Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

5-2012

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Arts in English, Rhetoric and Composition

Department

English

Major Advisor

Karen Uehling

Second Advisor

Bruce Ballenger

Third Advisor

Jim Fredricksen

Abstract

Several researchers have investigated the outcomes achieved by service-learning; however, the primary focus of many of these studies is on student engagement or the development of civic outcomes. Edward Zlotkowski and Paul Feigenbaum have argued that researchers should look beyond these benefits to discover how service-learning might enhance course work and academic goals. Despite the calls for further research, studies investigating the academic outcomes of service-learning are limited, and those focused on writing outcomes are fewer still. This study, building off the concerns of Zlotkowski and Feigenbaum and utilizing student interviews and artifact analysis, investigates how service-learning affects student writing and research. The findings suggest that service-learning affects student writing and research processes, including topic development and research methods. In addition, service-learning provides rich opportunities to enhance critical thinking and the consideration of multiple perspectives.

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