Writing 101: Science and Policy of Healthy Food Choice

Reader requirements: a professional interest in WIC health, including readers in medicine, policy, economics, nutrition, psychology.

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information

Instructor: Prof. Cary Moskovitz

A new research center to promote healthy eating is being established this year by Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research (BEHFC), funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will focus on improving dietary choices among food stamp recipients. The goal of the center is to find ways of using data and consumer psychology to change the behavior of food consumers.

A recent article about the new center published in Duke Today explains the scope of the issue: “Since 2007, the number of Americans using USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), popularly known as food stamps, has nearly doubled, reaching almost one-sixth of the U.S. population at an annual cost of $79 billion. In addition, averages of 8.7 million Americans participate each month in the Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC), and more than half of them are children.” Clearly the diet of Americans who receive SNAP benefits is a major health and economic issue for the United States.

This section of Writing 101 will collaborate with the center through its director, Professor Matthew Harding of the Sanford School of Public Policy. According to Professor Harding, the center will first take up issues related to WIC: “As part of this effort we are tasked with reviewing the evidence, talking to participants and retailers, commissioning white papers etc.” He also notes opportunities for students in this section of Writing 101 to be directly involved: “Next summer there will be a roundtable in Washington DC where all these insights will be presented and discussed with policy makers and this will have a real policy impact. I can see these students’ work being part of this effort and that it might also be direct part of the report/presentation in DC. The roundtable will be hosted by Duke in DC so we could have at least some students attending the round table discussions and seeing policy in action.”

For more information about the BEHFC:

Student Writing Assignment

What are students writing? The major written product for the class will be a white paper to be presented at the DC roundtable in the summer of 2015.
For whom? Experts and stakeholders in various fields involved with the BEHFC.
Where would such writing typically be found? As working documents for stakeholders involved in a decision-making process.
Why would someone usually read it? In the world of policy, white papers guide decision makers with expert opinions, recommendations, and analytical research. Readers for these students’ white papers will use them to shape the research agenda for the center.

See examples of reader bios for this course


Student – Reader Interactions

Readers should expect to give feedback on drafts no earlier than late February and ending by late April.

Course links:

Course Information
General information about Prof. Moskovitz’s writing courses.

Giving Feedback

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More

Instructor’s suggestions:

**Important Reader Project info for this course**

What Readers and Student partners need to know about the Reader Project. Includes information and suggestions on giving feedback.

Quality Reader Feedback Example

WR 101 (Moskovitz) sample with feedback