Multigenre Research Project

Essay time (Postmodern Feminism): My Desk

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.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tim Riley 澳大利亚

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5 thoughts on “Multigenre Research Project

  1. I am reading this blog with interest because I am trying to encourage the senior Brit lit teachers at my school to tackle a multigenre research project, but I didn't have examples that would really work with British literature. You've hit the nail on the head! Wow–everything looks great. We are running a bit behind this year (as usual), but I would really like for all of us to at least consider doing this type of project, even if it means that we do it next year. So, thanks for sharing your wonderful examples, Dana.

  2. I love my multigenre project. I do it with Romeo and Juliet as well as Fahrenheit 451. I only do one or the other because they can be a little tedious to grade. Thanks for sharing this stuff! It is awesome.

    • Thanks, Jordan. This is the first time I will be trying it out, so I will be sure to write later about any grading issues.

  3. This is awesome! How kind of you to share your resources. Some of my best writing experiences (and therefore, my best writing samples) have been multigenre projects. I have never been asked to use the multigenre as a way of researching a topic or author; I always wrote fiction (or rather, a fictionalized version of my own truth). But, I think perhaps students will resist the research project less if they get some input. Really, your work on Jane Austin changed my impression of her a bit; so all of the students who do a multigenre research project and then "publish" it through Google docs have also added a little to their subjects' history.

    I think that's how technology is supposed to work in a classroom: Inspiring creativity in a way that makes an impression on others.

    • Thanks, Sarah. I hope the change was for the positive! The old girl certainly has grown on me in the last five years or so.

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