Sample Assignment: Multigenre Project
L. Langstraat, Associate Professor of English
Colorado State University

A Multigenre Project presents multiple, even conflicting, perspectives on a topic or event, in order to provide a rich context and present an aesthetically appealing product for an audience. Your multigenre project should reflect the following:

A focus:  You should not only include documents that relate to a general topic or event, but you should ensure that the documents forward a point of significance, a rhetorical purpose.

A coherent organization:  Documents should be created and organized in order to lead readers through the project, to help them understand your focus and purpose.  A series of seemingly unconnected pieces, though they may share a similar topic, will not result in a strong multigenre project.  Instead, readers should experience a sense of cohesion, a sense of connection and transition between each generic document in the project.  You can create coherence through transitional pieces between genres, your table of contents, etc.

Begin with an informal proposal for research. In this proposal, you have an opportunity to think-in-writing about your plans for your multigenre research.  This is an informal piece of writing about your research interests, the questions guiding those interests, and the potential genre documents you’d like to produce.  We’ll then give you feedback and suggestions about your ideas and guide you in the right direction for research.  Your proposal should include: a list of 5 questions that might guide your research; an explanation of WHY you’re interested in this topic; ideas about primary and secondary sources that might be useful?  Ideas about genres are you thinking about producing for your project (see list of genres); and a projection of how you will ensure that those genres can are connected, so that the mgp becomes a coherent whole, a clear argument?

The Multigenre Project includes at least 8 documents (including an Introduction, Table of Contents, 5 documents of different genres, and a works cited page) that offer a sustained argument about your chosen issue.  By creating documents in different genres (e.g., the academic research essay, editorials, feature stories, brochures, short fiction, charts, scripts, etc.), you learn to write for multiple audiences, multiple purposes, and multiple forums.

Your entire MGP should be presented in a theme that best fits your purposes.  Past students have “packaged” their MGPs as a CD, a scrapbook, a photo album, a patient file, an employee handbook, a manual, a newspaper, a magazine—the options are endless!  Just be sure to offer us a table of contents (TOC) that provides an overview of and title for each document.

Your Introduction serves as a guide to readers, helping us understand the issue you’re addressing, offering us insight about why you chose the genres you chose, etc.  The intro is your chance to help us understand why this topic is important, how we should “read” your documents, etc.  The intro may be written as a letter to readers, a magazine article, an editorial, etc.

The bulk of your MGP will be the five documents, each representing a different genre, that helps persuade your audience(s) to your point of view.  Aim for a good balance of genres, and be sure that at least three of your documents directly use the sources you’ve gathered from your library research.  By writing a traditional researched essay, a brochure that utilizes your research sources, a chart or other visual, a story drawing from the information you’ve gathered, a quiz based on researched sources, etc.—by approaching your research findings in a creative way, your MGP helps an audience understand many different perspectives about your topic.  Some of the documents you’ll include may be more time-intensive than others.  But the 5 documents that make up the body of your MGP should show your knowledge, creativity, and ability to persuade your audience(s) toward your central claim.

The MGP should conclude with a Works Cited page.  As you cite sources for each document, your citation approach should be appropriate for each genre.  It’s a rare ghost story, for example, that includes parenthetical citation practices!  But there are creative ways to ensure that you a) give credit to the source from which you draw information (e.g., discussing that info in your introduction, using endnotes/acknowledgment pages, etc.), and b) establish your credibility as a writer who has conducted significant research to support your opinion.