Generic Research Project

Purpose:  This project gives you the opportunity to closely investigate the social and rhetorical conventions of a particular genre of writing.  In addition to developing your understanding of the formal/conventional features of a genre, you have the opportunity to investigate the cultural dynamics that make a genre appropriate (or not!) for a particular discourse community.

Annotated bibliography: Your annotated bibliography is a working bib designed to help you collect and evaluate sources, as well as to think through the ways those sources might inform your report and class presentation.  This annotated bibliography should include 4 sources.

Aim for a blend of research sources that reflect the interests of both academic and general audiences.  Locate at least two academic, theoretical sources on your chosen genre.  These sources should come from academic journals or books.  Other sources might be found on popular web sites, might be representative of your genre, etc. Each annotation should include three elements:

1.  An APA or MLA citation of the source.
2.  A brief (one paragraph) summary of the source’s central argument.  (Don’t just state the topic of the source; state its claim and significant findings.)
3.  A brief discussion of if/how this source might inform your report and

Genre Report: This 5-7 page report is both a theoretical and pedagogical discussion of your chosen genre.  The report should include two sections:

The first section should explore the theoretical dynamics of your genre; you should help your audience, fellow class members, understand the conventions that inform your chosen genre.  Help us understand the genre in light of the five principles of genre that we've discussed: 

Five Principles of Genres*

  1. Genres are dynamic forms that mediate between unique features of individual contexts and features that recur across contexts. 
  2. Genre knowledge is embedded in the communication activities of daily life and is a form of “situated cognition.” 
  3. Genre knowledge embraces both form and content, including a sense of rhetorical appropriateness (audience, purpose, style, etc.). 
  4. Genres simultaneously constitute and reproduce social structures. 
  5. Genre conventions signal a discourse community’s norms, epistemology, and ideology. 

(*Adapted from C. Berkenkotter and T. Hucken’s “Rethinking Genre from a Socio-Cognitive Perspective.”  (Written Communication 10.4 (1993): 475-509))

The second section should create a kind of pedagogical lesson on how to meet the generic conventions of the genre you've selection.  Consider purpose, audience needs, stylistics, visual layout, and/or other  rhetorical considerations important for your genre.

You will post your report to the designated Forum site on our Writing Studio page.

Presentation:  In a 10 minute presentation to the class, you'll explain the theoretical (social, cultural, etc.) and pedagogical features of your chosen genre.  Your presentation should be clear, concise, linked to the materials you've posted on our Writing Studio "Forum" site, and engaging.