Writing Plan Phases
Collecting Baseline Data
First Edition Writing Plan
Second Edition Writing Plan
  • phase completed
  • phase in-progress

The Department of Food Science and Nutrition, in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), maintains excellence in undergraduate and graduate education and offers programs in both food science and nutrition. With a core faculty of 31 members, the department operates a number of specialized laboratories where food science and nutrition research is conducted. Some of the research focuses in the department include application of behavioral change theory, food processing, bioterrorism, biotransformation enzymes, body composition and energy expenditure assessment, dairy chemistry, metabolomics, and chronic disease prevention. Food Science and Nutrition students are active in outreach programs in the food industry; local, national, and international nutrition and health; and consumer communities.

Food Science and Nutrition Writing Plan

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Writing in Food Science and Nutrition

The Food Science and Nutrition faculty generated the following description in response to the question, “What characterizes academic and professional communication in this discipline?"


  • Interpretive and evaluative of data, reports, sources
  • Non-biases, fact-based, unemotional
  • Makes proper use of statistical methods
  • Drawing connections between concepts and processes


  • Conveying detailed observations
  • Conveying concrete, relevant detail; eliminating vague, abstract detail
  • Using graphical means to communicate ideas and facts


  • Brief without loss of meaning
  • Summarizing complex ideas and leaving out irrelevant information
  • Short, succinct
  • Clear, not redundant


  • Addressing more than one side of an issue
  • Drawing implications from data in order to reach feasible conclusions


  • Presents a synthesis of findings across studies, similarities, and differences


  • Justified
  • Decisive
  • Audience-directed


  • Continuous-tells a story
  • Uses logical construction
  • Good paragraph construction
  • Flows; uses transitions between paragraphs
  • Comprehensible
  • Easy-to-follow argument
  • Organization is clear and appropriate
  • Structured—thesis statement and supportive sentences focus on intended topic


  • Accurate
  • Good grammar and lacks typos
  • No spelling errors


  • Uses acceptable sources of information
  • Avoids copying text
  • Cited


  • With or without words

Diverse Vocabulary:

  • Not too much jargon

Writing Abilities Expected of Food Science and Nutrition Majors

The Food Science and Nutrition faculty generated the following list in response to the question, “With which writing abilities should students in this unit’s major(s) graduate?”

  1. Critically interpret and evaluate data, source, and evidence.
  2. Read critically: look at both sides, recognize bias (author's), identify conflicts of interest; see from data all implications possible to reach feasible conclusions.
  3. Select the essential information to include; summarize complex ideas by their essential elements.
  4. Properly uses analytical tools in the profession, able to display data.
  5. Correctly use lexicon, and interpret for diverse audiences.
  6. Identify the audience(s) and correctly/properly address audience(s)’ needs.
  7. Critically evaluate writing of their peers and their own writing; edit and rewrite.
  8. Organize ideas logically and write in cohesive, focused paragraphs.
  9. Avoid grammatical and mechanical errors.
  10. Make proper use of statistical methods.
  11. Write in their own words, based on their own observations.
  12. Quote sources accurately; avoid plagiarism.

Menu of Grading Criteria Used in Food Science and Nutrition Courses

The Food Science and Nutrition faculty have generated a set of grading criteria.

The text...

  1. Consistently uses style, vocabulary, and evidence that address concerns of lay readers.
  2. Provides correct information or correct explanations for specific observations.
  3. Directly communicates key points made about an issue in a scientific article using scientific evidence as support.
  4. Describes conflicts of interest in a scientific article, and describes how named conflicts could be causing bias in an author's assertions.
  5. Builds arguments by identifying potential flaws and shortfalls in diverse written media.
  6. Avoids generalizations.
  7. Critiques varying sides of an issue using objective (rather than emotional or personal) reasoning.
  8. Communicates a position that considers multiple points of view.
  9. Identifies essential pieces of data and critical points of a complex and multifaceted process and describes their importance.
  10. Uses appropriate type of graph for the type of data represented (e.g. bar graph for comparing groups, line graph for time series).
  11. Includes visuals whose captions and legends are correctly formatted and contain enough information (i.e., the reader does not need to refer to the text to understand what they are representing).
  12. Uses figures with sufficient detail for the purpose of the writing (e.g. error bars, quantity of numbers/points/lines, annotations).
  13. Discusses results presented in tables and figures concisely and accurately in order of presentation.
  14. Interprets data presented in tables and figures, discussing variability and accuracy based on sources.
  15. Presents a hypothesis or project proposal that is related to experimental or research data.
  16. Critically evaluates published data and compares it to experimental data, identifying reasons for any discrepancies.
  17. Consistently evaluates and reports findings of experimental results.
  18. Directly communicates a clinically-oriented, scientifically-based narrative in response to a given context.
  19. Is written in paragraphs that build upon ideas in a logical sequence and use transitional statements both between paragraphs and ideas.
  20. Is written in paragraphs that each focus on a specific topic which is named in a topic sentence.
  21. Describes methodology in chronological order.

Highlights from the Writing Plan

In its second-edition Writing Plan, Food Science and Nutrition has four targeted goals: (1) developing a TA training program to ensure consistency for writing support across courses; (2) creating an online guide to integrating visual data; (3) piloting an online peer review tool; and (4) continuing to offer workshops for faculty and TAs to share resources on both visualization and documentation of visual evidence.