The purpose of this assignment is to use some of the techniques and strategies that you have learned in this module to assess an important conflict in your life. Study the Unit 6 material before you begin. You cannot get a good grade on this paper without doing so! You primary objective in this assignment is to use that material directly and knowledgeably to assess a real conflict with which you are familiar.
1. Begin your paper by describing a conflict that you are part of, or have observed. This conflict will most likely be the conflict you chose when you worked through the chapter in the book on assessing conflicts, using the assigned module worksheet. But if you like, you may use a different conflict. Advice: This exercise, if done properly, may be one of the best things you ever do to deal with an ongoing conflict that you may be experiencing right now. You may want to choose a conflict that really matters to you, so that you can at least understand its dynamics better, and possibly gain tools to help manage it more effectively as we move toward coverage of intervention techniques in our course. Remember that whatever conflict you choose, your goal when you choose your conflict is merely to have something to analyze. The conflict you choose will provide analysis material. All of that said, however, remember that this paper is not about merely describing the conflict. If all you do in your paper is describe the conflict, you will not receive a good grade. Thus, your description of your conflict should not consume most of your paper: Try to be brief and direct, and be sure to identify the major features of the situation, to provide material that you can analyze. The analysis is the focus of this exercise. To be very explicit and clear: You will be assessed on the analysis that FOLLOWS your description. The bulk of your paper should be concentrated on the analysis, not on your description of the conflict you chose.
2. Using the principles and tools from Chapter 7, analyze the conflict. Your paper should clearly show your use of specific assessment techniques discussed in your textbook and the module worksheets, not merely a subjective description of how and why you think your conflict occurred. You should reference and USE those techniques. In your paper, you must take the role of a “professional analyst.” Your paper must: A. Use systems theory to analyze the conflict: Analyze the conflict using the elements of systems theory that are described in Interpersonal Conflict, our textbook. B. Choose at least one other technique (e.g., metaphoric analysis, coalitions and triangles) that you find to be enlightening in analyzing your particular conflict. C. As an alternative to doing both A and B above, you can use the comprehensive Conflict Assessment Guide (See the Conflict Guides at the end of Ch. 7 in Hocker and Wilmot) to analyze the conflict. This guide provides questions to complete a thorough analysis, and is a great tool if you are in a complicated situation for which you are willing to spend time to analyze it. It will take much longer than the other choices, but if you do it and answer all the questions, it is difficult not to complete this exercise successfully, if you take it seriously.
3. Your analysis should be a minimum of 3-4 pages, after your description. (It is hard to imagine any serious analysis that would be less than a few pages.)
4. Grades will be assessed based on your use of course concepts, how well you apply the chapter’s content to help you to understand the conflict, and how well you organize and write your paper. Again, time and effort on this analysis is well spent: You may find this exercise to be one of the most valuable exercises you perform for this course.
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