Multigenre Research Paper Assignment English

 

Rationale

³A multigenre paper arises from research, experience, and imagination. It is not an uninterrupted, expository monolog nor a seamless narrative nor a collection of poems. A multigenre paper is composed of many genres and subgenres, each piece self-contained, making a point of its own, yet connected by theme or topic and sometimes by language, images, and content. In addition to many genres, a multigenre paper may also contain many voices, not just the author¶s.´ (Tom Romano)

The Multigenre Research Project is a way to expose students to writing, literature, and research whiledeepening their understanding of a specific topic. The multi-genre paper asks students to see, understand,interpret, synthesize, and know their subject through multiple genres rather than a traditional or linear research- based paper. In employing genres as both a lens and a rhetorical tool, the multi-genre research paper asksstudents to be explicitly

creative

and

 scholarly

, to pay close attention to matters of 

 style

as well as matters of 

research

. In handling research in this way, students build a ³rhetorical repertoire´ and learn how to better recognize that their thinking is conditioned by the genres they write in and the strength of the message dependson the best choice of genre for their purpose.In comparison to the traditional research paper, the Multigenre paper is more appealing and engaging,for both the writer and the reader. Although the Multigenre paper differs from the traditional research paper interms of presentation, the writing standards differ very little; in both students must use critical thinking skills to process their researched information and present it clearly through writing. An advantage of the Multigenre paper is that the writing allows for more standards (both National and State) of writing proficiency to becovered during the unit than is allowed by a tradition approach to the research paper.The research paper can be a daunting task for students to complete, as well as for an educator to teach.Research skills are pertinent for every student to learn, regardless of their post graduation plans. TheMultigenre research paper teaches both writing and research skills that students desiring to attend college, aswell as those who are immediately entering the workforce after graduation will need. For many students theresearch paper is a new concept that they are completely unfamiliar with. My approach for teaching this unit isto systematically build upon their knowledge through a constructivist approach to learning. Mandy students areunaware that they already possess researching skills and use them on a daily basis. The idea of writing aresearch paper is intimidating because it boasts a strictly academic appeal in their minds.I believe that by allowing students to select a topic of their choice, and possibly one that they are alreadyfamiliar with, the students can only further their critical- thinking and problem-solving skills. The students¶surface level knowledge and interest in a topic promotes a necessary catalyst to further developing their knowledge about the topic. Engaging student interest in a topic is a critical step in advocating a curriculum based in inquiry.

Another benefit of this approach is that it can be completely inquiry based. Rather than the

My juniors don’t know it (unless they read this blog, in which case, hi students! Surprise!), but they are going to begin a multigenre research project in a couple of weeks.

I first learned about multigenre research papers from Buffy Hamilton—I had heard of multigenre research papers before I attended Buffy’s session at the annual GCTE conference, but I hadn’t learned about them. In that session, she recommended Tom Romano’s book Blending Genre, Altering Style, which is still the gold standard for multigenre research writing. I walked out of the session very excited to try this kind of writing with my students, but I needed some time to figure out how to do it and what I wanted it to look like.

Buffy exemplifies what is best about Web 2.0 in her willingness not only to share her presentations, but also her materials with teachers who might not have been fortunate enough to attend her presentation (and, of course, those who were). Here is a link to her wiki page with her presentation and materials. I adapted the materials, and in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license under which Buffy shared her materials, you can download mine under the same license. Note: These files are PDF’s. If you just want to print, click the link and click Print. If you want to save the files, right click and save the link (save link as, save target as). You should be able to download them that way. If not, let me know.

The twist on the assignment for me, and the main way I changed Buffy’s materials, is that I want my students to share their projects using a Google Site. Our school has Google Apps, and I think using Google Sites will be a good way for students to learn a little bit about online publishing but still maintain control over who sees their work—Google Sites can be shared only with others on the network.

You can create multigenre research projects on anything, but I want my students to research a British author. Because I think a model is essential in undertaking an assignment like this one, I created a model for the assignment. Here is my Jane Austen multigenre research project. My angle is that in the last fifteen years or so, we’ve seen Jane Austen’s impact on pop culture grow, well, I don’t want to say exponentially because it might not be quite that profound, but you get the idea. Math folks? Exponentially or not? Anyway, I attribute a lot of this growth to the 1996 BBC film of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth (congratulations, Colin Firth!) and Jennifer Ehle.

Feel free to download and adapt the materials I shared, though original portions of the Jane Austen project are copyrighted by me (portions of the work owned by others are cited on the Works Cited page). You can share the project with your students, but please do not duplicate it on your own website.

photo credit: Tim Riley 澳大利亚

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