Five Other Forms

In conversation with a friend the other day I was reminded of the following assignment, which I used in a Senior Thesis class at Parsons not long ago. As students go back to school and begin working on new projects, it seemed worth sharing here. The footnote portion of this assignment subsequenly morphed into another assignment for my class at RISD. —RG

Now that you’ve done some basic reading and research, I’d like you to begin synthesizing some of your ideas in written form. For those of you who feel comfortable writing an academic paper or scholarly essay, this format is perfectly fine. However, I’ve found students sometimes struggle with this form, especially in describing their own projects and processes. If this is the case for you, you may want to try some other strategies for generating the text required for next week’s class. I’ve outlined five options for you below.

1. Interview

Ask a friend to conduct an interview with you about your project over Instant Messenger. Your interview should include a mininum of 50 questions about your project. Save the transcript of the interview, and edit it to be more streamlined. Include any visual or textual sources you discuss in proper Chicago-style citation.

2. Monologue

Slowly go back through your sources and notes, and, as you do, dictate a monologue of your thoughts into a tape recorder. It could be a running commentary on whatever you find illuminating, entertaining, or useful. Transcribe this monologue into a document of at least 2,500 words and include and visual or textual sources you discuss in proper Chicago-style citation.

3. Reader

A reader is a selection of legthy quotations or text excerpts threaded together with short connecting statements made by the editor. Examine the readings and research you’ve done for class. What are 15–20 of the most important passages in terms of your thesis? How do these passages fit together? Once you have selected your excerpts, prepare a reader with any pertinent visual or textual sources in proper Chicago-style citation.

4. Glossary

A glossary is a list of key terms, phrases, or ideas and their accompanying definitions. In going through your readings and research, select 15–20 entries for a glossary and alphabetize them. All visual and textual sources should be cited in proper Chicago-style citation.

5. Footnote

If a single piece of writing or research stood out above all the rest, footnote that article extenisively with your own substantive footnotes. There should be at least 50 of these footnotes, and they should include both visual and textual material. All of this material should be cited in proper Chicago-style citation.