Fishbowl Discussion

Overview: Students will choose one Communication Theory mentioned in their chosen chapter, read two original articles which use this theory, and engage in discussion as part of a small group on this subject in front of the class.

Purpose: Students are familiarized with Communication as a Social Science and the process of knowledge generation behind the theories presented in their textbook.

Due: According to the date you signed up for.

Detailed Description


Select a chapter from the textbook and choose one Interpersonal Communication theory presented in that chapter. Select two original research articles from the Communication literature which use that theory. You may choose to use articles that are referenced in your textbook. Prepare a complete one page article summary sheet for each article. Participate in a discussion with the panel about the topic of the class meeting. Discuss how what you read connects with what other people have read and what we can learn from these to apply to our daily lives.


  • Both articles you choose must have a “Results” section.


The format should be a discussion, not a series of presentations. Students doing the fishbowl discussion are encouraged to comment on and ask questions about what other students say. Questions from the audience are encouraged, but generally should not start until all of the presenters have had a chance to contribute to the overall discussion.


This project is graded out of 20 points.

Fishbowl Discussion Rubric

4 points 3 points 2 points 0 points
Contributions Makes many substantive contributions. Contributions clearly connected to discussion. Makes at least 3 substantive conributions. Connections to discussion may be tangential. Makes at least 1 substantive contribution. Speaker may not be able to connect to discussion. No contributions are made.
Reasoning and Evidence Uses strong evidence from text, with accurate citation. Uses evidence to support some points, most with citation. Uses minimal evidence or evidence is not cited. No evidence is presented.
Participation Encourages other participants. Does not interrupt or monopolize discussion. Avoids disrupting others. Generally does not interrupt or monopolize discussion. Disrupts other participants by interrupting frequently or or monopolizing discussion. Does not participate.
Delivery Speaks clearly, concisely, understandably, and appropriately. Occasionally difficult to hear or understand. Difficult to hear and/or understand, and/or significantly inappropriate. Does not speak.
Preparation One-page article summary sheet is complete and thoughtful. Reference uses APA style correctly. One-page article summary sheet is complete. Minor errors in APA style for reference entry. One-page article summary sheet is incomplete. Reference entry is missing most information. One-page article summary sheet missing nearly all information.

Examples & Templates