I chose to create my multigenre research project on Jane Austen because I find it fascinating that an author who was popular in her own time has managed to remain popular for over 200 years, despite all the changes in society and culture.On a more personal note, Jane Austen is my literary comfort food.In addition, it speaks to the difficulty women have historically had in competing in male-dominated industries, such as writing.
In order to learn the answers to these questions, I used both print and nonprint resources, including online newspapers and literary criticism, in order to research Jane Austen's influence both in her own time and in ours.
I also researched multimedia, including images and videos that conveyed our current fascination with Austen's work.
The multigenre paper thus engages students in a higher level of creative thought. Romano discovered through classroom experience that students must orient readers by writing an introduction that clearly explains the process used in developing the paper and that also contextual-izes the topic.
At the same time, it helps them develop and hone their basic skills. He suggests that the first genre to follow the introduction be carefully chosen, because its powerful position will set the tone for the entire product.
The basis for Romano's approach is to "[r]esist explaining, summing up, and analyzing. In a traditional report on a typical research topic such as anorexia, the writer funnels information from primary or secondary sources into a standard form.
When the writer uses the same source information to write a multigenre paper, however, the facts might become the basis of a realistic diary for a fictional victim of the disease, and the finished product might also include photographs, original drawings, or photocopied art. The multigenre paper is a new concept for most readers, and those who expect a traditional research paper will quickly lose their way.
For me, part of good teaching includes creating new assignments to fit the students' interests and changes in society.
Multigenre papers are layered with poetry, letters, scripts, song lyrics, narratives, and news articles created in response to information found through research. Personal topics, such as family history, take a new appearance and tone when the writer creates a letter that an ancestor did not have time to write.
Tom Romano's newest book, Blending Genre, Altering Style: Writing Multigenre Papers, introduced me to a creative research approach.
When the year changed from 1999 to 2000, my assignments seemed antiquated, and I was even more inspired to find unique ideas for teaching writing.