Food Assignment #4: Research Paper

Research and expand upon a question raised in class that remains unresolved for you. By now we’ve discussed the more literary aspects of food writing and attempted some of its most familiar forms. We’ve also debated and written about some of the most pressing political concerns surrounding food consumption more generally. Your assignment is to choose one food-related topic that remains unexhausted and write an essay with a compelling argument supported by original research.  For example, Schlosser’s macabre depictions of life in a food processing plant may have left an impression—perhaps you want to explore the connection between labor and food more fully. Other possible ideas include:

  • Food safety regulations
  • The cultural significance of a particular cuisine
  • Food production and the food industry
  • Access to food/hunger issues
  •  Food and identity
  • The rise of organic farming
  • Historical or cultural analysis of a food ritual or event
  • Technology around food safety
  • Nutritional science

Advice: It is important that you choose a topic that can be argued. First, make sure there are multiple perspectives on your topic, and read them all. Then develop your own angle. Feel free to include your own specific knowledge on a topic but make sure that original research and well-supported arguments make up the bulk of this essay.  You must choose at least four scholarly sources (academic journals, books) outside of class readings.

Audience: An interested reader

Format: 2200-2800 words (7-9 pages), MLA format


Type: Develop an analytical argument using original research that includes both primary and secondary sources

Rationale: The purpose of this assignment is for students to choose an original research question, locate and evaluate sources, and make an evidence-based argument supported by original research and the knowledge they have built throughout the semester.

Pre-Draft Activities:

  • Freewriting on a topic or question
  • Paper proposal
  • Evaluation of possible sources and how they might be useful
  • Balancing argument, evidence, and analysis

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