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Research Process

After taking Writing About Rollins with Dr. Littler, I realized for the first time in my academic career how much more there is to writing. In previous courses, grammar and addressing the main topic of discussion were the primary focuses of our work, but in this class, we broke down the writing process and opened up different avenues of understanding. Focusing on establishing the exigence, rhetor, audience, and constraints present in a rhetorical situation, I soon realized how identifying the various aspects of writing enable one to better address them, creating a more thorough and persuasive paper. Knowing the audience I am trying to reach and the manner in which I should do so, I am then able to research in a more precise manner, making the writing process more efficient and effective. These qualities cannot be underestimated in college, where articulating oneself through writing is essential to getting a degree and succeeding in the professional world. Finding sources was never too difficult of a process because of the help of Dr. Littler and the librarians gave us in navigating the Olin Library database. After research began to fall into place, the focus came back to the writing and how to best address the audience and constraints that would play a role in developing a clear argument. Overall, this course honed my writing skills by shining a light on more than just clarity and strong beliefs, showing that the structural breakdown of a written piece should be addressed and understood before a writer can persuade an audience in the most effective way possible. I plan on using the approach taught in this class with all of my written work moving forward, and I am happy to have been provided such a great opportunity to develop my skills as a writer. – Peter Finegan

This course has completely changed my views on writing. In the past, writing was not an enjoyable task for me. However, now that I see writing as a process for growth and exploration, I have a much more positive view on it. I have gained so many skills from taking this course that have actually made writing more enjoyable for me, because now I feel a lot more confident in my own writing abilities. A major takeaway for me is how to research efficiently on the Olin Library database and other online collections. Not only do I now know how to find what I am looking for, but I know how to integrate it into my writing in an effective manner. I will definitely take these new skills with me throughout the rest of my college career, and continue to grow as a writer. – Danielle Marks

Revising these papers was very interesting but challenging as well. I enjoyed it because I was able to learn about a few different aspects of Rollins and college life in general. However, it was challenging because it’s all the rhetor’s opinion. I found it a little difficult to try to correct the paper, but at the same time you have to make sure the paper doesn’t change its stance. I found it especially difficult when the rhetor was acknowledging both sides of the argument. I had to first decide which position he was taking, then correct it based on the position he supported. At the same time though, I had to make sure both sides of the argument were represented, understood, and explained well. Overall, it was something knew and I saw it as a new challenge from an editing standpoint. – Ben Johnston

Research Process

Once I began to write paper 3, continuing my research became a lot easier. This is because I was able to “go with the flow,” more, so to speak, and see where my writing took me. Based off of where my writing went, I was able to find sources to support my argument much easier than before when I wasn’t completely sure of the direction of my paper. – Danielle Marks

Continuing my research on the subject of collegiate sports and their effect on student-athletes, I used Google rather than the Olin Library database to see what was available. Although scholarly sources are highly researched, the opinions of the public are very relevant in this particular case, as many of the misconceptions about student-athlete development are found on a larger, more general scale. That being said, I found the source used in my post “Testament to Collegiate Sports and Success,” online and examined the points made in the article to show the reader how the positive effects of collegiate sports benefit student-athletes in the long run. The source was relatively easy to find, and although peer-reviewed journals and data may be more hard-hitting, the overarching themes mentioned in this article properly portray the beliefs had by those well informed on the matter. – Peter Finegan

This was an interesting article to use in my paper because it talks about some negatives about sports, but it was a fantastic reason as to why student-athletes should be able to schedule classes earlier than normal students. I’ve enjoyed that part of this paper so far; since it’s my argument, I can use any argument as long as I can support my claim and my thesis in some way. I don’t think I’d be able to use this article if it weren’t for us writing paper 2. This is a perfect example of synthesis. It is taking the entire conversation and using it to support my thesis even though alone, the article would seem to oppose my claim. –Ben Johnston

President Cornwell’s Convocation & Matriculation Address

Cornwell, Grant H. “Making Up Your Mind: The Project of Liberal Education.” Rollins College. Warden Arena, Winter Park, FL. 20 Aug. 2015. Convocation & Matriculation Address.

In this speech, Rollins College President Grant H. Cornwell addresses the incoming freshman class and welcomes them to the college. The topic of his speech pertains to the mission of Rollins College and how it is achieved, and also the liberal arts. President Cornwell starts off with the strong message that “Rollins College educates students for global citizenship and responsible leadership, empowering graduates to pursue meaningful lives and productive careers,” and then he goes on to state that “We (Rollins) are dedicated to scholarship, academic achievement, creative accomplishment, cultural enrichment, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship. We value excellence in teaching and rigorous, transformative education in a healthy, responsive, and inclusive environment.” These few sentence are an accurate and powerful summation of what Rollins College is all about. President Cornwell then challenges students to reflect on Rollins’ mission and “examine,” how it resonates with their own personal missions. He lets you know that it’s okay not to know yet, to still be “making up your mind,” as the namesake of the speech suggests. President Cornwell overall introduces the incoming freshman class in a powerful, but also comforting way.

Research Process

Moving forward with Paper 3, I have expanded my search and begun focusing on the various aspects of student-athlete life to provide readers with a better understanding of my beliefs. Through research found in my recent source, I have noted research regarding stress, academic success, and efficiency of collegiate athletes, all areas of life that embody a student’s purpose for attending college in the first place. Actually finding this source was a little more difficult as the number of available references seems fairly limited. I may use different keywords moving forward to gather as many relevant sources as possible, helping me build my case that student athletes grow and succeed as good as, if not better, than their peers. – Peter Finegan

In my ongoing research for Paper 3, I have found a few more relevant sources that I can tie into the paper to support my argument of why one should attend Rollins College. I actually feel like I have enough sources to support my argument, but I only have two peer reviewed sources thus far. This is where I have been struggling the most for Paper 3, but knowing that I could use sources from my previous paper helped a lot. In researching to find my final peer reviewed source, I am going to broaden my outlook to try and find something I can connect to my argument. – Danielle Marks

This was an interesting process post for me because I used an article that I used for paper 2. This forced me to look at the article from a different angle and to try to have a new perspective on the article based on the change in topics. Instead of looking at it with a neutral perspective, I was able to see how it can support my argument. It reads a little bit differently when I read it with a slight bias. However, it supports my claim very well, and I think it will be very useful to support athletes picking their classes early. – Ben Johnston

How Small Class Sizes Benefit a College Education

Sellers, Evie. “Small College Class Size Benefits.” Small College Class Size Benefits. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

In this article, the author makes the argument of smaller class sizes in college being more beneficial to students. The author, Sellers, has four points to support her argument: small class sizes give students more “opportunities to ask questions, contribute to discussions,” get to know your professors, and also to get to know your fellow classmates. Sellers devotes a paragraph to each of these points and makes her argument with facts. A small class gives students more opportunities to ask questions because you are not in a large lecture hall with hundreds of students. In fact, class discussions are promoted in small classes. Because you are not in that lecture hall with hundreds of student, the professor is able to facilitate discussions that actually help students to learn better by allowing them to use specific vocabulary in context and engage with your course material. Through these class discussions, students are able to get to know their professors better, which benefits learning and may lead to more opportunities to learn outside of the classroom by having a mentor. Finally, small class sizes allow students to connect with one another more easily which helps not only academically, but personally.

Research Process

Although it’s still very early in the process, so far I think paper 3 has been the easiest. I’m also predicting it will be the easiest because it’s an actual argument instead of writing a paper about the different steps in concocting an argument. That is also a reason the researching hasn’t been too difficult. When there is an article or a rhetoric written about my topic, I can most likely find something to help my argument, because it’s my opinion, and I just need support. This is opposed to previous papers where we went into the paper with an open mind, and used the quotes to and other people’s opinions to form our paper. Then, we would use our opinion as the support. – Ben Johnston

Beginning research for this new paper, I found it fairly easy to find sources using the Olin Library database, but this came after first tackling the challenge of what topic I wanted to discuss. With new guidelines, this paper seemed more abstract and I had to come up with a topic on my own, eventually finding one that coincides with my own college experience – athletics and academic success. After having a better idea of what I would focus on, I found my first source on the online database, an easy task considering the amount of entries that appeared when I searched relevant keywords. The experience collegiate athletes have is a unique one, and there is no shortage of opinions on the matter. That being said, I look forward to doing research and finding evidence to support my beliefs about something that has an important role in my life here at Rollins College. – Peter Finegan

In researching for paper 3, I feel like I am struggling way more than I have in the previous papers. Because of the topic of my argument being so specialized to Rollins College, it is hard to find sources beyond the Rollins website itself, specifically peer reviewed sources. I have managed to find one peer reviewed source so far that I will be able to integrate into my paper and connect it to Rollins, but I anticipate that finding two more peer reviewed sources will be a difficult task. Besides this though, I am happy with the topic that I chose and direction of my paper. – Danielle Marks

Value of Studying Abroad

Tarrant, Michael A., Donald L. Rubin, and Lee Stoner. “The Added Value of Study Abroad: Fostering a Global Citizenry.” Association for Studies in International Education 18 (n.d.): 141-61. 21 Aug. 2013. Web. 2 Apr. 2016.

This journal study addresses how a study abroad experience adds value to a student’s overall education by looking at the skills gained by studying abroad. The study takes an experimental approach by examining and comparing how students perform during studying abroad versus studying on their home campus, in specific classes. The students’ academic performance is measured not only by their grades, but also by being given a pre-test before the semester, and a post-test after the semester. The study shows that pre-test scores were fairly even between abroad and home students. However, students studying abroad scored marginally higher on the post-test than the students who were studying at home. While the test scores did not provide staggering results in the area of academics, the conductors of the stud were able to conclude that studying abroad gives students value in an area other than academics: global citizenship.

Research Process

In searching for my most recent source(s), I found the process much easier as I had already gained an understanding of the direction in which I wanted things to go. Previously, I had focused on finding peer-reviewed sources to add scholarly credibility to my point, but I also wanted the opinions of those who teach and institute business in liberal arts settings, so I searched the Internet. What I found was a much wider variety of input, since my search was not narrowed down to specifically peer-reviewed journals. Seeing both sides of an argument was also an interesting experience when I broadened my search to the Internet in general, given the fact that not all people believe business degrees from liberal arts schools are noteworthy or holding some distinct value. However, a majority of the research conducted resulted in findings saying much the opposite, making it easy for me to bring together main ideas to support my point that liberal arts and business can coexist in institutions everywhere. – Peter Finegan

My continued research this week was very similar to the last. I continued to use the new databases that I have been introduced to, and they have been very helpful in finding good sources for my paper. The research that I have done for paper 2 is actually helping me to develop ideas for my topic for paper 3, so research has been very useful for me all around. Looking forward, I will continue to research the value of liberal arts, but from a much more broad perspective so I can use them to support different points of my own argument. – Danielle Marks

While researching for paper 2, I got a little confused on what direction we were eventually going with this paper; however, I believe my mistake will actually help me and be beneficial in the long run. I began to form more of an argument in my paper instead of focusing on just combining four sources and explaining why they work well together. This mistake has actually left me with more information than I need, so my revisions will be mostly taking things out and rewording. This is a good thing because my final paper should be packed with information since I went above what the expectations were. Also, this is more of what paper 3 will be about, so essentially, I’ve already begun to get ideas for our next paper. – Ben Johnston

How Liberal Arts Colleges Have Changed

DiMaria, Frank. “The Morphing of America’s Liberal Arts Colleges.” Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education 21 Sept. 2009: 11-14. Web.


This article takes a look at how liberal arts colleges have changed within the span of two decades, as well as what attributed to these changes. In 1990, there were 212 colleges that met the definition of a liberal arts college, which are curriculum based in traditional arts and science fields, small classes and close student-faculty relationships, and a lesser emphasis on vocational preparation. When this article was written in 2009, only 137 liberal arts still existed, according to the definition. This is due to many liberal arts colleges changing to include more vocational studies, which has been a major trend in college education. Some changed so drastically as to become comprehensive colleges or master’s universities. In addition, some liberal arts colleges were even bought out by larger vocational universities. The liberal arts colleges that still remained were able to retain their status as liberal arts by blending more vocational classes into their curriculum without completely losing the core values of liberal arts. This trend of incorporating more vocational studies into a liberal arts education is a continuing trend.

Research Process

In researching for paper 2, I branched out and used databases other than just the Rollins library database, such as ProQuest and Project MUSE. This opened up my research to a greater number of sources, and I was able to find exactly what I was looking for. The only area I struggled in was finding peer-reviewed sources; apparently there aren’t many pertaining to the topic of liberal arts. I did find two good sources eventually, and I am happy with the direction of my research and this paper. – Danielle Marks

In search of information regarding the connection between a liberal arts approach and a business degree, I used the help of my professor and librarian as they guided me toward sources. Using the Olin Library website and its built-in database, I was able to search for publications related to my topic, some of which offered me the information I needed to develop my most recent post. Although the database offers a vast amount of resources to Rollins students, there were only a handful that were of use to me. Narrowing down the search to peer-reviewed sources made this process even more challenging, as the number of available documents was trimmed down drastically. Luckily, I found what I needed and used the evidence to further my beliefs on the topic I sought out to discuss – liberal arts and business.  – Peter Finegan

For this paper, we are using a much broader variety of sources. This makes it more difficult because we have to discover our sources out of a larger pool, but it will give our paper more potential because there is so much more information that we can choose from. Also, with the guideline of using at least two peer reviewed sources, our information will be correct, and we won’t have to be worried about using an illegitimate source. One obstacle I have had with researching the correlation between being an athlete with success in class, is there are mostly examples instead of actual evidence of success or failure. –Ben Johnston

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