Process Subgenres

Properly speaking, process genres are not genres at all. Most of the time, they are either pieces of a larger genre, or writing processes one might undertake in the course of work toward a larger project. So their audience, argument, and evidence almost always depend strongly on the kind of larger project they serve. If this larger project is not clarified, it is going to be time to ask some questions about the purpose of the process assignment or project itself.

Process-Oriented Subgenres

Process-oriented subgenres are intended to help us work toward a larger project, by taking on research or writing activities that will help us hone our topic, or develop our ideas. In almost every case, they are worth the effort, as they often give us the chance to receive feedback on the process we are undertaking before we get too far into the final product. These subgenres include the reflection assignment, for clarifying the topic and questions we seek to address, and the annotated bibliography, for clarifying what kind of library sources we have found, and what they mean.

Component/Section Subgenres

I am calling some of the process subgenres “components,” or “sections,” because they form pieces of a larger project. There is really no such thing as a literature review, for example, without a project it is designed to serve, and the literature review for a journal article is very different from the literature review for a single-subject research design, or a program evaluation (and those are all research-oriented genres!). For the purpose of this guide, in addition to literature reviews, I will treat introductionsconclusionsmethods sections, results sections, and discussion sections as component subgenres. Each will vary considerably depending on the project they serve, but each also serves a more or less consistent purpose of its own. For more information, see the individual sections on each subgenre.