Sequence Three: Collaborative Multigenre Research Project

Purpose: Multigenre (or multimodal or multimedia) writing presents academic arguments through a variety of approaches rather than producing a traditional, linear paper.  Such a project gives you experience writing in different forms, for different audiences, and presenting your research through media you will likely encounter in future courses and professions.  This project asks you to be both scholarly and creative; to pay close attention to matters of audience, research, argument, and style; to employ critical thinking and problem solving skills you will need under any circumstance.  By handling research in this way, you will continue to build the writing skills you’ve developed in Sequences 1-3 and learn how to better recognize that thinking is conditioned by the discourses in which you write.  In this project, you will conduct “deep” research; work in collaboration with others; make conscious decisions about what information is important to your argument; and make mindful choices about how to present that information to your audience(s) through different genres.


Description: Through a collection of genres you write, you will create multilayered arguments about a society of superheroes, paying specific attention to issues of “difference” (race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, ability/disability, etc.).  In a multigenre research project, each piece of writing is self-contained, making an argument on its own, entering into a specific rhetorical situation, having its own audience.  At the same time, each self-contained piece is connected to the others by topic, theme, and other unifying elements.  In addition to many genres, an MGRP may also contain many voices.  The trick is to make such a paper hang together.  The main objective is to be sure not to simply recycle the same information over and over; the reader should learn something new in each piece.  Since each group’s projects will be different, I cannot tell you what the end result will look like.  So this is a good time for group conferences.



Project Research Requirements


Required research sources:

  • Primary sources:  You must use and cite information from at least 2 primary sources for the superhero society you research.  This could include films, comic books or strips, graphic novels, novels, short stories, fan fiction, visual/art pieces, etc.


  • Secondary scholarly sources: You must use and cite information from at least 2 academic, peer-reviewed articles per group member from the library databases.  (So, for example, if you have 3 people in the group, you need 6 sources; if you have four people to a group, you need 8 sources).  These sources could provide general background knowledge on superheroes applicable to your study; specific background information on the superhero society you’re researching; general information on the diversity issues you are addressing; help you write your literature review; help you support your arguments in other genres, etc.


  • Secondary popular sources: You may use up to (but not exceeding) 4 popular secondary sources.  These might include websites, TV news, newspaper or magazine reports, non-academic journal articles, blogs, etc.




Project Writing Requirements


  • Table of contents:  List each genre of the project, in the order that they should be read.


  • Introduction to Project/Superhero Society Profile (3 pages, minimum):  This genre serves two purposes:  1) it should introduce your topic and the project’s specific arguments to your audience and 2) should profile the superhero society on which the project focuses.  This genre should be a “reading guide” for your readers, helping them understand the project’s arguments, why they are important, and what the group’s purpose/goal is in making these arguments.   At the same time, the genre should use thick and engaging details to bring the superhero society to life for your readers—especially focusing on the kinds of differences in the society and among the superheroes.


  • Visual/image:  This visual element can be of your own design, a graphic, clip art, or a photograph of your own or one that you have culled from a source.  It can be an image, a graph, a symbol or chart.  It can even be filmed.  It can stand alone or be embedded in another genre, but it must be used effectively.  If you do take the image from another source, you must cite it in-text and on your Works Cited page.


  • Literature review (3 pages, minimum):  This genre focuses specifically on your peer-reviewed articles.  In this genre, you will describe and analyze the topics, issues, arguments, and trends (argumentative patterns) among these articles.  For more instruction on writing this genre, see the course pack (“Writing for the Social Sciences,” section 63b, pp. 584-585). 


  • Argumentative essay on an issue of difference (4 pages, minimum): For this genre, select one of the academic disciplines that we covered in Sequence Two and write an argument about “difference” in your superhero society.  Use the following as your research questions the argument should answer: what kinds of differences exist in the society?  How are those differences represented?  For what purposes are differences included?  How do the differences relate to the audiences of that superhero society?  What are the effects of differences on a variety of audiences?  Depending on the academic discipline you choose, you must apply the disciplinary conventions, discourses, and documentation styles of that discipline in the writing of this essay.


  • Genre of choice (500 words, minimum):  See the list of genres attached to this assignment prompt for ideas, but you aren’t limited to those genres.


  • At least one additional genre of choice (without word limit):  Again, see the list of genres attached to this prompt.


  • Works Cited page: This should list all sources, primary and secondary sources, as well as any visuals that you did not construct/create yourself.


  • Reflective memo (500 words, minimum):  While the group will work together to produce all the other genres of the project, each student must complete and turn in his/her own memo.  In your individual writers’ memos, explain the following:

Þ     What are the strengths of the project and why?  What would you have changed about the project and why?

Þ     What specific steps did the group take to research, write, and revise the project?

Þ     How well did the whole group work together on the project?

Þ     How did the group divide responsibilities for the project?  What did each group member (not you) contribute to the project? How well did each group member do on their assigned tasks?  (please be fair, accurate, and honest in your responses).

Þ     What did you contribute to the project?  How responsible were you to the whole group? How well did you do on your assigned task? (please be fair, accurate, and honest in your response).

As with your group facilitation, collectively and individually, these writers’ memos determine individual student grades.  Thus, it is important to be as accurate, honest, and specific as possible in responses to the questions.  As with the group facilitation, students in the group who perform outstanding work may be upgraded in the evaluation of the project; and conversely, students whose contributions are lacking or students who do not complete their writing tasks may be downgraded in the evaluation.  It’s another real-world experience of communicating, listening, working effectively together—as you will do not only in other classes, but especially in your future professional situations.







List of Genres by Category

This is merely a guide to the possible genres you could use, both written and visual genres, but feel free to use any forms/genres that do not appear on this list that you are comfortable writing.


Print Media

  • newspaper article
  • obituary
  • editorial
  • letter to the editor
  • advice column
  • magazine article
  • recipe
  • application (job, school, internship)
  • wanted poster
  • headlines/front page
  • dictionary of specific language
  • mission statement
Visual with Words

  • poster
  • invitation
  • ad
  • travel brochure
  • greeting card
  • cartoon
  • bumper sticker
  • business cards
  • response to art
  • image with caption
  • neighborhood flyers
  • PowerPoint
  • Comic strip
  • Graphic novel
  • Filmed Public Service Announcement
Visual Display/Digital Writing

  • picture/photograph
  • graph/chart
  • map
  • certificate/award
  • storyboard
  • postcard
  • menu
  • PowerPoint
  • scrapbook page
  • magazine cover
  • webpage
  • wiki entry
  • blog
  • Facebook post
  • Twitter feed
  • Film/video

  • interview
  • timeline
  • directions
  • campaign speech
  • assignment sheet
  • resume
  • encyclopedia entry
  • memo
  • lab report
  • calendar/agenda
  • membership cards
  • will
  • police report
  • pro/con list
  • Public Service Announcement (PSA)
  • restaurant menu
  • profile
Creative Writing

  • diary or journal entry
  • song
  • poem
  • short story
  • personal narrative
  • conversation
  • pledge
  • top ten list
  • travel journal
  • report card
  • telegram
  • prayers/meditation
  • eulogy
  • letter
  • children’s book
  • screenplay/script/skit
  • parody
  • fairy tale

  • critical analysis
  • report
  • descriptive writing
  • persuasive essay
  • opinion/position paper
  • researched argument
  • manifesto
  • contract
  • outline



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