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Presence makes the heart grow fonder, and absence makes the heart grow weaker. (Term Paper Sample)



I am taking a Family Studies course on intimate relationships. I would like you to use my topic and integrate it with the theme of communication. For example, absence makes the heart grow weaker because there is no form of direct communication, whereas presence makes the heart grow fonder because there is direct communication between two people. On the 5th page of the syllabus that I uploaded- it explains exactly how they want our paper to be written. Please review the syllabus before writing!

Course Description:  This course is an empirically based introduction to the study of the development of close relationships.  It examines how relationships begin, grow, and decline and secondarily examines the development of relationships across the lifespan.  Both theory and research are emphasized.


Course Aim and Objectives

Aim:  The purpose of this course is to prepare students to be critically reflective and analytical in evaluating and applying theories and current literature/issues involved in personal relationships over the life cycle.


Course Objectives:  At the end of this course it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. apply the principles/ideas of the following positions:  attachment, cognitive consistency, equity, evolutionary psychology, interdependence, and reinforcement theories.
  2. detect patterns and compare and contrast various viewpoints provided in the literature on  personal relationships.
  3. develop critical, analytical, and methodological skills.
  4. appreciate how the literature and issues relate to the development of their own personal relationships.


This course is concerned with ‘normal’ rather than pathological relationships.  It is also an academic course rather than an applied ‘how to’ course trying to give practical skills.  The primary goal is to help students analyze and understand relationships.  This knowledge may be of some help in forming and maintaining successful relationships but this is not the main objective.


Prerequisites and/or Course Restrictions (from calendar): Students are expected to have an introductory course in either Family Studies, Psychology, or Sociology.


Format of the course: The format of the course will be lectures with class discussion and some possible group exercises. I strongly believe students learn in a variety of ways and that students can learn as much from each other as from the instructor through the exchange of ideas and by building on those ideas through collaboration. My role is to help you learn new information and to help you learn to apply that information in various contexts. Lectures therefore, will have interactive components in them to facilitate your learning of the materials (as opposed to memorization and regurgitation of the materials). However, I am constrained somewhat by the class size and amount of time we have to cover the course material. Therefore, the success of these activities will depend on you. Classroom discussion is an important part of this course and you will be expected to share your ideas and opinions. Regular attendance is expected. I urge you to make the most of your learning experience!


Required Reading

Required text:

Miller, R.S.  (2012).  Intimate Relationships (6th ed.).  New York: McGraw Hill.


Required readings (available through UBC e-journals).

Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995).  The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal

attachments as a fundamental human motivation.  Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497-529.

Hazan, C., & Shaver, P. R. (1994).  Attachment as an organizational framework for

research on close relationships.  Psychological Inquiry, 5, 1-22.

Buss, D. M., Shackelford, T. K., Kirkpatrick, L. E., & Larsen, R. J. (2001). A half century of mate preferences: The cultural evolution of values.  Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 491-504.

Felmlee, D. H. (2001).  From appealing to appalling: Disenchantment with a romantic partner.  Sociological Perspectives, 44, 263-280.

Aron, E. N., & Aron, A. (1996).  Love and expansion of the self:  The state of the model. Personal Relationships, 3, 45-58.

Peplau, L. A. (2003). Human sexuality:  How do men and women differ?  Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, 37-40.

Kurdek, L. A. (2005).  What do we know about gay and lesbian couples?  Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 251-254.

Sex without Strings, Relationships Without Rings.  National Marriage Project


Gottman, J., & Silver, N. (1994, March/April).  What makes marriage work.  Psychology Today. Available on line: http://cms(dot)psychologytoday(dot)com/articles/pto-19940301-000022.html




Course Assignments, Due dates and Grading:

Mid-term examination: (October 18th )                           30%

Paper assignment (November 8th )                               30%

Final exam (TBA)                                                         40%


Participation:  During the term, I may ask you to engage in short participatory learning activities in conjunction with our classes.  There will also be opportunities to participate via questions and comments in class.  I will give participation credits to students who stand out in this regard.


Exams:  Exams will consist of a combination of multiple choice, short answer, fill in the blank and essay questions.  Exams will cover the text, readings, and lecture materials, with the text being the biggest source of questions.  Lectures and the text will partially overlap (but not completely).  The final exam will primarily focus on the material covered after the mid-term exam but there will be a portion of the final exam dealing with the overarching theories/patterns of the course.


Beyond learning specific facts presented in the text and lectures, you should strive to see a broader picture of relationship development over the life course.  As you work through the course, you should be developing your critical, analytical, and methodological skills; noting similarities and differences in viewpoints, etc.  In both exams, some of the questions will be designed to assess your critical thinking and application of the principles studied in class.  The final exam may include an essay question designed to have you reflect on the main ideas presented throughout the term.


Early Alert:


During the term, I will do my best to reach out and offer support If I am concerned about your academic performance or wellbeing. I also encourage you to come and speak with me if you need assistance.


In addition, I may identify my concerns using Early Alert. The program allows academic, financial, or mental health concerns to be identified sooner and responded to in a more coordinated way. This provides you with the earliest possible connection to resources like academic advising, financial advising, counseling, or other resources and support to help you get back on track.


The information is treated confidentially and is sent because I care about your academic success and wellbeing. For more information, please visit


Course Policies:


Attendance:  The calendar says: “Regular attendance is expected of students in all their classes (including lectures, laboratories, tutorials, seminars, etc.). Students who neglect their academic work and assignments may be excluded from the final examinations. Students who are unavoidably absent because of illness or disability should report to their instructors on return to classes”.  Regardless of the reason for your absence, you are responsible for finding someone in class that is willing to share missed lecture notes with you.


Access and Diversity:  The University accommodates students with learning challenges who have registered with the Access and Diversity Centre. The University accommodates students whose religious obligations conflict with attendance, submitting assignments, or completing scheduled tests and examinations. Please let me know in advance, preferably in the first week of class, if you will require any accommodation on these grounds. Students who plan to be absent for varsity athletics, family obligations, or other similar commitments, cannot assume they will be accommodated.  Please discuss your commitments with me at least one week in advance of the scheduled assignment or exam.


Academic Dishonesty: Please review the UBC Calendar “Academic regulations” for the university policy on cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty.  Also visit www(dot)arts(dot)ubc(dot)ca and go to the students’ section for useful information on avoiding plagiarism and on correct documentation.


Students should retain a copy of all submitted assignments (in case of loss) and should also retain all their marked assignments in case they wish to apply for a Review of Assigned Standing. Students have a right to view their marked examinations with their instructor, providing they apply to do so within a month of receiving their final grades. This review is for pedagogic purposes. The examination remains the property of the university.


Submission of assignments: Assignments should be submitted as a hard copy during class.  Assignments submitted by e-mail attachment will not be accepted. Do NOT put assignments under my door as they will not be accepted.  If you do not submit your assignment in class, you may submit it in the ANSO drop box by 4:00pm on the due date.


Late assignments: Failure to submit an assignment by the due date will result in a grade of 0 (zero) for the assignment.  Extensions will only be granted for medical and other such excused absences (bone fide documentation is required). Assignments are due no later than 4:00pm on the due date All written assignments not handed to me personally must be date and time stamped and submitted to the main office in the ANSO building. Assignments slipped under my door will not be accepted.


Missed Exams:  You will receive a grade of 0 (zero) on a missed exam unless you have an excused absence (medical reason, emotional hardship, death of a family member).  Make-up assignments will be given to students only with a bona fide medical, counselor’s note, obituary, etc. – documentation is required and must be given to me BEFORE you are able to write the make-up assignment.  If you miss the mid-term exam, you must contact me as soon as possible to arrange to receive the makeup assignment.  If you miss the final exam, contact the appropriate administrative officer in your faculty (e.g. Arts advising office if you are an Arts student) to request a ‘standing deferred’.  Note that make-up assignments are costly to administer and lead to concerns about fairness in grading.   Also, I generally do not allow make-up grades to increase students’ averages over what they obtain in the other parts of the course (e.g. if you have a 70% average on the rest of the course and receive a 75% of the make-up your course average will be 70%)


Final Exam Hardships:  A student facing an examination hardship defined as three or more exams scheduled within a 24-hour period, shall be given an alternative date for the second exam only.  The student must notify the instructor of the second exam no later than one month prior to the second examination date.  You are expected to write the first and third exam as scheduled.


Grading Guidelines: (see http://www(dot)arts(dot)ubc(dot)ca/Grading_Guidelines.81.0.html)

90-100% = A+            64-67% = C+

85-89% = A                60-63% = C

80-84% = A-               55-59% = C-

76-79% = B+              50-54% = D

72-75% = B                00-49% = F

68-71% = B-


Scaling of Grades:  Faculties, departments and schools reserve the right to scale grades in order to maintain equity among sections and conformity to university, faculty, department or school norms.  Students should therefore note that an unofficial grade given by an instructor might be changed by the faculty, department or school.  Grades are not official until they appear on a student’s academic record.


Class Schedule and Assigned Readings



Required Readings


Part 1:  Introduction to the Study of Intimate Relationships

Week 1

Sept 4, 6


Introduction: The Building Blocks of Relationships


Chapter 1;

Baumeister & Leary (1995) 

Week 2

Sept 9, 11, 13


Research Methods

Chapter 2

Week 3

Sept 16, 18, 20


Theoretical Views of Relationships

No class – Sept 18-Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Chapter 6;

Hazan & Shaver (1994);

Buss, Shackelford, Kirkpatrick,

& Larsen (2001) 

Part 2:  Getting Together

Week 4

Sept 23, 25, 27


Attraction: Starting Relationships


Chapter 3;

Felmlee (2001) 

Part 3:  Basic Processes in Intimate Relationships

Week 5

Sept 30, Oct 2, 4


Social Cognition and Communication


Chapters 4 and 5

Week 6

Oct  7, 9, 11



Chapter 12 (pp.362-376)

Week 7

Oct 14, 16, 18

No class – Oct 14 - Thanksgiving

MIDTERM Oct 18th

Friendship Across the Lifespan



Chapter 7

Part 4:  Friendship Across the Lifespan

Part 5:  Love and Sexuality

Week 8

Oct 21, 23, 25




Chapters 8;

Aron & Aron (1996) 

Week 9

Oct 28, 30, Nov 1

Sexuality and Sexual Orientation



Chapter 9;

Peplau (2003);

Kurdek (2005); 

Sex without Strings, Relationships Without Rings.  National Marriage Project


Part 6:  Relationship Issues

Week 10

Nov 4, 6, 8


Stress and Conflict


(TA will be teaching Nov 4 & 6 – I am away at NCFR)

Chapter 10 and 11;

Gottman, & Silver (1994)

Week 11

Nov 11, 13, 15

No class – Nov 11 – Remembrance Day



Chapter 12 (pp.377-389)

Part 7:  Losing and Enhancing Relationships

Week 12

Nov 18, 20, 22

Dissolution and loss of Relationships



Chapter 13

Week 13

Nov 25, 27, 29


Promotion, Enhancement and Repair of Relationships


Chapter 14


FINAL EXAM – Scheduled by the Registrar (Dec 4-18)



Paper Assignment: (30%)  DUE: November 8th.



Your term paper should be 7-8 pages in length (excluding title page and reference section), typed (12 point font), and double spaced.  Papers exceeding this length will not be graded.  You are to write a debate paper providing both sides of an argument on an issue in relationship science.  Paper topics must be research based, focused and specific.  Use peer reviewed articles or chapters, do not use reviews of the literature.  Be sure to narrow you topic so that your paper has depth. I strongly recommend that you prepare an outline for your paper and review it with your myself or the TA before you begin. References must be no older than the year 2000.




Please see grading rubric below.  In addition, I have listed components that must be included in each section of your paper:


Introduction (5 marks)

-        Introduce the topic

-        State the argument or purpose of the essay in a clear thesis

-        State topic limits you have set (how have your narrowed your topic?)


Synthesis and critique of relevant research materials (15 marks)

This is the most important part of the paper. In this section, relevant research literature should be

discussed and critically evaluated.  This section should:

-        Inform the reader of the relevant theoretical background to the topic

-        Provide an integrated discussion of previous research related to the topic (do not simply list studies – integrate)

-        Prepare the reader for conclusions you will make in the last part of your paper


Conclusions (6 marks)

-        A paragraph which affirms the purpose or argument of the introductory paragraph.  Integrate and summarize how the ideas presented are connected and linked

-        Consideration of the strengths, limitations and flaws of the literature in the topic area (think about methods used in the studies)

-        Suggestions for further research


Style (4 marks)

-        References made according to APA style conventions

-        Writing skills (spelling, grammar, sentence structure etc) without flaws

-        Presented in a professional manner


Carefully proofread your papers before you hand them in!


Students should retain a copy of all submitted assignments (in case of loss), or the need for a Review of Assigned Standing arises (see Academic Regulations, UBC Calendar).


Writing and Reference Resources:

  • American Psychological Association (2009).  Publication Manual of the APA (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
  • UBC writing center – for information go to: http://cstudies(dot)ubc(dot)ca/writing/documents/tutorial-clinic-faq.pdf

Planning your Research Paper:

  • Use library databases to search for specific terms. Chapters from the textbook may not be used as references!




The tone is consistently professional and appropriate for an academic research paper.

The tone is generally professional. For the most part, it is appropriate for an academic research paper.

The tone is not consistently professional or appropriate for an academic research paper.

The tone is unprofessional. It is not appropriate for an academic research paper.

Sentence Structure

Sentences are well-phrased and varied in length and structure. They flow smoothly from one to another.

Sentences are well-phrased and there is some variety in length and structure. The flow from sentence to sentence is generally smooth.

Some sentences are awkwardly constructed so that the reader is occasionally distracted.

Errors in sentence and structure are frequent enough to be a major distraction to the reader.










Word Choice

Word choice is consistently precise and accurate.

Word choice is generally good. The writer often goes beyond the generic word to find one more precise and effective.

Word choice is merely adequate, and the range of words is limited. Some words are used inappropriately.

Many words are used inappropriately, confusing the reader.

Grammar, Spelling, Writing Mechanics (punctuation, italics, capitalization, etc.)

The writing is free or almost free of errors.

There are occasional errors, but they don't represent a major distraction or obscure meaning.

The writing has many errors, and the reader is distracted by them.

There are so many errors that meaning is obscured. The reader is confused and stops reading.


Paper is the number of pages specified in the assignment.



Paper has more or fewer pages than specified in the assignment.

Use of References

Compelling evidence from professionally legitimate sources is given to support claims. Attribution is clear and fairly represented.

Professionally legitimate sources that support claims are generally present and attribution is, for the most part, clear and fairly represented.

Although attributions are occasionally given, many statements seem unsubstantiated. The reader is confused about the source of information and ideas.

References are seldom cited to support statements.

Quality of References

References are primarily peer-reviewed professional journals or other approved sources (e.g., government documents, agency manuals, …). The reader is confident that the information and ideas can be trusted.

Although most of the references are professionally legitimate, a few are questionable (e.g., trade books, internet sources, popular magazines, …). The reader is uncertain of the reliability of some of the sources.

Most of the references are from sources that are not peer-reviewed and have uncertain reliability. The reader doubts the accuracy of much of material presented.

There are virtually no sources that are professionally reliable. The reader seriously doubts the value of the material and stops reading.

Use of Most Recent Edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psycho-logical Association (APA)

APA format is used accurately and consistently in the paper on the "References" page.

APA format is used with minor errors.

There are frequent errors in APA format.

Format of the document is not recognizable as APA.



Before writing the outline of your paper read articles pertaining to your topic.  Take notes to keep track of the information you gather so as not to plagiarize.  Make sure your topic is narrow enough for you to write a solid paper on your chosen topic. Be sure to present both sides of an issue.


Presence makes the heart grow fonder and absence makes the heart grow weaker
Course number
Instructor’s name
Relationships are very important pillars of social wellbeing of people within the society. A range of relationships exist such as relationship between sisters and brothers, spouses, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, parents amongst others. These relationships are built upon personal interactions such as face to face and virtual interactions that are powered by technological gadgets and platforms such as phones and the internet respectively. People obtain their meaning from interactions with people at different levels. The interactions are also a source of encouragement which strengthens people to survive the tides of life as they make connections with others. In intimate relationships between significant others, presence is very important because it facilitates fondness through holistic communication. This is because it is direct and one has the advantage of observing and making useful judgments from the non-verbal cues given.
Synthesis and critique of relevant research materials
Attachments are established during a person’s lifespan and they are integral in romantic relationships. Bowlby is one of the main supporters of attachment theory and he indicates that attachment plays an important role in fondness which facilitates emotional interactions including romantic relationships. Attachment theory indicates that maintaining a bond or fondness with certain people such as spouses brings about emotional stability and joy whereas loss of fondness may result in anger, frustration and sorrow (Campbell & Marshall, 2011). People are naturally wired to crave to maintain proximity to those that they are intimately involved with and situations that terminate proximity are viewed as threats (Lavy, Mario, & Philip, 2010). This implies that significant others in romantic relationships are more secure when their partners are close by, available and responsive to their emotional needs. This is how they increase their fondness and bond between each other.
The idea of presence and absence indicates that some people have geographically close relationships while others have long distance relationships respectively. The primary difference is that there is limited face to face interaction between significant others that are in long distance relationships. Non-existent face to face interactions negatively impacts on communication by resorting to communication that is reliant on technology. Virtual communication has various limitations such as the fact that it removes the holistic natural human experience. Geographically close couples often times engage in outdoor activities and explore new things together and such experiences afford them the chance to better understand each other (Pistole & Roberts, 2011).
Non-computer based experiences allow spouses to observe their spouses and...
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