How to Write an Evaluation Essay in Nutrition Studies: a Full Step-by-Step Guide

Writing guide
Posted on November 19, 2019

An evaluation essay is outwardly similar to a review; however, it is more specific, structured and formal. When you write a review, you can keep your writing relatively freeform (unless you impose certain limitations on yourself). You can simply say that you like or dislike something and explain what exactly causes these emotions, without arranging your text in any specific way or caring to write according to any particular structure.

Evaluation essays are a bit more structurally demanding. You not just have to explain your opinion on the subject matter, you also have to first choose criteria according to which you are going to evaluate it and provide viable proof for each of your statements. In other words, it is somewhat similar to a persuasive essay. The difference is that in a persuasive essay you try to prove your point and change the opinion of the audience. In an evaluation essay, you simply explain your opinion and give reasons for it, without trying to prove that it is the only viable one or to disprove alternative points of view.

Nutrition studies is a discipline that naturally provides rich soil for evaluation essay writing. Although eating is a natural process all human beings are engaged in, its systematic study is a relatively new thing, and a lot of our knowledge in this sphere is still quite tentative. Many nutrition theories offer their own choices of products, meal management, caloric intakes and trying to make sense how all this influences human health and well-being. Many of them have both positive and negative traits, and there is a lot open for evaluation.

In this guide, you will find everything you need to write a high-quality evaluation essay on this topic without referring to any other manuals.

How to Write an Evaluation Essay in Nutrition Studies: Preliminaries

1. Choosing the Topic

If you are given freedom of choosing a topic for yourself, check your assignment to see if there are any limitations to it. Then proceed to looking for an optimal solution. Try looking for a topic you:

  • Know a fair amount about;
  • Have a strong opinion on.

For example, if you have to evaluate a diet, better stick to something you dealt with personally. Academic writing does not rate personal opinions and experience very high, but the very fact of experiencing something gives you an inside perspective. It also means that you probably already read a lot about it. If you write about something you neither are interested in nor know much about, you will have to both do more research than necessary and spend time writing about something you do not care about.

Here are some examples of what you should strive to:

  • LCHF Diet: Proven Advantages and Drawbacks;
  • Intermittent Fasting, Its Effectiveness in Controlling Body Weight and Other Advantages;
  • Chocolate, Its Positive and Negative Influences on Human Health and Well-Being;
  • Dieting as a Method of Weight Loss: Advantages and Disadvantages;
  • Organic Food: Its Real and Perceived Benefits.

2. Single out the Criteria for Evaluation

Criteria are aspects of the type of things the item under scrutiny belongs to that you can single out to use as the basis of your evaluation. For example, if you evaluate a diet, you can pay attention to such things as how expensive it is, whether or not it has long-term negative consequences, if it is suitable for all people irrespectively of their health issues, how difficult it is to maintain it and so on. Using criteria as a basis of your evaluation gives strength to your position and makes it look less like an opinion and more like a well-founded logical conclusion.

Keep the number of criteria reasonable – there are no rules, but you should take into account the size of your essay. Choose too few, and you will not be able to provide a multi-lateral evaluation of the item in question. Choose too many, and you will spread yourself too thin without saying anything of importance about anything in particular.

3. Gather Information

To be treated seriously, you should found your evaluation on facts and trustworthy evidence. Before you start writing and make any conclusions, gather enough reliable sources of information to support your point of view.

Different sources have different value. You cannot expect a random blog post by an unknown author about a new crack diet to carry the same weight as a publication from a scholarly journal referred to in two dozen peer-reviewed articles.

The easiest way to find reliable sources of information is with the help of online academic databases like EBSCO or Google Scholar. They allow you to run keyword-based searches throughout all the articles and other publications listed on them. When deciding whether an author can be relied upon, take notice of his/her h-rating – the higher it is, the greater is his/her impact on the field.

After you find a number of sources, look through the works they are connected to: other publications by the authors that seem to be authorities on the subject, articles mentioned in their bibliographies, etc.

4. Prepare a Plan

You can simply sit and write down everything you think about the subject matter as it appears in your head. It may seem like a quicker and less fussy approach to work than spending some extra time penning up the preliminary plan of the assignment. However, experienced writers tend to agree that twenty minutes spent planning can save you a couple of hours afterwards, while making sure you get a better essay as a result. If you have a plan or an outline, when it comes to writing you can simply focus on finding the right wording instead of inventing everything from scratch.

Evaluation essays usually follow the following plan:

  • Introduction. It usually consists of the hook and the thesis statement. The hook is the first sentence that introduces the topic and is supposed to attract the reader’s attention to the issue you are about to discuss. The thesis statement is the main idea of your essay expressed in a single sentence. Make sure it is short, up to the point and does not leave room for multiple different interpretations;
  • Background provides the basic information about the topic to make sure you and the audience are on the same page. You do not have to spend half an essay leading up to the body paragraphs – limit yourself to what is truly necessary to understand what you are going to talk about;
  • Body paragraphs – the main part of the essay, more on them later;
  • Conclusion – here you sum up what you said before and once again attract the audience’s attention to why you believe your point of view to be valid.

How to Write an Evaluation Essay in Nutrition Studies: Writing per Se

1. Maintain a Consistent Paragraph Structure

As we have already said, the main body of an evaluation essay cannot be dedicated to just expressing your unfounded opinion on the subject matter. You cannot just say that, for example, meat-only diet is wrong because you believe it to be unsustainable and harmful for your health in the long term. An evaluation essay is built on three aspects.

We already discussed what criteria are above. For each criterion, you should decide an ideal outcome – i.e., what should be considered a point of reference to determine whether the evaluated item meets the requirements applied to this class of things.

The judgment is whether, according to your opinion, the evaluated item meets the requirements applied to a particular criterion. If the criterion is the ideal, then the judgment is the real state of affairs.

The evidence is the hard information you use to support your conclusion: facts, references to authoritative sources, statistics, quotations from scientific studies and scholarly articles.
Normally, each body paragraph focuses on a single criterion. It begins with introducing the criterion itself, follows with the analysis of the existing evidence and concludes with passing a judgment.

2. Divide Your Attention Depending on the Importance of Each Point

Treat each criterion consistently with how important it is. You may either try to dedicate about the same amount of space and attention to each of them, but in this case, you should make sure you really choose criteria that play a relatively equal role in your evaluation. Alternatively, you can go from the least to the most important criteria or vice versa, giving each of them the amount of space consistent with the degree of its importance.

3. Start with Body Paragraphs

Less experienced students usually write individual sections of their essays in the same order they come: introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. It is not an optimal approach – even if you already researched the topic well enough, you can never be sure something new does not come up while you write its main part. In this case, you will have to change parts of introduction. The right approach is to decide what, in general, you are going to say in introduction and conclusion, and then proceed to write body paragraphs in detail. When you are finished with them, you can proceed to introduction and conclusion being sure you will not have to rewrite them.

4. Be Ready to Write Several Drafts

It is wrong to expect that you will be able to write a good essay the first time around. Chances are, you will have to change significant portions of the text to make it passable. This means that you should not try perfect your first draft. When you go back to rewrite an earlier sentence or introduce an additional detail, you do not progress – it is a kind of procrastination. Make it your purpose to proceed quickly and finish the first draft with as few corrections as possible. Do not care for certain stylistic flaws or imperfect choice of words – you will be able to polish your writing when you reach the editing and proofreading stage.

How to Write an Evaluation Essay in Nutrition Studies: Proofreading

1. Read the Essay out Loud

Sometimes you get too used to the way your essay looks on the screen. To perceive it from a different perspective, change the medium. Read the text aloud – it will force you to slow down and pay more attention to detail.

2. Ask Somebody to Read Your Essay Out Loud

When you listen to somebody reading your essay, pay attention to how he/she does it. Are there places that force him/her to pause before they proceed? Does the reader have to double back from time to time? If there are any problems with reading, it may be the sign that something is wrong with the text, e.g., sentence structure, choice of words and so on.

3. Check the Essay for Stylistic Problems

Multiple things can go wrong with an essay’s style, but a few problems immediately come to mind in relation to academic writing.

  • Passive voice. One can often hear that you should avoid passive voice whenever possible, but it is not exactly true. In some situations, it is truly the most natural choice, and some types of writing presuppose that you use it. What you should do is not mechanically eliminate passive voice whenever you find it, but see if you can express the same meaning in active voice and try to decide which looks more natural.
  • ‘There’. Construction ‘there is’, ‘there are’ etc. at the start of a sentence sounds very weak and shows your inability to find a better way to express yourself. Eliminate it without pity.
  • Nominalization. Structures like ‘made a suggestion’, ‘provided an explanation’ are needlessly wordy and make your writing look awkward. Replace them with verbs whenever possible.

Writing an evaluation essay in nutrition studies is a challenging task, all the more so because it deals with topics that play such a great role in human lives. However, we are sure that with the help of this guide you will be able to deal with it and emerge from this enterprise with flying colors.

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