The Multi-genre Senior Research Project
“[Multi-genre projects] recognize that there are many ways to see the world, many
ways to show others what we see.” ~Tom Romano, teacher, author, and “founder” of the multi-
The multi-genre project asks students to see, understand, interpret, synthesize, and know their subject
through multiple genres rather than a traditional or linear research-based paper. In employing genres as
both a lens and a rhetorical tool, the multi-genre research paper asks students to be explicitly creative and
scholarly, to pay close attention to matters of style as well as matters of research. In handling research in
this way, students build a “rhetorical repertoire” and learn how to better recognize that their thinking is
conditioned by the genres in which they write and the strength of the message depends on the best choice of
genre for their purpose.
What is a multi-genre project?
It’s a collection of pieces written in a variety of genres, informed by research on a particular subject, that
presents one or more perspectives on a research question or topic. A multi-genre project is personal,
creative, and can’t be copied from some other source. It involves you, as a writer, making conscious
decisions about what information is important and how it should be presented to the reader.
Okay, this is completely different from anything I have done before—what do I do?
As you research, you’ll need to consider your audience and what genre would be the most effective for
communicating your message to your particular audience. What genre will “speak” to the people you most
want to reach and why? You’ll need to be fully engaged in your research—don’t approach it as a
scavenger hunt in which you collect information and spit it back out in an “academic” paper. This is NOT
that drill. This goes beyond the academic paper in a variety of ways. You will be demonstrating all that
you’ve learned, all of the tools and writing techniques you’ve studied, all of the questions we have explored
about humanity, and synthesizing it all into a new and wonderful whole—something completely unique
that only you can do!
Choosing a Researchable Topic:
A strong topic will be one that deals with humanity in a thoughtful and insightful way. This, of course, is
huge and wide open.
Questions to ask about your topic:
1. Am I truly interested in this topic? You must be invested and it must show in your final product.
If you don’t find your topic interesting, your audience won’t either.
2. Do I have access to enough information on this topic? You will have the resources in our school
library to start with, but beyond that you have access to the internet – it’s unlimited. CAUTION:
You must choose your sources wisely. We’ll talk more about this in class.
3. Is the subject limited enough in focus? Is there a specific theme/idea/concept/answer in which to
research and end up with a clear message to present.
4. Is there a substantial human element to the topic? This must be meaningful for you and your
audience and the human element is the key.
Limiting the topic:
You will begin with a general idea and move to the specific. Here is an example of how you move from
general to specific:
General Subject → Specific Subject → Focus or Special Interest
Holocaust Concentration Camps How concentration camps
affected people’s lives.
Auschwitz → People sent to Auschwitz
often lost family members,
lost faith in God, and lost
a sense of self.
*Start with the essential question(s) you want to find an answer for and then go through the above cycle to
narrow your focus. Remember the camera lens example: We don’t want to deal with the entire landscape
in the photo; we want to zoom in on one pivotal element in the landscape.
The genres you can use are just about limitless. You can write and relay important messages in so many
ways it’s mind boggling! But BEWARE! This should not be a haphazard collage of disjointed elements;
you must connect the genres and what they represent with a central, significant theme (a thesis). Your
creative efforts MUST be informed by solid research, including research about the genres themselves.
When you choose a genre ask yourself, “Why am I choosing it? What do I want to show through this
genre?” Your purpose must be clear and each genre should express a different piece of the whole puzzle,
not repeat the same thing in a variety of ways.
Here is a starting point: You must complete one genre from each group. If you think of a genre not
listed that would fit into a group (except 2 & 6), please discuss it with me and we will try to fit it in somewhere.
Group 1: Print Media Group 2: Visual with Words Group 3: Visual Display
Newspaper Article Movie & Presentation to Class Graph/Chart
Editorial Certificate-award, death, degree
Letter to the Editor Storyboard
Advice Column Postcard
Magazine Article Menu
Wanted Poster PowerPoint
Headlines/Front Page Scrapbook Page
Dictionary of specific language Magazine Cover
Mission Statement Mandala
Group 4: Informational Group 5: Creative Writing Group 6: Structured
Interview Diary Entry Research Paper
Directions Poem—many variations!
Campaign Speech Short Story
Resume Personal Narrative
Encyclopedia Entry Conversation
Will Top Ten List
Police Report Travel Journal
Repetend is something added to your mulit-genre project that repeats or continues. The purpose of repetend
is to create unity among the various genre pieces and to give the writer an editorial voice to which the
reader can easily relate.
Since multi-genre projects are unique and non-linear, they require a lot of work from a reader. You, as a
conscientious writer, do not want to let your reader get confused as they move from genre to genre. If you
provide your reader with reoccurring images or phrases, or a running commentary or even a narrative or
story, you will create unity that will help your reader better understand your central theme. This is much
like weaving your thesis throughout a traditional essay.
☼You must find some way to incorporate repetend in your project.
Ways to incorporate repetend:
include the same phrase, sentence, or passage in each genre page as a heading or somewhere else in the
include a description or design in each piece (written or graphic), placed strategically and meaningfully
for easy recognition
include a running commentary from you, the writer, following or preceding each genre piece
create a character and follow his/her reactions to pieces
create a character involved somehow in each piece of writing—an ongoing story
create a cartoon strip at the top or bottom of each genre that comments on the ideas presented
etc. Get the idea?
Your Multi-genre Project will include:
An Opening/Preface/Forward/Introduction that will greet the readers,
introduce the subject, and provide any other information you think the
readers should know.
Table of Contents
Five different genres from different categories. (If you have an idea that is not
listed see me for approval please).
Works Cited Page
Okay, take a deep breath…the good news is we will work on this project
throughout the entire semester (while working on other tasks, of course), so relax
and enjoy the experience!!
The Elements of the Multi-genre Project
Section Description Helpful Hints
1. Title Page This cover page includes the
following information :
title (not label)
your full name
the date (due date)
teacher & course name
2. Table of Contents This page will help your reader Example: Table of Contents
navigate your project. Each genre
is listed with its title following.
Each title is significant and
meaningful on its own.
3. Opening/Preface What kind of information might I
include in the preface?
how you came up with
This preface, forward, or why you chose your topic
introduction will greet readers and why your topic is
give a bit of background important
information about your project. an introduction to a main
You'll need to introduce the character
subject and anything you think the
a description of a crucial
reader should know about you
setting or central activity
and/or your project before they
a theme that will be
carried through your
what you learned about
your topic and/or genres.
3. Body The body of your multi-genre
project is composed of the various
Your body consists of six base pieces you create to help your Ways to incorporate repetend in
pieces from sixdifferent genres. reader understand your subject. your multi-genre
Some of the pieces will be written,
some visual, and some a
To unify the separate pieces, use include the same phrase,
some type of repetend or unifying combination. sentence, or passage in
device—imagery, theme, etc. each genre page as a
heading or somewhere else
in the text
include a description or
design in each piece
(written or graphic),
placed strategically for
include a running
commentary from you, the
writer, following or
preceding each genre piece
create a character and
follow his/her reactions to
create a character involved
somehow in each piece of
writing--an ongoing little
create a cartoon strip at the
top or bottom of each
genre page that comments
on the ideas presented
4. Epilogue Some aspects you might
how writing about this
topic has changed your
perspective on your topic
what you learned overall
how you felt about using
the multi-genre medium to
write rather than just
This is your conclusion. It should writing a traditional
have its own page. story/essay
what you hope your
audience learns from your
what you feel you
accomplished from this
any information that
would help clarify
anything you wrote
5. Rationale Cards Rationale Card
You will provide your rationale What does this genre tell us about your
for choosing each genre and which topic?
source(s) you used to develop each What is your rationale for selecting this
genre to present this information
6. Works Cited You must have
six (minimum) sources from a Purdue University’s Owl Writing
variety of information types. Lab
You must cite at least 6 sources.
That may mean you use more than 6
in your research, but decide to only
use information from some of them in
your project. The 6 sources that
you cite must be used in some way in
your final project. Your resources
may be found in a variety of places.
My advice would be to start in the
library, either here at school or in our
public library. The librarian is a
great resource for help, so make sure This list of your sources includes a
to bring your questions to her. From brief description of the source and
there you can go to the computer, its value to your project
browsing through online journals and
article indexes. Once you have a
good idea of your topic, the Internet
will be a great tool for focused
researching. Try to use both
primary and secondary sources.
Primary sources are created at the
time period you are researching.
They include letters, newspaper
articles, diary entries, etc.
Secondary sources are sources
created after the fact that reflect on
the event or time period. They often
analyze the primary sources.
1. Brainstorm topics. Settle on a few that interest you and do a little researching. Pick
one topic that you’ll find ample resources for.
2. Fill out the “Research Plan” worksheet and submit it to me for approval.
3. Perform your research. Check the library, computer, and Internet for sources. You
might want to also research by going to museums, conducting interviews, or finding
other hidden treasures.
4. Throughout the researching process make sure to keep notes, ideas, questions, and
reflections in your research log. Remember to keep a running bibliography of any
sources you use.
5. Some class time will be dedicated to showing examples of multi-genre works so that
you have an idea of what your project can look like. Study these examples and draw
6. Organize your sources in some way meaningful to you (write an outline, draw a web
or map, etc.) and formulate ideas for your project. Play around with different genres
and see which ones work for the information you have.
7. Conference with your peers in class to get suggestions, ideas, and critiques.
Conference with me.
8. Do whatever necessary to make your project the best possible. You may choose to
change some of your genres to something more suitable. Decide on an overall theme
or structure to tie your project together. Make sure you have a Title Page, a Table of
Contents, an Introduction, an Epilogue, Rationale Cards and a Works Cited page with
appropriate citation of sources.
9. With finished drafts in hand (“finished” in the sense that it includes every required
component), conference with your peers and myself.
10. Revise and proofread. Present your project with pride.
(Based on Tom Romano’s Multi-genre Research Design)
1. What is your topic? Explain.
2. Describe what you know about your topic.
3. Tell what you want to learn about.
4. Describe your plan for collecting information about your topic.
5. Provide a preliminary bibliography.