Letter to the Committee

45 West University Avenue
Room 410B
Cincinnati, OH 45220
[email protected]
May 31, 2012
Composition Advisory Committee
Department of English and Comparative Literature
2600 Clifton Ave.
248 McMicken Hall
Cincinnati, OH 45221
Dear Composition Advisory Committee:
It was an intimidating and liberating feeling to be given free reigns on the topic of our research
paper. Professor Holley just gave us one criterion; that we must have some experience with the
topic in order to incorporate effective ethos into our writing. I had many topics come to mind but
the rehabilitation of Over-the-Rhine was more relevant at that the time than all of the others. I
chose Over-the-Rhine because I spent most of my childhood in the area and this summer I am
working on an honors experience that involves forty hours of community service with the Over
the Rhine Community Housing Foundation. Expanding on the topic of urban renewal in my
research paper gave me a greater understanding of the importance of the community service I
will be preforming this summer
The first step that I took in developing the concept of my paper was interviewing my mother,
Deborah Dent. She owns multiple businesses in Over-the-Rhine and has been in the area for
fifteen years. I knew that interviewing her would allow me to fully develop my ethos, since I was
only three years old at the time they bought their property on East 14th street, and also help me to
find relevant sources that I could use for research later in my paper.
The first portion of the paper that I wrote was my ethos. I based it off of my parents experience
when they first purchased property in Over-the-Rhine, because that decision allowed for all of
my personal experiences in the area to be possible. By starting from far in the past and moving
through my childhood I was able to establish that I truly know and love the area.
The second step in my writing process was to develop a solid thesis. I accomplished this during
class time by first writing down a rough thesis on the board, then having the class and Professor
Holley help to critique it into its final form. I was really grateful to have assistance in this step,
because I usually have trouble getting my thoughts into order on my own. It was great to hear
assurance that my thesis was well developed.
Next, I began collecting research. I first searched for negative scholarly articles related to my
topic, so that I knew what stereotypes I would have to take down with my positive research. I
found many strong negative articles related to urban renewal that I summarized, extracted quotes
from, and organized into an opposition’s summary document so that I knew exactly what I was
When collecting positive research I utilized many scholarly articles as well as websites for
prevalent organizations in Over-the-Rhine. I organized my positive research into a document
under five distinct positive effects of urban renewal. I did this so that I would not lose track of
the main points that I was trying to make and so that my research would stay organized.
Next, I began developing my rough draft. My ethos and thesis were already written, so I began
writing my body paragraphs by working on one of my positive points at a time. All of my
research relating to the point was organized in one space so I went through and edited all of it so
that it flowed like an organized paragraph instead of just clustered research. I also incorporated
the common negative stereotypes into my argument, so that I could combat them directly. Once I
had rewritten all of my research into paragraph form I rearranged them into the most logical
order so that the paper flowed and I added in transitional sentences.
After Professor Holley commented on my rough draft, it was decided that there were multiple
changes that needed to be made. I needed a new title, most of my body paragraphs needed
revising, and I was missing an effective conclusion. I fixed all of these problems and submitted a
second draft.
I submitted a second draft that was much more developed, but I still needed to spend some more
time on the paper. We agreed that including photos would make the paper as a whole stronger. I
also needed to tie my thesis into my last body paragraph and edit it so that it didn’t appear like a
large list of examples. Lastly I needed to rewrite my conclusion paragraph so that it tied back to
my ethos so that the paper could end on an emotional level.
I submitted a third draft that had all of the revisions mentioned in the last paragraph. I had also
read through my whole paper to check for grammar mistakes. Everything was almost perfect,
except that we agreed that my last body paragraph was unnecessary and repetitive, so I deleted it
entirely. My fourth and final draft is what you will be viewing shortly and I hope that you enjoy
it as much as I do.
Laura Anne Dent
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