Saturday, February 07, 2009

Session F

Making Research Relevant – Multigenre research papers

There's a wiki up where you can see the presentation, as well as several others from the conference:

What does multigenre mean? we're expanding our definition of a research project to include alternate or additional types of artifacts; they can get into higher levels of Bloom's taxonomy with synthesis and evaluation

it's a collection of different pieces written in a variety of genres that illustrate a perspective informed by research. They sound simple, but when you look at examples, you can see the depth of thinking and understanding shown in seemingly "simple" genres.

MGRs allow students who don't do well in a particular format to show understanding in other ways, while still pushing to improve in their areas of weakness.

Why should we do it? (My question: why NOT?) It gives students more choice, allows for more freedom and creativity, and helps them to understand the similarities and differences between genres. Part of the project is that students explain why they chose a particular genre for that particular piece. It gives an opportunity for new and alternate perspectives. It includes traditional writing as well as the alternative genres.

We're going a LOT into why we should do this, and I guess that's valid for those who need to promote it back at school, but I want to hear more about HOW to do this.


1. Work with the librarian to develop the resources necessary for the students to get the information they need.
2. The librarian can provide mini-lessons about research strategies, evaluating sources, and using information in an ethical manner. (Theoretically! Of course it depends on who your librarian IS.)
3. Encourage students to use many different types of sources, so long as they're authoritative!
4. Organize the task carefully; provide instruction and practice before jumping in!
5. Provide "enough" time – give students a bit of "wiggle room." (How do you know how much is "enough?")
6. Give concrete examples of alternate genres and completed papers. This will help students understand what's possible.
7. Have a timeline with a series of steps so that students know where they should be in the process at all times. They will need some help staying on track.

"Repetend" – a repeating or continuing element in the project? I don't really get this – it's a theme, repeated phrase, or "something" that gives the project as a whole continuity.

Ideas for alternate genres:
- Pageflakes
- Blogging
- Delicious
- Class commons?
- Class wiki

I noticed that all of these are online, which IMO seems as limiting as the traditional paper.

Evaluate what resources you have, and survey the students beforehand to see what they feel comfortable with and what they know they need help with.

The presenter's going over the documents – worksheets, rubrics, instruction forms, etc – that are available on the wiki. It's incredibly thorough. There are also sample projects and she's going to upload more of them as she gets permission from the students.

This sort of project allows students the freedom to do research that is more authentic – five-year-old books aren't the best resources these days – as well as personally relevant. Rather than something they suffer through, this can be something that helps them see research in a new way, something that they remember for years after they graduate.


Melissa B. said...

I do a multigenre research paper...or a quasi-multigenre paper...every Spring, I take my AP Lang classes to the National Gallery of Art. There they must research an artist and his/her work, then compare that work to a piece of literature/author we've been studying. Always the most interesting papers to read!

BTW...don't forget Sx3 tomorrow. It has a Texas-sized theme. Something about armadillos?

Clix said...

Awww! I missed it - we were on the road all day Sunday.

What genres do the students get to chose from?

Dana Huff said...

I really enjoyed this session. I want to try a multigenre paper this year.

Clix said...

I like the idea - but I'm not sure we have the resources to support it. Our research unit is, sadly, something of a formality.

Lightly Seasoned said...

Our seniors do the multi-genre (except for my AP Lit class). I think the challenge is getting across to the kids that they shouldn't be superficial and that the genres should show connection and thought. Some of these projects can be wincingly bad in a way that a traditional research paper can't be.

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