Research Proposal (English 102)

I thought of various topics to pursue for this semester, from extreme sports to piano music, but I came across one that really stood out to me. I chose to research the relationship between diet and overall health. Now, I’m not wanting to research this because I think I’m unhealthy (far from it!), but because health is a very interesting topic to me. As a kid I grew up eating mostly organic whole foods and my family pushed exercise and healthy eating habits. I believe that I am better off health wise because of it. Also, I don’t understand why the US is so unhealthy when as a nation we spend so much on health care. I also chose this topic because I recently read a book called The China Study. This book is written from a scientist who was one of the main leaders in a 20 year diet study in China. In the book, he proves with hard evidence that the key to perfect health is to stay away from animal-based food (such as dairy, meat, etc.), and eat whole, nutritious foods (whole grains, vegetables, fruits, etc.) He claims that doing so will prevent and even reverse diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and others. He also claims that eating meat and dairy can cause and accelerate these diseases. Now, I’m definitely not a vegetarian (like most people!), so this definitely struck me as odd. Meat and dairy is harmful to our health? I am also very interested in seeing what other experts have discovered. I would like to look at the evidence from other sources pertaining to this topic, as well as research the opposing evidence, if any. Also, I would like to check the validity of The China Study, and compare it to other diet books out there. Also, if this is true, then why didn’t I hear about it sooner? What is the difference between plant-based and animal-based nutrients? I could also research to see if there are any nutrients that you can only get from meat and dairy products that I also I would also like to research why there is so much confusion with what you eat, and what can be done to eliminate this confusion. Also, since I grew up eating organic food, is there really that much of a difference between organic and non-organic? Does the use of industrial pesticides and fertilizers on food pose any threat to the health of the nation? Also, what are the American people currently eating? How does this pertain to the research I have come up with? Are people eating healthy, according to my research?

For my exploratory essay, I would like to figure out what eating healthy really is, and what the relationship is between eating habits and health overall. What is a “healthy diet”? This might turn out to be a very challenging question, seeing as how I’m sure there have to be multiple opinions from various diet researchers on this topic.  I would also like to research how the findings I get relate to the American people and their eating habits. Also, there is probably a lot of evidence out there for this sort of topic, so I’ll probably need to choose the most up to date evidence from the most esteemed sources. I would also like to research what validates the diet claims, and what the opinions are of other people who have done research. I might also research the difference between organic and non-organic food. I believe this is a great question to ask, and hopefully there is enough evidence and research to make the evidence found to answer this question a research essay. I don’t know if there have been studies or research performed to answer this question, so that might pose a challenge for me when I write the essay.

For my academic analytical paper, I would probably choose to defend the perspective of eating healthy. I’m still not quite sure what this essay will entail, but if I had to choose a specific topic, I would probably choose the effects of eating organic vs. non-organic. I’m sure there are multiple opinions and sides to this argument, so I should be able to analyze the arguments pretty well. As I stated before, I hope there is enough evidence to analyze when I write the paper so I can make it the desired length. Another topic I might choose would be what is wrong (or right) with the current dieting in America. If there is a problem with the current system, then what can be done about it? I could also analyze different research done on the nutritional value of various plants and see if, by eating the right food, you can get all the nutrition from plant-based foods that you would normally get from animal-based foods. If there are enough nutrients in plant-based foods, then what plants can provide this nutrition, and is there anything in animal-based foods that your body needs? I also might analyze the current expenditures on health care and see where all of the money is spent. What does all the money go towards? And why is there so much money spent these days?

For my ethnography paper, I would prefer to do research within a certain population here at Boise State. I might be able to study the eating habits of the BSU students that go to Boise River Café or even ask interview students and ask them what they eat. I also could study the Boise, ID area and try to find statistics on weight and dieting. There is also a possibility that I could ask students whether or not they know about the research I performed and whether or not they care. Also, there may be a health-related club or group on campus that I could interview and see what their eating habits are and whether or not they know about the research I have done and what my conclusions are. I could also interview people in the area to see what they usually eat. I could even go to a few grocery stores and see what people have in their shopping carts. Is it mostly meat & dairy, mostly grains and veggies, or is it well balanced? I think these would be some great places to do my ethnography.

As I progress further into my research, I’m very excited to learn more about this topic and see what evidence is out there. I’m very interested in learning more about health and what it takes to be healthy. I am planning on basing my research on scientific evidence from various sources. I am going to look for the most recent and viable sources so that my research is up-to-date.