Nutrition is a rather paradoxical discipline. There are few things with which your average human being interacts more often on a daily basis. We seemingly know everything about the contents of all the foodstuffs we consume. People have been thinking about the roles and influences of different nutrients for centuries. Scientists have been systematically researching the subject for at least the last couple of centuries.
Meanwhile, it often feels that we still know next to nothing. Dietitians and other medical professionals keep finding new facts and correlations. Fad diets emerge, reach insane popularity and fade into obscurity in a blink of an eye. Even nutritionists themselves who are supposed to know hard facts are divided into a number of schools that hold mutually exclusive views.
In such an environment, writing a purely informative essay – that is an essay that does not try to persuade or prove but only to provide pure and objective information – may look like an excessively difficult task. Nevertheless, it is possible – and this guide will tell you how to do it.
Sometimes, your professor assigns a topic for you. More often, you have to choose one yourself – professors tend to delegate this right to you because it tests your ability to not just gather the information, but also to carry out the entire project all by yourself. You may have to connect it to the topic of your course, but it is not always necessary. All in all, it is always a good idea to follow these principles when choosing:
Eventually, you should end up with a workable topic. Here are some examples:
To provide information on the topic, you first have to find this information. Even if you think you know everything there is to know about the subject you chose, you cannot rely only on your own anecdotal knowledge, for academic writing cannot exist in isolation.
Today, sources may be (very roughly) divided into three general groups:
Not all sources are equally useful. In addition to the factors mentioned above, you should evaluate each source based on these criteria:
An informative essay is a rather straightforward task that does not require overly complicated planning. You simply inform the audience about the topic and try to present this information in a logical and easy-to-grasp manner. However, having an outline – a detailed plan – is still a good idea. Note down what you will write in every segment of the essay:
Introduction is a very important part of any paper. However, in case of an informative essay, it has certain specific features. There is no need for a thesis statement in the usual sense of the word – you do not prove anything and do not have a thesis per se. Instead, its structure should be along these lines:
The body of the essay is a section that contains all your main thoughts on the subject. It is what you started it all for, the rest just leads up to it and summarizes what you say here.
Essay body is supposed to be divided into several paragraphs, each dedicated to a particular idea. Do not mix things up and carefully divide individual ideas into separate paragraphs, while maintaining logical connections between them using transition words and expressions. At a glance, the way body paragraphs in your average informative essay are arranged and structured may seem random, but in reality, a good academic writer strives to stick to three ideals:
Just like with most other essay types, the conclusion here usually mirrors the introduction. You get back to the question you intended to answer in the very beginning and address it once again. Remember that your job is to provide information – do not steer away from it towards persuasion.
It may be a good idea to further stir up the audience’s interest in the subject. You can do it by posing another question, mention future implications of the research in the direction you covered or present a challenge related to the topic you wrote about.
As we already mentioned, nutrition is a discipline with a lot of ambiguity and contention on numerous points. This means that you should be particularly careful when making any allegations. Every statement you make should be supported by at least two independent pieces of evidence to show that at least a part of scholarly community supports this point of view. When using information by other scholars, make sure you quote them properly (lest you are accused of plagiarism) and follow the formatting rules used by your college.
Proofreading the text you just finished writing is largely a futile task. You remember it too well, you are tired and prone to skipping over mistakes simply because you already know what you expect to read. Set it aside for as long as you can afford – a few hours is good, but a few weeks is much better, albeit rarely possible. Distract yourself from it with completely unrelated tasks. Return when you are ready to give it a fresh look.
No matter how long you wait, you wrote this essay, and it is impossible to read it as if you were doing it for the first time. Ask somebody you trust to do it for you. Better yet, hire a professional proofreader.
Some people work best in front of a computer screen. Others find it refreshing to print their essays out and edit them with a pen. The latter approach has an added benefit of changing the way it looks – it can help you notice mistakes and flaws you would normally miss.
If you can afford it, divide your editing into multiple blocks of time and spread them over a couple of days. You concentration may start to falter after you spend a few hours on it, so it may be better to return to it with when you are refreshed. Also, try dedicating each block to one particular task. For example, spend one block exclusively checking grammar structures, another correcting spelling, still another working on the logical flow of the essay. If you focus on a specific type of mistakes, you are more likely to notice it than if you do an all-out sweep.
Some students believe that Microsoft Word in-built spellchecker and various grammar checking tools available online effectively eliminate the need to know any of the rules themselves. However, it is an over-optimistic view on the problem. All these tools are far from perfect. Spellcheckers only point out wrong spelling, not the wrong choice of words (e.g., both “your” and “you’re” are correct spellings but are used in different situations and are easily mixed up). Grammar checkers work with limited number of rules and are not very good at using them to begin with – they return progressively more confusing results the more complex the text becomes. So check your text on your own, hire a professional editor and be attentive!
We do not try to persuade you that writing an informative essay in nutrition is easy – it is a challenging task. However, if you follow this guide, we are sure you will be able to complete your job on time and get excellent results!