YourSidekick Role Responsibilities



Effective communicators value the accuracy that research fosters.  We need to research the audiences, groups, or individuals with whom we communicate in order to adapt to their wants, needs, and desires.  We need to research the topics considered in our messages in order to provide valid and reliable data for our messages.  

We gain insight into others by getting to know them.  We call this process of getting to know a person or group “Transceiver Analysis.”  Audience research is often called “Audience Analysis.”  Transceiver analysis permits us to organize perceptions of people with whom we communicate.  Transceiver analysis allows us to anticipate responses to the messages we send.

The ability to research a topic is extremely important.  Remember the topics you listed in Unit 1?  As you go through this unit, you may want to begin discovering information for a future discussion or speech.  Ordinarily your personal experience with facets of the topic provides you with some information.  In addition the interview is an important tool for discovering information about your topic.  However, you will need to gather library materials--facts, illustrations, quotations, and statistics--that will support your ideas.  Such information can be gathered from newspapers, magazines, professional journals, books, and government documents. 

In this unit you will learn about the factors involved in transceiver analysis and how to construct a transceiver analysis profile.  Also, it will help you in gathering information from library sources.

By the end of this unit, you should be able to 

Name and describe ways of obtaining information for a transceiver analysis profile. 

Name and describe the self-concept aspects of transceiver analysis. 

Name and describe the participant-related, knowledge related, and topic-related aspects of transceiver analysis. 

For a specified speech communication encounter, construct a transceiver analysis profile. 

Describe ways of finding information in printed materials. 

Describe how to evaluate evidence and reasoning. 

Record and document relevant information. 

Construct an annotated bibliography.



Transceiver analysis must occur during a communication encounter if the event is to be satisfying and rewarding.  There must be a constant scanning of transceiver responses as we are speaking and listening.  We must link our spontaneous observations with sound principles of human behavior in order to adapt to moment-to-moment changes that occur during the communication event.  By the same token, transceiver analysis following a communication encounter will give us valuable clues about what to expect in future encounters with the same or similar participants.  However, many inexperienced communicators overlook the importance of constructing a transceiver analysis profile prior to the communication encounter

Methods of Obtaining Information for a Transceiver Analysis Profile 

In this unit we will discover that there are four basic factors to be considered in constructing a transceiver analysis profile.  They are

1.  The self concepts of the participants in the communication encounter.     

2.  The attitudes of the transceivers toward each other.

3.  The knowledge level of the transceivers (in terms of the topic of communication and, in some cases, the type of communication encounter).  

4.  The topic-related attitudes and ego involvement of the transceivers. 

Our immediate concern, however, is with obtaining the information necessary for a transceiver analysis profile.  How do we get information for a transceiver analysis profile?  There are three basic ways of obtaining such information:  direct observation, reports from others, and self-disclosed information. 


First, we can make careful inferences based on our observation of the transceivers' behavior.  We ask ourselves certain questions concerning the self concepts, attitudes, knowledge level, and topic-related perceptions of the individuals we are observing.  Sometimes, we can make valid inferences by watching what transceivers do, listening to what they say.  Of course, these observations must be linked with sound principles. In essence, we draw inferences about transceivers by answering this question:  "In the light of what I can observe about these transceivers coupled with what I know about human behavior, what reasonable conclusions can I draw?


Second, we can make careful inferences based on reports given us by mutual acquaintances or on available published records. Sometimes we are not in a position to actually observe the behavior of our potential partners in a communication encounter. But maybe we know someone who knows the transceivers.  For instance, in speechmaking, we can gain useful information from speakers who have appeared before the group at an earlier date or from individuals who are acquainted with the members of the audience.  A chairperson of a communication event, who is scheduled to introduce you to the other transceivers, may also be a good source of information.  It should be obvious that reports from others may be obtained either through interviews or through written correspondence.

Often published records provide information about transceivers.  Voting records, census data, newspaper articles, and the like furnish valuable data for a transceiver analysis profile.  Some transceivers are written up in sources like Who's Who.  Much valuable information about students on campus might come from the college yearbook and back issues of the campus newspaper. 

Of course, extreme care must be taken when secondhand and third-hand reports are used because of the possible distortions of these reports.  We are often safer when we have reports from several mutual acquaintances and published records to draw from. 


Third, we can make careful inferences based on information self-disclosed by the transceivers themselves.  We can discover important information by corresponding in writing with the transceivers or by interviewing them.  As a matter of fact, you will be gaining practical experience in interviewing in Unit 7.  You may want to preview Unit 7 at this point.

Self-Concept Information

"Self concept" refers to a person's perceptions of himself. These self-perceptions are the product of our interactions with ourselves and others.  They begin forming early in infancy when the child becomes aware of his/her own body and cognizant of the presence of others.  Once formed, self concepts tend to be stable and difficult to change.  Self concepts have a profound influence on communication--specifically on the messages we choose to transmit and the messages we select in input and process. 

In terms of the processing barriers discussed in Unit 4, these self images may be the outgrowth of faulty assumptions we hold about ourselves.  Perhaps a person comes to view himself as a weakling because of being stereotyped by parents or siblings when a child.  These destructive images may persist through time to the detriment of the individual's personality.

Although an outside observer may view him "as strong as an ox," the person's scarred image of himself may prod him into seemingly paradoxical types of behavior.  On the one hand, he may attempt to "live up" to his self image by obviously compulsive avoidance of any conversations concerning athletics, sports, or physical endurance.  On the other hand, he may try to "live down" his image by his obsessive avidity for sports, athletics, and unnecessary risk-taking behavior. 

In terms of the inputting barriers explained in Unit 4, destructive self concepts may act as a kind of unconscious censoring agent cutting us off from receiving positive and rewarding aspects of our physical and social-psychological environment.  Although sometimes we are aware of the intrapersonal censoring that goes on with what we say, only rarely are we cognizant of the filtering that occurs with what we see, hear, and sense in other ways.  Destructive self images compound the problem of selective perception. 

However, constructive and realistic self concepts go a long way toward reducing the barriers to communication and enhancing the unfettered flow of information transmission and reception. The very same strategies suggested for overcoming barriers to communication in Unit 4 are the strategies for creating more appropriate and valid self images.  (One of the desirable side effects of a knowledge of transceiver-analysis principles and techniques is a better understanding of your own self perceptions.)

Let us explore the implication of self concept for the interpersonal communication encounter.  Let us say you and I are engaged in conversation.  As we communicate, we are constantly inputting information not only about the topic we are discussing but we are also inputting information about each other and forming impressions or concepts of each other.  I develop an impression of you, and you develop an impression of me.  But at the same time, I have my own impression of myself, and you have your impression of yourself.  Now if I am interested in effectively communicating with you, which is the most important knowledge:  knowing my concept of you or knowing your concept of your self?  Make a choice: 

_____ Knowing my image of your self. 

_____ Knowing your image of your self.    

If I am going to get into your frame of reference, if I am going to understand your view of reality, if I am going to evoke meanings similar to yours when words are exchanged, I need to know your image of YOUR self.  Let us state it in the form of a principle:  If I am interested in effectively communicating with you, it is important for me to communicate from your point of view; this means I must know your concept of YOUR self. 

To be more precise, I must have a knowledge of your MANY self concepts.  A person has as many concepts of self as he has ways of identifying herself.  Let us explore three of the ways a person can view self. 

If someone were to ask you the question, "Who are you?" what would be your reply?  Of course your first response might be to give your name.  Suppose the person was persistent and said, "No, I am not interested in your name; I want to know:  Who are you?"  We have found that in such situations people typically respond in one or more of three ways:  they describe themselves physically, psychologically, and/or socially.


Self as a Physical Being Some people tell us that they are male or female.  Others tell us their age.  Still others tell us they are short or tall, a little too heavy or too thin.  Some describe themselves as having big feet, dimples, captivating eyes, beautiful hair.  A few will candidly assert that they are plain, attractive, or unattractive. One or two have complained (or bragged) in fairly explicit terms that they are nothing but sex objects. 

Of course, these physical characteristics may be internal as well as external.  Some people see themselves as basically healthy; others may say they are out of shape and lack endurance.  Knowing that you have a bleeding ulcer or asthma or a slipped disk certainly affects how you see yourself physically.  All people identify themselves in one way or another in terms of their physical characteristics


Self as a Psychological Being People often tell us they are smart or not too smart, happy or sad, "a law and order man" or "an equal rights advocate," "blue grass" or "heavy metal."  In other words, people see themselves as psychological beings.  People identify their psychological selves when they stress their intellectual makeup or ideas, emotional nature or feelings, beliefs, interests, and needs. 

A person may express her image of her intellectual makeup in less direct ways than stating she views herself as being smart, intellectual, stupid, not-so-bright, etc.  She may reveal her image through indicating the types of ideas, books, theories, etc., which are difficult for her to comprehend and what things she masters easily.  When a student tells another that certain subjects are rough and a waste of effort, that she is really in college to get away from home and have a good time, and that deep subjects bore her, she is exposing a view of her intellectual makeup just as much as when another student reveals her accomplishments in the academic area in terms of grade point, scholarships, etc.

Frequently, people are open about their views of self as an emotional creature.  They speak of themselves as being happy-go lucky, moody, introverted, warm and loving, angry, aggressive, anxious, tense, enthusiastic, excitable.  These clues that are volunteered so often in everyday conversations are a rich source of understanding a person's view of her feelings and emotions.

It is common to hear a person typify himself, in terms of his beliefs.  When a person tells us that he believes "gun control legislation is dangerous" or "abortion is immoral" or "flying saucers are real," he is telling us a great deal about his perceived identity.  Beliefs are specific, situational expressions that combine both cognitive and affective elements. 

A person often identifies herself through her interests.  She may reveal interests in a variety of areas--for example, vocational, recreational (sports, hobbies), family, aesthetic (music, art, theater). 

We view needs as those fundamental wants and desires common to humankind that seem to transcend cultural and historical boundaries.  That is, they are the wants and desires most people seem to have, regardless of the culture in question or the historical period under consideration.  Two frameworks for the classification of basic human needs are found in the work of Abraham Maslow* and William Schutz.** 

*A. H. Maslow, Motivation and Personality (New York:  Harper & Row, 1954), 80-92

**W. C. Schutz, The Interpersonal Underworld (Palo Alto, Calif.:  Science and Behavior Books, 1966), 13-20. 

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs  

Maslow views the needs of people arranged in a hierarchy with five levels.  The bottom levels represent wants and desires that are most basic to sustaining physical life; the top levels represent wants and desires related to people's aspirations for the full development of their potentials.  The five levels are (1) physiological or survival needs, (2) safety or security needs, (3) affection or affiliation needs, (4) achievement or self-esteem needs, and (5) self-fulfillment or self-actualization needs.  They are represented in their hierarchical order in the diagram below. 

                                self-fulfillment or self-actualization needs 

                            achievement or self-esteem needs 

                        affection or affiliation needs

                    safety or security needs

                physiological or survival needs 

Physiological or survival needs include the basic necessities for life:  food and drink; avoidance of pain, injury, and disease; etc.  Sometimes these are called "tissue needs."  Unless this level is satisfied, none of the remaining four levels becomes operative. 

Safety or security needs in both the physical and psychological realms constitute the second level.  Freedom from the fear of personal bodily harm and freedom from anxieties associated with the psychological self are wants and desires common to most of humankind.  Unless this level is satisfied, none of the remaining three levels becomes engaged. 

Affection or affiliation needs make up the third level.  The need to love, the need to be loved, the desire to "belong" or to be affiliated with another (object, person, group, etc.) are included here.  Unless this need is satisfied, levels four and five will not motivate behavior. 

Achievement or self-esteem needs include the desire for reputation, attention, recognition, etc.  These needs find fulfillment in the exercise of power--physical power, intellectual power, social power, etc.  Level four needs may be expressed by a desire for success. 

Self-fulfillment or self-actualization needs become engaged only if all other levels are satisfied.  It is not unusual for a person to never reach this need level.  Represented at this level is the desire of a person to fulfill her unique human potential, whatever it is.  For a biochemist, it may be the desire to discover a substance that inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Even if a person is motivated by self-actualization needs, these needs are self-perpetuating and self-renewing--that is, they are seldom if ever totally satisfied. 

An important feature of this hierarchy is that before a given level of needs can become active, lower level needs must be satisfied.  For example, before a starving woman can become concerned about the appropriateness of how she is dressed, she must be fed.  Likewise, it is of little use to appeal to a person's civic pride when she fears she may be mugged or killed on her way to work one day. 

Schutz's Interpersonal Needs

Schutz's work focuses on the interpersonal nature of basic human needs.  He examines an individual's needs in terms of how they work in concert with the needs of other individuals.  Schutz identifies three needs that determine our behavior with others:  the need for affection, inclusion, and control.  Each of these needs can be expressed in two ways.  Affection needs are those motivated by our desire to love and to be loved, to care for others and to be cared for by others.  Inclusion needs are prompted by a need to belong and to involve others, to want others to make the effort to include us and to include others ourselves. Control needs stem from a desire to influence and to be influenced, to exert power and to give power. 

Each of these three basic needs--affection, inclusion, control--can be demonstrated in a variety of ways.  For example, a person could want to both give and receive affection, or he could want neither to give or receive affection, or he could give affection but not need to have it returned, or he could want affection but not give it to others.  These variations in needs work in a similar fashion with the dimensions of inclusion and control also.  Where a person falls in terms of wanting to give affection or receive it, of wanting to be involved or involving others, of wanting to exert control or being controlled plays a significant role in how he will behave and what will motivate him. 

To summarize, a person's view of himself as a psychological being is a complex, many-faceted aspect of self concept.  We have suggested a fivefold framework on which the psychological self can be considered:  the (1) intellect, (2) emotions, (3) beliefs, (4) interests, and (5) needs of a person. 


A person reveals her self images as a social being when she answers the question "Who are you?" in terms of the roles she plays, the groups to which she belongs, the degree to which she feels she belongs to these groups, her status within these groups, and her values that are supported by these groups. 

Some women identify themselves through reference to their perceived role by responding to the poll-taker and others, "I'm just a housewife!"  You might answer that you are a student.  Roles can be categorized in terms of the occupational-vocational roles (brick mason, tax attorney), marital roles (husband, wife), familial roles (father, mother, son, daughter), political roles (conservative, liberal, Republican, Democrat), religious roles (Christian, Jew, church member), etc. 

People often see themselves in terms of their group affiliations--real and imagined.  "I'm a member of the Afro American Society"; "I'm a member of Alpha Alpha Sorority"; "I'm a member of the American Medical Association"; "I'm a member of Campus Crusade for Christ."  These responses answer in terms of the groups to which the individuals belong.  However, a person may not actually belong to a given group, and yet he may see himself as a part of that group.  He may behave in reference to the norms and values of this group.  For instance, rock-music  groups, political organizations, socially elite cliques, etc., are important aspects of the social self.  Perceived reference group affiliations may be more important to a person's self concept than his "dues-paying" membership in other groups. 

The degree to which a person perceives that she belongs to a given group is a significant part of a person's image as a social being.  People often belong to many groups.  However, in some cases, a person really may want to belong to a given group and to be an integral part of that group.  In other cases, her belonging to a group may be perceived to be an obligation and of peripheral importance to her. 

A person's picture of his status within a group is also important in understanding a person's social self.  Does he see himself as a follower or a leader in the group?  Does he perceive himself to be influential in the group?  How does he view his place in the hierarchy of social relationships?  Who influences him?  Whom does he influence? 

Values are culture-bound conceptions or standards of desirability which people of a particular culture or group use for selecting among alternative points of view or courses of action. Clearly, values are cultural products.  They are the criteria that people of a particular group use to make choices and decisions. While the people of a culture may use the same value clusters in making a given choice, a group of people within that culture may give a higher priority to a particular value in a cluster while another group may give a higher priority to other values in that cluster. 

We present six of the major value clusters currently prominent in American culture.*  Each cluster has several values related to it.  These values are named, and the value is described in terms of typical questions that are asked consciously or unconsciously when a person engages that value in making a choice or decision. 

*These clusters are synthesized from the theoretical framework presented by Jim D. Hughey, "A Study of Variations in College Student Value Orientations Preceding and Following Selected Types of Oral Communication Training" (M.S. thesis, Purdue University,1964), 15-61. 

Cluster One:  Values Regarding Man's Relation to Other Men

a.  Authority.  Is this what authorities say to do?  Is it what our leaders, supervisors, etc., want us to do?    

b.  Consensus (External Conformity).  Is this what everyone wants?  If anyone disagrees we won't want to do it this way.  Or, if we don't do it this way, what will people think and say?     

c.  Individual.  Is this the best for the individual? 

d.  Democracy.  Is this the most democratic way of doing things?  Have we voted on it?   

e.  Freedom.  Will doing it this way give us the most freedom?  We don't want to do it this way if it infringes on anyone's freedoms.  

f.  Humanitarian.  Is this the generous, considerate, or thoughtful way of doing things? 

g.  Puritan and Pioneer Morality.  Is this the right, honest, ethical, legal, just, or fair way of doing things? 

Cluster Two:  Work, Activity, and Involvement Values

a.  Being Detached, Uninvolved.  Does anything have to be done at all?  Won't things take care of themselves?  If we have to do something, which way will require the least effort on my part? 

b.  Planning.  Has this way of doing it been carefully planned?  Have all contingencies been thought out beforehand?      

c.  Doing.  Does this way of doing it let me put all that I am capable of doing into it?  Does it give me the greatest chance to actively do something?  Will it keep me busy?   

d.  Humor, Enjoyment, Fun.   Is this the most clever way of doing it?  Is this the most enjoyable way of doing it?  Is this a "fun" way of doing it?

Cluster Three:  Materialistic-Scientific Values

a.  Material Comfort.  Will doing it this way give us the greatest material comfort?  For example, will it give us the greatest financial returns?   

b.  Quantity.  Is it the biggest?  Does it yield the greatest number of ___?   

c.  Efficiency.  Will it do the best job in the least amount of time? 

d.  Practicality, Pragmatism.  Will it work?  If it works, let's use it regardless of ___.

e.  Science, Secular Rationality. Is this the most scientific approach?  Is this the most rational or logical approach? 

Cluster Four:  Man-Nature-Supernatural Values  

a.  Achievement, Success.  Will this way of doing it result in the greatest achievement?  Will it lead to advancement?  Will if lead to the greatest success for mankind, myself, or my social group?  

b.  Nature.  Is this way of doing it in harmony with the laws of nature?  It must not disturb the balance in nature.  Is this the "natural" way of doing it?  

c.  Supernatural.  Is it God's Will that we do it this way?  Is it in keeping with the forces of destiny? 

Cluster Five:  Time-Related Values   

a.  Past.  Is this the traditional or time-tested way of doing things?  

b.  Present.  Regardless of whether it has been tried before or whether it might present problems for the future, is it the best way to treat the situation right now?   

c.  Future.  Is this the most innovative way of doing it?  Is it the best way of doing it in terms of future prospects?

Cluster Six:  Nation, Ethnic, and Group-Related Values

a.  Patriotism and Nationalism.  Is this the patriotic way of doing things?  Is it the (e.g.,  American) way of doing things? 

b.  Racial Pride and Group Pride.  Is this the (e.g., Indian, Jewish, etc.) way of doing things?  Is this the (e.g., Mormon, Stanford, etc.) way of doing things?  Is this the (e.g., youthful, masculine, etc.) way of doing things. 

Of course, when a person makes a specific decision, all of the values in a cluster may be engaged.  However, usually they are not of equal weight in making the decision:  they are of different priorities.  In some decisions, none of the values within a cluster may be perceived as salient. 

In a transceiver analysis profile, we must answer this important question:  which values are used most of the time by the individual for making most of decisions?  Are there important exceptions?  What are these exceptions? 

Thus an insight may be gained into a person's social self by examining her perceptions of (1) the roles she plays, (2) her group affiliations, (3) her "degree of belonging" to a group, and (4) her status within these groups, and (5) her values.


In our discussion of physical, psychological, and social self concepts, we have examined most of the concepts necessary for the development of an investigative framework for a person's self concepts. However, we need to stress that self concepts per se are not open to direct observation. They must be inferred from our observations, reports of others, and self-disclosed information.

Furthermore, each of the three aspects of self concept we have discussed may be viewed from different perspectives. The Johari Awareness Model (see Figure 6-1) helps illustrate those perspectives and shows what perspectives are possible when any of the aspects of self concept are discussed in a conversation.

.............Aspects of self ..Aspects of self
.............known to you .....NOT known to you

Aspects of | AREA I ............| AREA II
self known | The Open Area .....| Blind Area
to the ....| or ................|
other .....| (The Public Area)
Aspects of | AREA III ..........| AREA IV
self NOT ..| The Hidden Area ...| Unknown Area
known to ..| or ................|
the other .|(The Private Area) .|
...........| ...................|
...........| ...................|

Figure 6-1. The Johari Awareness Model. Reprinted From Of Human Interaction by Joseph Luft by permission of National press books. Copyright c 1969 National press Books.

When you communicate with another, there are aspects of self known to you and to the other and aspects of self not known to you and to the other as shown in Figure 6-1.

Because Area I represents those aspects of self known to you and others, valid inferences are easily drawn from observation, reports from others, and self-disclosure. For instance, demographic factors like height, weight, where you are from, etc., are generally easily obtained. However, Area II and Area III present greater problems for valid inference-making.

Through observation and reports from others, I may find out that you put your hand to your mouth whenever you are nervous or anxious. However, because this Area II information is unknown to you, it is not a part of your self image; you may believe you are always able to hide your emotions from others. Thus there is a conflict between my impression and your impression in this case, and I must take the conflict into account when I draw conclusions.

Moreover, I will not be able to discern Area III information unless it is given to me by others with whom you discussed the matter or unless you self-disclose the information to me. Because there is often a discrepancy between the the Area I public aspects of self concepts and the Area III private aspects of self concepts, inferences must be drawn with care. For instance, inferences about the person who is publicly "happy-go-lucky" and privately depressed must be made with extreme caution.

By definition Area IV information is unknown to you or to others. Thus this information cannot be disclosed by you or others; it must be discovered. However, interaction with others frequently provides the stimulus for flashes of insight into self; for example, a professed atheist may be surprised to hear himself strongly censure another for religious reasons. These religious sentiments may have been unknown to either transceiver.

A framework for investigating the aspects of self concepts should be viewed from the four-area perspective illustrated by the Johari Awareness Model. As you approach the task of transceiver analysis, you should remember that each of the aspects of self concepts can be considered in terms of the Public Area, Blind Area, Private Area, and Unknown Area. This should be kept in mind as you consider each aspect of self concept:

A. the Physical Self.

B. the Psychological Self.

C. the Social Self.

In addition to knowing the self concepts of those with whom you are communicating, transceiver analysis requires that you discover the attitudes of the transceivers toward each other, the knowledge level of the transceivers, and the topic-related attitudes and ego involvement of the transceivers.  

Credibility and Attractiveness

We are interested in the attitudes all participants in the communication encounter have toward each other in interpersonal encounters.  In public communication situations, we are typically concerned with the attitudes the listeners have toward the speaker or speakers.  At any rate, the aspects of concern are credibility and attraction (attractiveness).  (You may want to review "Climate" from Unit 1.) 

Credibility refers to the expertness, trustworthiness, and dynamism projected by a transceiver when the person takes on the role of a transmitter.  Some transmitters have low credibility with receivers because they project images of inexpertness, dishonesty, and dullness.  Receivers lack confidence in these transmitters' intellectual abilities; receivers lack respect for these transmitters; and receivers perceive these transmitters as not worthy of their attention.  Other transmitters have high credibility with receivers because they are perceived as knowledgeable, sincere, and dynamic or interesting to listen to. 

The second area of analysis centers around the interpersonal attraction participants in interpersonal encounters have for each other.  For the public encounter, this aspect is referred to as speaker attractiveness.  Whether we refer to it as interpersonal attraction or speaker attractiveness, the basic issue is likability.  Do the members of the group like each other?  Or do the audience members like the speaker? 

It should be noted that credibility and attraction (attractiveness) can operate independently of each other.  For instance, an employee may not like a supervisor but may respect her competence, integrity, and vigor.  Or a father may love his child but may not respect his judgment when it comes to money matters. 

Knowledge Level 

We should discover the knowledge level of transceivers with respect to (1) the topic of communication and, in some cases, (2) skill in the form of communication encounter being used. 

Have any of the transceivers had personal experience relating to the topic?  What articles, books, etc., have they read on the topic?  What experts and written sources on the topic do they know?  We do not want to communicate above or below the knowledge level of the other transceivers in interpersonal or public encounters.  

In some types of encounters, such as group discussions, it is important to estimate how skilled the participants are in using that particular form of communication.  If members of the group lack knowledge of how group discussion works, allowances will need to be made in preparation for and participation in the sessions.  Similarly, if as an interviewer we should find that the respondent has never been interviewed before, we should adapt to the interviewee's lack of experience in this form of communication. 

Topic Related Attitudes and Ego Involvement

Do you know the difference between attitude toward and ego involvement in something?  We express our attitude toward a statement to the extent we agree or disagree with it.  We express our ego involvement in terms of how important the statement is to us.  Take the statement "Professors should be required to wear academic gowns to class."  You may express your attitude by disagreeing (or agreeing) with the statement.  You may even say you strongly disagree with it.  But how important is it to you personally, one way or another?  Most students say they could care less.  The point is that knowing a person's attitude does not tell the whole story.  You also need an estimate of the person's ego involvement. 

Regardless of the type of communication encounter, we should discover the attitudes toward and ego involvement in the topic under consideration.  In some communication encounters, such as persuasive speeches, we need to consider additional topic-related aspects.  If as persuaders we try to convince others that a problem exists and that our proposal is the best one to cure the problem, we need to estimate the attitude and ego involvement of others in three areas:

1.  The Topic.  

2.  The Problem. 

3.  The Solution.  

Consider the following case study: Audience X feels that the subject of abortion is very important and feels favorably disposed toward hearing a speech about it.  However, the audience is made up mostly of young married couples who are very concerned with the population explosion.  So when the speaker announces her topic, the audience has a favorable attitude toward the topic and is ego involved in the subject.  But it turns out that the speaker focuses on the plight of the unwed mother-to-be. Now while the audience agrees with the speaker's statement of the problem, they don't feel the problem is particularly important to them.  

When the speaker comes to her solution of making it easier for the unmarried mother-to-be to get an abortion but more difficult for the married mother-to-be to get an abortion, the audience disagrees with the solution; and the solution becomes very important to them (very ego involving).  They will take steps to see that the solution is not implemented! 

Notice that attitudes toward the topic, problem, and solution can be fairly independent of each other; the same holds true for ego involvement.  So, for the problem-solution persuasive presentation, the astute transceiver analyst needs to discover this information about her proposed presentation: 

1.  Transceiver attitude toward the topic.    

2.  Transceiver attitude toward the problem.  

3.  Transceiver attitude toward the solution. 

4.  Transceiver ego involvement in the topic. 

5.  Transceiver ego involvement in the problem.   

6.  Transceiver ego involvement in the solution.    

Constructing a Transceiver Analysis Profile 

A transceiver analysis profile is a document which systematically orders all the inferences that we have made about the participants prior to a particular communication event. Because it is prepared before hand, it enables us to anticipate what may occur and to adapt ourselves to the thinking and behavior of the others.  This profile will help us to anticipate potential communication barriers and to plan strategies that will deal with them. 

Based on our observations, reports from others, and/or self disclosed information from the participants themselves, we can prepare a transceiver analysis profile by drawing careful inferences in all of the areas outlined below. 

I.  Since transceivers tend to resist transmitting and receiving messages that are inconsistent with their self concepts, discovery of self-concept information is imperative.

A.  What perceptions of physical self do the transceivers possess?

B.  What perceptions of psychological self do the transceivers possess?

1.  Perceptions of the intellectual side of self?

2.  Perceptions of the emotional side of self?

3.  Perceptions of the beliefs of self?

4.  Perceptions of the interests of self?

5.  Perceptions of the needs of self?

a.  Maslow:  Physiological or survival needs?

b.  Maslow:  Safety or security needs?

c.  Maslow:  Affection or affiliation needs? Schutz:  Affection  and Inclusion needs?

d.  Maslow:  Achievement or self-esteem needs?  Schutz:  Control needs?

e.  Maslow:  Self-fulfillment or self actualization needs?

C.  What perceptions of social self do the transceivers possess? 

1.  Perceived roles?   

2.  Perceived group affiliations?

3.  Perceived degree of belonging to these groups?

4.  Perceived status in these groups?

5.  Perceived values?

a.  Values regarding man's relation  to other men?

b.  Work, activity, and involvement values?

c.  Materialistic-scientific values?  

d.  Man-nature-supernatural values?

e.  Time-related values

f.  Nation, ethnic, and group-related values?

II.  Since transceivers tend to resist transmitting messages to and receiving messages from those they perceive to be of low credibility or attractiveness, it is important to discover transceiver attitudes toward each other. 

A.  How do the transceivers perceive each other in terms of credibility?

1.  Perceptions of expertness?  

2.  Perceptions of trustworthiness? 

3.  Perceptions of dynamism?

B.  How much attraction do the transceivers have for each other? 

III.  Since transceivers tend to resist transmitting and receiving messages inappropriate to their knowledge level, we need to discover how much the other transceivers already know about our topic and the type of communication encounter being used.

A.  What do the participants know about the topic?

B.  What do they know about interviewing, group discussion, etc.?

IV.  Since transceivers tend to resist transmitting and receiving messages they view in a negative way or are not interested in, we need to discover transceiver attitudes and ego involvement related to our topic.

A.  What attitudes do the transceivers have toward our topic, and how ego-involved are they in our topic?

B.  What other topic-related attitudes do the transceivers hold, and how ego-involved are they in these aspects?

Once you have completed the transceiver analysis profile you are ready to plan how you can adapt your message to fit the participants or audience members so that the encounter will be successful and satisfying.


Finding Information in Printed Materials

Most material can be placed into one of the following categories:  books, newspapers, periodicals, and reference works. Some libraries have computer systems that index their holdings, and terminals make it possible to locate material much more rapidly.  However, if you are using a library that is not so equipped, you will need to use the card catalog, newspaper and periodical indexes, and reference works.


When you are trying to find information in books, the library card catalog is the place to begin.  All books found within a library are listed in the card catalog alphabetically by author, title, and topic.  For example, if you wanted to find books related to inflation, you might begin by looking up "inflation" in the card catalog.  You should also check the listings for "prices," "wages," "cost of living," and "economics."  Of course, if you are interested in one or more books written by a specific author, you can simply find the listing under the author's name rather than search through a listing of all the books on your topic. 


Newspapers are an excellent source for all kinds of evidence. Not only do news stories provide facts on a variety of topics, but editorials often provide points of view that you need to consider in presenting a speech or participating in a discussion.  Among the best newspapers that can be found in most libraries are these four:  The New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the National Observer, and the London Times.  These four newspapers have the additional advantage of being indexed.  Most other newspapers are not indexed. 

Usually libraries will use microform (a general term which includes microfilm, microfiche, microcard, and microprint) to store back issues of newspapers.  If you are uncertain about where to find microforms of back issues of newspapers or how to use the microforms, do not hesitate to ask a reference librarian for help.  Librarians are eager to teach you how to make use of this resource. 


Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature indexes articles in more than one hundred popular magazines on an annual basis.  Thus it is your best source for finding articles on your topic. Articles are indexed both by author and by topic.  As in looking for books, do not limit yourself to a single topic heading when looking for information.  Some magazines with excellent articles on a wide variety of topics are Reporter, New Republic, Nation, Black World, and Harvard Business Review. 

Periodical indexes of a more specialized nature are also available to help you find information on your topic.  Among these indexes of professional journals are the following:  Agricultural and Biological Sciences Index, Applied Science and Technology Index, Art Index, Business Periodicals Index, Education Index, Engineering Index, Index to Legal Periodicals, Public Affairs Information Service, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Index. 


Much useful information can be found in specific books designed to provide current information on a wide range of topics. Many of these sources are included in this list: 


Encylcopaedia Britannica

Encyclopedia Americana

Collier's Encyclopedia


Who's Who

Dictionary of National Biography

Dictionary of American Biography

Who's Who in America

Current Biography

Contemporary Authors

Sources of Facts

The Statesman's Yearbook

World Almanac and Book of Facts

Information Please Almanac

Statistical Abstract of the United States

Facts on File

Yearbook of the United Nations

Monthly Labor Review

Books of Quotations

Bartlett's Familiar Quotations

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

Still other reference works enable you to find more specialized information on your topic.

1.  The Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications arranges all departmental publications of the U.S. Government by topic.  Because this document is somewhat complicated to use, you may need to get assistance from a reference librarian.

2.  United States Congress, Congressional Record.

Evaluating Evidence and Reasoning        

You will find that skill in evaluating evidence and reasoning is needed (1) when you make a decision about whether the quality of the evidence justifies taking notes or Xeroxing the material and (2) when you are actively engaged in communication encounters where evidence and reasoning are being presented. 

In the first case, recording information can be quite time consuming if you are taking notes or expensive if you are Xeroxing the information.  For this reason it is important not to record information which is of such poor quality that you will be unable to use it. 

In the second case, you need to be able to evaluate information you and others use in ongoing communication interchanges.  You do not want your opinion unduly influenced by arguments based on faulty evidence and reasoning. 


(1) In evaluating evidence you should ask five questions about the evidence.  First, Is the evidence relevant to my topic? Evidence which is interesting but has no relevance to your topic is not worth recording.  Especially during early stages of your investigation, however, you should not be as concerned about the relevance criterion as you will be later because what is relevant may change as your research progresses. 

(2) The second question you should ask yourself in evaluating a piece of evidence is this:  "Will the evidence be clear and understandable to other transceivers?"  If the evidence will not be clear and understandable to others or if you will have great difficulty making it clear, it will probably not be worth your time and effort to record the evidence. 

(3) The third question in evaluating evidence is whether the evidence comes from an authority considered to be a current expert in the field involved.  If the person is not considered expert, then his/her opinion may be no better than yours and to record the information would not be worthwhile.  Of course, if the source of the evidence supports his/her viewpoint by pointing to other evidence, you may find the person useful in leading you to other sources of evidence. 

(4) Fourth, you should ask whether the authority is biased. If the person is biased, you may want to record the evidence only if the authority is stating a position contrary to his/her natural bias or if his/her point of view is important in establishing the position of his/her particular interest group. 

(5) Finally, you should determine whether the evidence is firsthand.  If the evidence actually comes from a source other than the one you are consulting, you would be wise to consult the source who has firsthand experience in the matter.  Be especially wary of evidence that includes statements such as "most experts agree" or "informed sources indicate." 


Reasoning is used to show that a specific inference has a high probability of being correct because of related observations and/or accepted inferences.  Four of the most common kinds of reasoning are reasoning from example, reasoning from general principle or rule, reasoning from causal relations, and reasoning from analogy. 

Reasoning from Example

Reasoning from example involves pointing to a number of examples that support a generalization.  We test this form of reasoning by asking if the examples supporting the generalization are known, sufficient, and representative. 

Suppose someone asserts, "Farm prices have gone up."  If she supports this statement by simply saying that there are several instances that she knows of and then fails to cite them, the examples are unknown to us.  Hence we should consider the generalization of dubious value until examples are cited. 

If the statement concerning farm prices is supported by only two or three price increases, we might question whether there are sufficient cases available to draw a conclusion about farm prices in general.  If sufficient cases are not available, we might say that a hasty generalization was drawn. 

A third question in reasoning from example is whether the examples noted are representative.  If you simply noted price increases on eggs, chicken, duck, and turkey, you could hardly conclude that all farm prices had risen.  At best you could conclude that poultry prices had risen. 

Reasoning from General Principle or Rule

In reasoning from general principle or rule, we find individual cases relevant to a general principle or rule and reason that what is true generally would also be true in the specific case.  If you know that as a general rule no one is allowed to graduate from your school without a basic math course, you are  not surprised when you are advised that you must take a basic math course before you graduate.  

In evaluating reasoning from a general principle you need to ask if the general principle or rule is actually true.  Many "truisms" are passed from one person to another even though they are absolutely false.  Simply because all of your friends say that a basic math course is required for graduation does not mean that such is the case.  

A second question you should ask yourself in evaluating reasoning from general principle or rule is whether the general principle or rule applies to the particular case being dealt with.  Most general principles or rules do have exceptions. 

Reasoning from Causal Relations

In reasoning from causal relations we reason that a given condition has come about as the result of certain causative factors, or we reason that certain conditions or factors will bring about a specified result.  Most of us believe that every condition has certain causes.  We do not simply perform poorly on an examination; certain conditions caused us to perform poorly.  Perhaps we did not have sufficient time to study; perhaps the examination was unfair; perhaps we were ill.  When certain events occur, we predict that other events will occur as a result of the earlier events.  A story about a scandal involving a politician is printed in the newspapers, and we predict that the politician will lose the next election as a result of the story. 

In evaluating this kind of reasoning we need to ask if the cause is sufficient to produce the claimed result.  Can two or three newspaper stories really cause a politician to lose an election? 

We also need to ask if other causes could also have produced the result.  Could the popularity of the politician's opponent have had anything to do with the loss?  This question is especially crucial because most events have more than one significant cause. 

Finally, we need to ask if the cause has been mistaken for the result.  In the case of poor performance on an examination because of illness, which really came first--the poor performance or the ill feeling?  And just because two events occur at approximately the same time, does that necessarily mean that one caused the other? 

Reasoning from Analogy

Reasoning from analogy involves showing that two objects or events are similar in all important respects.  We then reason that what is true in one of the events or objects will be true in the other also.  For example, in determining whether a complete pass fail grading system would work at a large state university, we might reason that because such a system has worked successfully at the private liberal arts college a few miles away, a pass-fail system would work at the large state university also.

In evaluating reasoning from analogy we need to ask if all important characteristics of the two things being compared are similar.  In our example we would want to know if the quality of faculty members, quality of students, administrative procedures, image of the university in the minds of potential employers, difficulty of courses, and the time spent in nonacademic activities by students are similar to the situation at the liberal arts college.  Even then, there might be differences in the two situations which we have overlooked.  Because such differences are easy to overlook, reasoning from analogy is one of the weakest kinds of reasoning used to support inferences.  In a sense, reasoning from analogy is reasoning from one example. 

Recording and Documenting Information    

Once we have decided that a piece of information may be of use to us, it is important to record the information to aid our memory and save us the trouble and time of finding the information again at a later date.  We may either photocopy the material or we may take notes. 

Regardless of the method of recording the information, it is important to accurately indicate the documentation:  the source, the date, and the page numbers must be recorded on the Xerox copy or note cards.  Citing the source includes more than naming the source.  You should also include the qualifications of your source.  You need this documentation not only for your presentation but also for the question-answer period that typically follows a presentation.  Listeners may want to know where they can find the information you cite.  If you cannot document your material, your credibility suffers. 

The hours we spend in the library can be reduced if we make photocopies of the information that we need.  If the material is taken from a periodical, the task of documenting it is simplified because most periodicals identify the magazine or journal and date at the bottom of each page.  Care does need to be taken especially if we are photocopying from a book because this information is not automatically included.  In this case we need to write the documentation on our copy. 

Although photocopying is quicker than taking notes by hand, it should be noted that photocopies are more difficult to organize and handle when we are actually discussing or preparing for a speech.  For example, there may be three important pieces of information on one page that we want to use in different places in our presentation.  Working from photocopies can cause much shuffling back and forth in an attempt to find that one ideal piece of support for a particular point.  Sometimes in public discussion, the pressure of the moment will not allow us to take the time that we need to find it.  Although taking notes by hand is slower, note cards can be easily organized.  Therefore, we need to transfer the relevant material from our photocopies on to note cards. 

However, there are a number of techniques in constructing note cards that do save time and effort.  It is a good idea to use either 3 X 5 or 4 X 6 note cards for note taking.  Also, not more than one idea should be included on any one note card.  Following this advice avoids the problem you have when using photocopied material.  Having only one idea on a card will save you time when you begin to arrange your ideas into some systematic order for a speech or when you need to find a piece of information quickly in a group discussion.  You should place the documentation at the top of each note card (see Figure 8-1). 

In general, it is better to spend a little more time constructing note cards than you think is necessary early in your search for information.  Extra time spent in locating and preparing material for effective participation in communication encounters will be rewarded when the time for your participation approaches.


Documentation: Lee A. Iacocca, "In Order to:  Compromise and Competency," Vital Speeches of the Day, LIII(October 1, 1987), 747.  Mr. Iacocca is the former chairman of the board for Chrysler Corporation. 


Information: Ironically, as cars get safer, the number of lawsuits involving them goes up.  Automobiles are involved in 50% of all the tort cases in the United States and they account for 50% of all compensation paid.              

Figure 8-1.  Sample of a note card.

Nothing is more disconcerting than the feeling that your really do not know what your are talking about or the frustration that can occur when you are unsure about where you got your information. 

Constructing an Annotated Bibliography

After you have collected the information you intend to use in the discussion or speech, construct an annotated bibliography of the sources you tapped.  In an annotated bibliography, you cite the source in proper bibliographical form.  Then, immediately under the citation, you write a brief summary of the information obtained from the source.   A good annotation will give another person who has not researched the source the essential, significant information you obtained from the source.  A secondary purpose of the annotated bibliography is to remind you of what your have researched.  

There are a number of style sheets currently in use.  The MLA (Modern Language Association) style sheet has been used for the references cited in this book.  Probably you have used this style sheet in your English composition courses.  A growing number of professional societies in the social and behavioral sciences are shifting to the style sheet developed by the American Psychological Association.  Most business and science journals use a style similar to the APA.  The APA style sheet is used for constructing our sample annotated bibliography.


Annotated Bibliography 

..........American Red Cross.  (1986).  AIDS:  The facts (AIDS-1).

      Washington, DC:  Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health

      and Human Services.


      This 1986 pamphlet attributes the cause of Acquired Immune

      Deficiency Syndrome to the HTLV-III (or LAV) virus. Approximately

      95% of the persons with AIDS belong to one of the following

      groups:  sexually active homosexual or bisexual men (73%), abusers

      of intravenous drugs (17%), patients who have had blood

      transfusions (2%), hemophiliacs (1%), and infants born to infected

      mothers (1%).  Approximately 5% of persons with AIDS were not

      classified into any of the above groups.


..........Bush proposes ambitious plan for clean air.  (1989,

      June 13). Tulsa World, pp. 1, 4.


      President Bush announced a plan to clean up urban smog by the

      year 2000.  His plan targets coal and autos in an effort to

      combat three forms of air pollution:  smog, acid rain, and toxic

      pollution.  His proposal would require auto manufacturers to

      produce vehicles that use alternatives to petroleum, such as

      alcohol and methane.  It would order that emission of sulfur

      dioxide from coal-burning power plants and vehicle exhausts be

      reduced from 20 million tons a year to 10 million tons a year by

      1995.  It would require industries that produce toxic pollution to

      use the "best available" technology to reduce those emissions.


..........Christie, R., & Jahoda, M.  (1954).  Studies in the scope and

      method of the authoritarian personality.  Glencoe, IL:  Free Press.


      This group of studies used questionnaires on political and

      economic conservatism, fascism, family relations, reports and

      interviews of early family life.  The authoritarian personality is

      submissive and uncritical toward authorities of the in-group.  The

      person believes it is important for children to learn to respect



..........Harper, P.  (1990, January).  [Personal interview with a

      professor of speech communication at Oklahoma State University].


      Dr. Harper summarized the results of a recent survey of graduates

      from the department of speech communication.  He stated that

      more than 90% of speech communication majors were satisfied

      with their college major.  Graduates often make their careers in

      the public media, public relations, human resource development,

      marketing, personnel management, and in professions such as

      teaching, counseling, ministry, and law.


..........Kottman, J. E.  (1964).  A semantic evaluation of

      misleading advertising.  Journal of Communication, 14, 151-156.


      Kottman's hypothesis in this paper is that there is no

      concrete conception of the terms "misleading advertising." He

      tested this hypothesis by taking a group of nine house wives, ten

      retailers and thirteen advertising students.  Each participant was

      exposed to ten prints which had been selected by other advertising

      students as examples of misleading advertising.  The data were

      tabulated by using a formula which yielded the degree of

      agreement among the subjects. The findings supported the



..........Rudolph, B.  (1989, May 22).  Second life for styrofoam.

      Time, p. 84.


      A major factor in the growing refuse problem is the fact

      that plastics will not deteriorate.  The U.S. produces 1.6 billion

      pounds of plastic soda, milk, and water bottles yearly.  Currently

      only 1% of all plastic waste is being recycled.  However, 130

      companies are involved in the recycling of plastics.  Recycled

      plastic is cheaper to produce than new plastic is to make by 20

      cents a pound.  One of the biggest obstacles to recycling is

      consumer indifference.  People do not want to take the time to

      separate their used plastic product containers from their other



Note that the entries in the annotated bibliography are arranged in alphabetical order.  Note also that the form of each entry is slightly different.  The first entry gives you the correct form for a government pamphlet.  The second entry is an example of the correct form for a newspaper article.  The third is the correct form for a book.  The fourth entry shows how a personal interview should be cited.  The last two entries are both from periodicals; however, they are treated differently.  The Kottman entry demonstrates the correct form for an article from a professional journal, whereas the Rudolph entry demonstrates the correct form for a magazine article.  Note also that in each case the information presented by the source has been summarized in a paragraph.


You have met the objectives of this unit if you can  

Name and describe ways of obtaining information for a transceiver analysis profile.

Name and describe the self-concept aspects of transceiver analysis.

Name and describe the participant-related, knowledge related, and topic-related aspects of transceiver analysis.

For a specified speech communication encounter, construct a transceiver analysis profile.

Describe ways of finding information in printed materials.

Describe how to evaluate evidence and reasoning.

Record and document relevant information.   

Construct an annotated bibliography. 

In this unit we have suggested a systematic means by which you can organize your inferences about transceivers in order to become acquainted with them.  The observations upon which your inferences are based can come from one or all of the following sources:  your own observations of the transceivers' behavior, what others have told you about the transceivers, and what the transceivers have self-disclosed. 

In order to get into the frame of reference of others so that you can prepare messages that will be meaningful to them from their perspective, you need to make inferences about the transceivers' self concepts. You need to infer how they see themselves physically, internally as well as externally.  You need to infer how they regard themselves psychologically in terms of their intellect, emotions, beliefs, interests, and needs.  Two systems of classifying needs, one by Maslow and the other by Schutz, are useful in doing a transceiver analysis profile. Finally, you need to determine how they see themselves socially by determining their perceived roles, groups, degree of belonging, status, and values.  Values can be  classified according to a six cluster scheme. The Johari awareness model provides a framework for investigating self concepts with attention given to the open, blind, hidden, and unknown areas.

You also need to make inferences regarding how the transceivers will perceive you in terms of your credibility (expertise, trustworthiness, and dynamism) and your attraction (likability).   Also, in order to plan a message that will be meaningful and acceptable to them, you need to discover how much they already know about the topic in question and how familiar they are with the type of communication encounter being used. Finally, it is important for you to ascertain their attitudes about the topic (as well as the problem and your solution, if the encounter is a persuasive one).  Not only do you need to determine how they feel about the topic, you also need to discover how important the topic (and the problem and your solution, if you are trying to persuade them) is to them personally. 

These systematically considered and constructed inferences, drawn prior to an encounter, constitute your transceiver profile. 

In this unit we have identified four sources of potential information in which you can find support for your inferences and assertions:  books, newspapers, periodicals, and reference works including government pamphlets. 

In an effort to help you choose among the materials that are available, we have given you guidelines by which you can evaluate the evidence and reasoning of others.  A good piece of evidence should be relevant to your topic, clear and understandable to others, from an authority currently working in the area, and first hand.  The bias of the source should be examined also.  

We presented four types of reasoning and the questions by which each should be evaluated.  To test reasoning from example, you should ask if the given examples are known, sufficient, and representative.  To test reasoning from general rule or principle, you should determine if the rule is actually true and, if it is, does it apply in this particular case.  Reasoning from causal relations is evaluated by asking if the cause is sufficient to produce the claimed result and if the cause has been mistaken for the result.  Reasoning from analogy is tested by asking if the two things being compared are really alike in all important respects and if any important differences have been overlooked. 

Material which has stood the test of evaluation can be collected for further use by taking notes on note cards.  It is important to document the information by indicating its source, date, and page numbers.

Finally, your information can be assembled into an annotated bibliography.  This document includes two items for each entry:  bibliographic information so that another person can locate the same material and a paragraph that summarizes the information you gained from the source.  An annotated bibliography serves a dual purpose:  It gives another person the essential information from each source and it reminds you of what you have researched.









Table of Contents of this Unit:

Preview of the Unit

Transceiver Analysis
Unit Objective 01, Methods of Obtaining Information 

Unit Objective 02, Self-Concept Aspects of Analysis

Unit Objective 03, Participant, Knowledge, & Topic Aspects

Unit Objective 04, Constructing a Transceiver Analysis Profile

Researching a Topic

Unit Objective 05, Researching Printed Materials

Unit Objective 06, Evidence and Reasoning

Unit Objective 07, Record and Document Information

Unit Objective 08, Annotated Bibliography

Review of the Unit

Communication Challenges

For Further Reading

End of the Unit