genre project

Genre Project

This project invites to you to apply what you’ve learned about the features of genre in a two-pronged project. Your goal for this assignment will be to identify a genre in your field of study or some other field of interest, to study that genre and learn its features, and then to create a piece of your own that adheres to the conventions of that genre.

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Your first step will be to learn about the genres of writing in a field of interest to you. This area of interest might be your direction of academic study, but it might alternatively be a field/community that you are a part of outside of your academic life. For example, I am part of a community of people who love to cook. There are a number of genres of writing in that field: Online food blogs, recipes, cookbooks, cookbook reviews, history of food articles, feature articles on food culture, etc. If I were selecting from this list, I would choose cookbook reviews because this is something that I’ve always thought about doing more of. Plus…this sort of writing might also apply to the type of writing I need to do for work (reviewing student papers!). I could also choose a genre from my academic field: writing studies. There are many genres in my field of study, but here are a few: research articles, instructional notes, conference presentation talks, theoretical analysis, academic analysis essays, book reviews, review of research, etc. If I were writing an academic piece, I might choose an instructional note. This is because it would allow me to do some research, but it is a piece that doesn’t require active research to be completed (I don’t have to set up a research project and conduct it over the course of a month😬). My choice here is definitely shaped by the constraints of the time frame of this assignment. While I could conduct a month-long research project and present my findings in a documented 20 page research paper…I do NOT have time for that in the confines of the last 4 weeks of our class!

These two examples should illustrate that you are going to be thinking about a few different things when you choose your genre: personal interests, academic interests (what do you want to learn more about?), your needs as a developing writer, and the constraints of this course and the timeframe of this essay. You will have three weeks to complete this project, so keep that in mind as you select your genre. But also think about what type of writing will be useful to you in the future…is there a type of writing you want to do or anticipate that you will need to do more of in the future?

I’ve provided a sample list of areas of interest and associated genres or types of writing, but your area of interest may not be on my list, so plan to do some research. In addition, some of the types of writing I menton here may be too broad and may require specifying a more specific genre than is listed. To help you with this process, you could talk to a professor in your field, conduct research in one of the field-specific library databases to see what sort of pieces are out there, or if you have already done some writing in your field, you might already have an idea of what your options are. Once you select a genre, you’ll be able to begin the first part of the project. If you’re not sure about your genre, please email or text me. I am happy to help!

Bibliography

The first part of your project will be to develop a bibliography of examples of writing that exhibits the genre you are studying. For example, if your genre is democratic political commentary, you will be looking for examples of published materials in this genre. You might be looking for materials published by the major news networks as well as commentary pieces that might show up in library databases. If your genre is literary book reviews, you might be looking in publications like The New York Book Review, the New York Times Book Review section, Los Angeles Review of Books, Harper’s Monthly, or other publications that include literary reviews. It is up to you to know or learn where to find pieces in the genre you’ve selected.

As you collect sources, you’ll put together a bibliography of examples of the genre. This is simply a list of sources in MLA format. If you find it useful, you can include annotations of those sources that explain what features of the genre are most prominent in each piece.

Genre Analysis Presentation

You’ve done a genre analysis before! As early as week 1 of our class, you got your feet wet in this type of work, so it should be somewhat familiar to you now. The second component of this project is to conduct a comprehensive genre analysis will be more comprehensive that covers all 6 of the primary features of genre that we’ve been looking at this semester: context, content, audience, purpose, style, organization. Create a genre analysis for your chosen genre in presentation format, and present your analysis to your fellow classmates on the discussion board on D2L. Your presentation must be presented electronically. You can use a presentation software like PowerPoint, KeyNote, or Prezi…or you can create a video or a brochure for your classmates. What do you think they would find most useful?

You will create a first draft of your presentation for the instructor to review. After that feedback, you’ll have a chance to revise before going live in the presentation forum.

Tip: As you create your presentation, keep in mind that the online presentation is a genre in itself! Review tips for powerpoint presentations delivered in an online environment for ideas about how to design your slides, how to deliver them in a way that is meaningful to other participants in the forum, etc.

Genre Practice

The third part of this project is to create an example of the genre you’re studying. After you’ve drafted your genre analysis, you should have a good sense of the paper you’ll need to write. That will help you to select an appropriate topic for your genre. What is something that you would like to write about and communicate in this genre? This paper is your chance to say something that matters to you for the field that you are interested in pursuing, so take some time to develop a topic that you want to spend some time thinking and writing about.

The primary thing you will be concerned about as you create your piece of writing is aligning with the features of the genre that you uncovered in your research. This applies to all features that we’ve been looking at this semester. Here’s a recap:

Context: What is the social relationship or need that precipitates the need for this type of communication?
Audience: Who is the likely reader for this type of piece? What are their interests and knowledge in the area? What expectations do they have?
Purpose: What is your piece meant to accomplish? What purpose does it serve?
Content: What sorts of things are included in this type of piece? Be detailed in your consideration of this question! Does the genre use research?Quotation? Summary? Casual or more formal references to the ideas of others? Does it include a clear thesis statement, or does this genre usually work with an implied thesis? Etc…
Style: What style of writing is usually featured in a piece of this nature? Formal? Informal? Does it use 1st person or 3rd person? Literary device? Metaphor? Pay careful attention to the way the writing in this genre feels and sounds on the page.
Organization: How do pieces like this typically begin? With a story or anecdote? With a bold claim? With a section on background? Where does the thesis go in this sort of piece?
Details

You determine the details for this paper! I will be using both my knowledge of the genre and your genre analysis presentation to determine how your Genre Practice piece lives up to the genre’s expectations, in the end.

Bibliography

The first part of your project will be to develop a bibliography of examples of writing that exhibits the genre you are studying. For example, if your genre is democratic political commentary, you will be looking for examples of published materials in this genre. You might be looking for materials published by the major news networks as well as commentary pieces that might show up in library databases. If your genre is literary book reviews, you might be looking in publications like The New York Book Review, the New York Times Book Review section, Los Angeles Review of Books, Harper’s Monthly, or other publications that include literary reviews. It is up to you to know or learn where to find pieces in the genre you’ve selected.

As you collect sources, you’ll put together an annotated bibliography of examples of the genre. This is simply a list of sources in either MLA or APA format. To make the bibliography more useful for you, you will include an annotation of each source that offer a brief explanation of the topic of the piece and explains what features of the genre are most prominent in the piece. Annotations are brief paragraphs that are included after each source in the document. If you’re not sure what this looks like, here are sample layouts for annotated bibliographies in APA and MLA format. Please note that the annotations in these samples will not really be great examples of what yours should include since they are for research essays, rather than for a genre analysis.

Guidelines

Your bibliography should use MLA or APA format for its citations. Either style is fine with me, as long as you stick to it! If you select a genre that is typically longer, let’s say 10+ pages, like academic journal articles, feature articles, etc., you can limit your findings to three strong examples. If the genre you select is typically shorter than 10 pages, then you can plan to find at least 5 examples of the genre.

Submit your completed Annotated Bibliography to the assignment folder.

You’ve done a genre analysis before…remember? The second component of the Genre Project is to conduct a comprehensive genre analysis that covers all 6 of the primary features of genre that we’ve been looking at this semester: context, content, audience, purpose, style, organization. Create a genre analysis for your chosen genre in presentation format, and present your analysis to your fellow classmates on the discussion board on D2L. You may find it helpful to revisit the Steps for Genre Analysis handout from last week as you get moving on this portion of the project.

This week, you will create a first draft of your presentation for the instructor to review. After that feedback, you’ll have a chance to revise before going live in the presentation forum.

Guidelines

Your presentation must be presented electronically. You can use a presentation software like PowerPoint, KeyNote, or Prezi…or you can create a video or a brochure for your classmates. Consider using quick video software like Jing or Screencast-o-Matic to enliven your presentation with video.

As you create your presentation, keep in mind that the online presentation is a genre in itself! Review tips for powerpoint presentations delivered in an online environment for ideas about how to design your slides, how to deliver them in a way that is meaningful to other participants in the forum, etc.

As one might anytime they are exploring a new genre, think about what expectations and needs your fellow students have. The goal of the presentation is to help your classmates to learn about a genre they are unfamiliar with. What would be a convenient way to get that information? What format would they find most useful? Answer this question thoughtfully to guide your choice of presentation format and content.

There is no specific required length for your presentation, but again…think about your audience and the genre of the online presentation. How long of a presentation would YOU like to see? Generally speaking, if you’re creating a video presentation, I would recommend 5 minutes or fewer. Aim for a balance between providing all the information necessary and maintaining the interest/attention of your audience.

When your 1st draft is ready, submit it to the Genre Analysis Draft assignment folder.

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