How to Write a Research Essay in Nutrition and Dietary Studies

Writing guide
Posted on April 17, 2021

Nutrition and dietary studies is an interesting subject that focuses on different areas such as nutrition principles, healthy eating habits, human health, and education to name a few. Nutrition science is complex so writing research essays in nutrition and dietary studies is rather challenging for the majority of students. There are a lot of topics that require profound knowledge of other disciplines so writing nutrition essays is rather time-consuming. Besides, you may often need to do additional reading on the related topics in other fields of study to get in-depth understanding of your specific subject.

This easy writing guide was created to help you get started with writing research essays in nutrition and dietary studies and it covers all the essential stages of the writing process so we hope it will be useful for all students who face problems with academic writing. If you need advice on how to write other types of academic papers, check out other full guides to all writing assignments out there on our website.

What Is a Research Essay in Nutrition and Dietary Studies?

A research essay is an academic paper that involves doing profound library research on a specific topic. It should be based on relevant scholarly sources but it shouldn’t be a mere summary or report of ideas expressed by other people. Your research essay has to demonstrate how well you know the subject and you need to show your own way of thinking and your approach to the topic.

Research writing in nutrition is distinct in approach and techniques, just like in any other subject. Your research essay may include such typical elements as review of the literature in the field, analysis of different schools of thinking, and argument to support the thesis statement. Such assignment requires extensive evidence to support a specific and focused thesis. That’s why the key to writing such type of essay is doing a profound research and gathering sources that comprehensively cover a specific topic. The writer needs to synthesize the information from multiple sources to present a strong argument that supports a clear thesis statement.

Choosing a Good Topic for a Research Essay in Nutrition and Dietary Studies

The first step in writing any essay is picking an impressive topic that will be interesting for you and for your readers. It’s always easier to write about something you are passionate about although it’s actually impossible to find a perfect topic. A good idea is to write about a controversial subject because it gives you a good opportunity to show off your skills in objectively explaining different positions and even defending one of them if you share someone’s opinions or your assignment calls you to do that. If you decide you choose this approach, you may write, for example, about artificial sweeteners, which are often kinked to de-sensitizing to real sugar and increasing the production of fat cells that may result in a variety of health risks, including obesity. You may select a topic that is familiar to you so it will be easier to do research but you shouldn’t be afraid to address the area that is absolutely unknown to you. Consider your research essay as a great chance to learn something new. If you work hard, you are sure to become an expert on the topic by the end of the writing process.
If you have no idea of what topic to choose, here is a short list of interesting research essay topics. You can use them as starting points for developing your own topic ideas or use them for writing your own research essays in nutrition and dietary studies.

  • Role of Herbal Supplements in Dietetic Practice;
  • Nutrition Needs during Pregnancy;
  • Can Intermittent Fasting Reduce Inflammation?
  • Impact of Plant-based Diet on Human Health;
  • Impact of Symbionts on Immune System;
  • Paleolithic Diets and Exercising;
  • Cancer Risks of Animal Proteins;
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Liver Cancer;
  • Can Diet Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
  • Impact of Salt Intake on Artery Function;
  • Are There any Risks of Consumption of Dairy Products?
  • Why Is Breast Milk Essential for Growth of Infants?
  • Gut Microbiome and Human Health;
  • Early Nutrition and Immune Health;
  • Role of Protein in Neonatal Nutrition.

How to Get Started

Before you start a library research, you should spend some time thinking about your topic to determine how you are going to approach it. Brainstorm your ideas to get the focus that will help you find relevant sources.

  • For example, you can use freewriting to determine what you already know about the subject of your research essay.
  • Another brainstorming technique is creating bulleted lists which can be based on the general topic, a specific keyword or idea, and on the idea that is opposite to your original idea.
  • You can also create graphs, charts or tables that contain specific words or phrases that you use as you explore your ideas. Using this approach, you can establish connections between different ideas.
  • If you know very little on your topic, the best approach is to do some preliminary research. You can use a good dictionary to get familiar with the key concepts or find background information about your subject in an encyclopedia. If you find something new, you can also use these ideas while brainstorming.

The goal of brainstorming is to develop your focus on the topic and create a research question that will guide your research process. Depending on your assignment, you may be required to develop a summative description or a tentative thesis statement. Make sure that your thesis statement is specific, clear, and includes a comment about your own position on the issue. For example, your thesis statement may look like this:

‘The research reveals that there is an indirect link between sugar and cancer risk and it can be related to how human body responds to sugar.’

Developing a focus will help you research more efficiently because it will be easier for you to evaluate the resources and determine whether they are relevant to your topic.

Research Your Topic and Organize the Information

You should develop a research strategy to gather the most appropriate sources. Think about the keywords – specific terms and concepts that can be used to target relevant primary and secondary sources on your topic. To prevent wasting time on ineffective strategies, you should keep track of all your searches.

When you find your possible source, you should evaluate how it is relevant to your subject, considering the focus of your thesis statement (research question). But, of course, you may want to refine the focus as you do more research and learn more about your subject. At this stage, you should skim your sources and don’t read them word for word. If you don’t see that the source relates to your working thesis statement, don’t use it.

When you gather enough good sources, you should read them carefully and critically. You need to find out what other scholars are thinking about the subject and why. It’s important to keep detailed notes of what you have found and keep track of all sources you have read. It’s better to start categorizing the information during this step because it will be easier for you to analyze and synthesize it later. When making notes, it’s better to summarize the authors’ ideas or paraphrase them although, sometimes, you may use direct quotes.

Since the goal of research essay in nutrition and dietary studies is to synthesize the information in response to a very specific research question, you will need to look through your notes and categorize or group your points together. The categories can help you create an outline for your research essay and develop a structure for it.

When creating an outline, you need to review all your points and choose those that directly support your thesis to keep the focus of your essay narrow. If the information is interesting, but it doesn’t support your thesis, you shouldn’t include it in your essay.

The typical outline for a research essay should include such basic parts as an introduction, body, and conclusion. You should write a strong thesis statement and note the main idea of each paragraph as well as sources and evidence that you will use in it. You should also think about transitions between paragraphs. When you finish a detailed outline, you can actually start writing the draft of your essay.

Writing Your Research Essay in Nutrition and Dietary Studies

Wondering how to get your ideas on the paper? There is no need to try to be a perfectionist when drafting. Don’t worry about finding perfect words and using perfect grammar. You will do it while editing your draft. Now you just need to write your thoughts. Let’s discuss how to work on different parts of your research essay.
When writing an introduction, you should do your best to engage your audience and motivate them to read your essay. That’s why you should start your introductory paragraph with a hook. It may be a surprising fact, statistics, quotation or a provocative question. Make sure that your hook leads your readers into your essays and gives them a good idea of what your piece of writing is about. Then, you have to contextualize the topic and provide the background information. You may define some important terms that are not unfamiliar to your readers and briefly summarize current scholarly theories. After that, you should narrow your focus and state your position on the topic – formulate the thesis statement that you will argue in the body of your essay. You may also briefly outline the main points of your essay.

In the body, you have to provide a clear, logical argument and support your thesis with evidence and ideas from research. Each body paragraph needs to be focused on one central point or idea. It should be logically organized and all sentences must be clearly connected. Besides, you should make sure that all your body paragraphs support your overall argument and your thesis statement. It’s important to integrate the sources into the discussion and analyze and evaluate them.

You may follow this structure for all your body paragraphs:

  • Start each paragraph with a claim that is also called a topic sentence. Any topic sentence should be debatable just like the thesis statement.
  • Write several supporting sentences that explain your claim, and provide evidence and example to support it.
  • Explain your evidence and tell how it supports your topic sentence and contributes to supporting the thesis statement.
  • Finish each paragraph with a concluding sentence that wraps up the content and provides a transition to the next paragraph.

It’s important to use transition words and phrases to show connections between your sentences and paragraphs such as who, that, which, what, when, although, while, for example, in this case, therefore, finally, as a result, furthermore, instead, however etc.

In the conclusion, you have to wrap everything up and try to make a memorable impression on your readers. You may need to summarize your argument and show connections between your main points. Besides, you should also emphasize the significance of your research findings and explain why they matter. It’s important to show your audience that your essay has broader implications. You may suggest some points for further research, give some specific advice or even predict the future.

Revise and Proofread Your Essay

As you finish your first draft, you will need to go over it several times to improve until you are satisfied with it. First, you need to check bigger issues – you have to check if you included all the ideas and make sure that they are organized logically and that logic is clear to your readers. Make improvements in the sentence structure and the word choice. Only after that, you may look for grammar, spelling, punctuation errors and typos. It’s better to read your essay aloud several times and look for one type of error each time you are reading. You should also check all aspects of formatting your document.

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