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Quest

Article Title

On the World's Stage

Abstract

The following papers represent research work begun by students in English 1301, the first course in the two-semester composition sequence at Collin College. Students in 1301 are introduced to the concept of academic research by learning to ask research focused questions and then use the library resources to find sources that provide answers.

In what follows, students have written creative research-based essays called Multiple Genre Arguments. When we experience controversial issues in our everyday lives, no one hands us a ten-page research paper that outlines the issues and tells us what to do. Instead, we have to wade through the controversy and the corresponding piles of paper to figure out what the issues really are and how we should best respond to them.

In a Multiple Genre Argument (MGA), the author creates this context—the collection of material that constitutes the paper trail surrounding a specific issue. During this process, the author becomes familiar with all sides of the issue and ultimately has to choose the most convincing side of the argument. Though an MGA includes some traditional academic forms, the point of the project is to create a tangible context surrounding a specific controversy.

In their book Multiple Genres, Multiple Voices, Cheryl Johnson and Jayne Moneysmith explain in more detail what an MGA looks like:

In a [Multiple Genre Argument], writers create an argument that explores alternative perspectives by using multiple genres written from different points of view. Genres might include a letter, a dialogue, a report, or even a poem—in addition to the traditional essay. Students bolster their argument with research that is reflected within these genres, creating an “organic” whole, though the “whole” may not be linear. By combining an array of voices, with the rigor of scholarship, the [Multiple Genre Argument] offers a fresh and powerful approach to research and argument.

Their idea of “combining an array of voices, with the rigor of scholarship” sums up the purpose of the MGA. To say it another way, the project presents the ideas of all sides of the issue and adds scholarly research to make one side of the argument the most convincing.

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