Perspectives Piece

Brief Description: This assignment asks students to research using a number of different sources and to present their research in a multimodal fashion, from a number of different perspectives. It works well as either an initial or a final assignment in research-intensive courses, and/or as an online project.

Contributed by Melissa A. Goldthwaite, Saint Joseph's University
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For this assignment you'll need to consult a variety of sources and look at an issue, idea, object, topic, or experience from more than one perspective. Choose a topic (i.e., mothers, fear, onions, writing, rings, or whatever) and attempt to look at and write about that topic in several different ways. You should do some research (consult books, search the Internet, interview people, and so on) and draw from observation and personal experience (read through old letters and journals, or write from memory). For instance, if you're writing about roses, you could find out where the word rose comes from, look for references to roses in literature, think about the first time someone gave you a rose or when you gave one someone else, consider the occasions when roses are present (Valentine's Day, the Rose Festival, funerals, proms, when someone is sick), research the many varieties of roses, plant a rose bush, smell a rose, touch it, taste it, observe a rose over a period of three days. Then work to creatively put much of the materials you've gathered together. Attempt different styles: labyrinthine sentences, fragments, reflective writing, high exposition -- even weave in a poem, section from a letter, or quotations.

Reprinted with permission of the author from The Subject is Research, eds. Wendy Bishop and Pavel Zemliansky. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 2001.