Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Bruce Kelley

Second Advisor

Sarah Wittmuss

Third Advisor

Kim Albracht


Service-Learning, Outcomes, Impact, Participants


Service-learning is a unique way for individuals to learn about diverse concepts while also applying them to real-world situations. Service-learning combines community service and community goals with education and application. Service-learning projects must 1) meet a real community need, 2) integrate and augment academic curricula, 3) contain reflective components. These components distinguish community service from service-learning. Many educational institutions have courses and extra-curricular programs dedicated to service-learning. The goal of this thesis is to research the question, “what is the impact of these courses and programs” or in other words, “how do the participants benefit from their service-learning experiences?” This paper examines fourteen studies on the effectiveness of service learning. The research articles are diverse in many ways: their disciplines or department of studies vary, their focus of their experiments differ, and their results are strikingly different, too. Despite those differences, each of the studies indicated that service learning has an impact on individuals, including the participants, the community members, and the housing and community partners. That has been my experience as well. Note that this thesis was to include a study of USD’s service learning’s programs, but COVID-19 disrupted that aspect of this study.



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