, you will write a 5-7 page
paper. All papers are due on September 29 in class. Papers turned in after class on the
29th will loose 5 points. Papers turned in later than the 29th will loose 5 additional points for
every day after that. Papers will not be accepted after Monday October 2.
Things to think about for the interview:
 When developing your questions, think long and hard about what you are asking. Do
not simply ask questions because you think the information might be interesting.
ALL of your questions should have a theoretical reasoning behind them, based on
what you have read in your textbook, additional class readings, or other empirical
sources that you have found.
Be sure that you ask questions that are sensitive to the people you are interviewing.
You should NOT make your interviewees uncomfortable for ANY reason. Hence,
topics such as explicit sexual activities, personal information, etc. should not be
discussed unless they bring it up first. You can even tell your interviewees that you
will not ask questions of this nature to put them at ease.
Keep the interview relatively brief. Interviews over an hour are going to be too
much for you to take all in and too much for your interviewees as well. Record the
conversation if you have the equipment to do so and after you ask your interviewees
for permission. You may be able to check this equipment out at OIS in the library.
In your paper, make sure you cover/address the following topics:
 From a developmental perspective, what stage of development would you
characterize these two people (i.e., late adolescence? Early adulthood? etc)
 What attracted them to one another initially and what attracts them to each other
now? Is there a difference?
 How would you relate their relationship as a couple and who they are as individuals
to Erikson’s stage of “intimacy vs isolation”
 Describe at least one major issue that they disagree about. How do they get past
this disagreement?
 How do they resolve disagreements?
 Describe at least 2 major issues that they agree on.
 What is the one thing they like or appreciate the most in the other person and why?
Note: Ask this to the male first and then the female (if it’s a heterosexual
o Do you notice gender differences in what they say?
 Develop additional questions to determine what form of “love” this relationship is
exhibiting according to Sternberg’s theory (pg. 475 in your text book)
Psychology 274
Fall, 2006
Christopher Jones
You should be able to relate each of the above points to information from your textbook,
your class readings, or you may need to find a journal article to tell you more about how
other couples behave.
Each paper should include at least 2 empirical journal articles (these are peer-reviewed
journal articles which describe the methods and results of a research study) to support
your analysis of the relationship and whether it is a “typical” relationship or one that is
different from what is seen in the literature.
Papers should be 5-7 pages, double spaced, typed in black ink, 12 point font, and 1 inch
margins all around
Please refer to the course syllabus regarding plagiarism