In our society today, people have the freedom to choose where they get their sources from, whether it be from an online news source or an educative magazine. However, it is actually the way information is portrayed that influences how individuals perceive the subject. For example, between a popular article and an academic research study, there are differences in the way ideas are delivered to the audience. Oftentimes, in popular mainstream articles, information can be easily misrepresented and lost in comparison to the academic research being summarized. Therefore, it is essential for popular media authors to properly portray the scholarly articles that are the basis of their work. In John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health’s piece for Science Daily, “Home cooking a main ingredient in healthier diet, study shows,” the institution accurately represents the main points emphasized by the research done by Julia A Wolfson and co-author Sarah N Bleich in the Public Health Nutrition article, “Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention?” in spite of the differences between the language, organization, and purpose of the two articles.
First of all, in terms of addressing the audience, the two articles contrast with one another. In the popular article, “Home cooking a main ingredient in healthier diet, study shows,” it is intended for the general population to read the paper because anyone who shows even the slightest bit of interest can easily browse and access the piece on Science Daily. Additionally, the wording and terminology used in the article are simple enough to understand and follow along. For example, in the article, John Hopkins Univeristy Bloomberg School of Public Health claimed that “the researchers also found that those who cook at home more often rely less frequently on frozen foods and are less likely to choose fast foods on the occasions when they eat out” (1). The words are not difficult to comprehend and anyone would be able to identify and relate to what the article is trying to state. On the other hand, in Wolfson and Bleich’s research article, “Is cooking at home associated with better quality or weight-loss intention?” there are more complicated words and phrasing like “multinomial logistic regression”, “dichotomous variable”, and “covariates” that help explain the studies in detail (3). The use of sophisticated terminology enables the authors to fully explain their research in the most accurate and detailed form to show the audience how knowledgeable they are in the subject. In addition, it gives other individual readers at a similar level of interest in the nutrition field an opportunity to learn the subject in a precise and efficient manner. All in all, even though both articles have distinct styles in addressing the audience, they both deliver the same message of the health effects resulting from home cooking.
Besides the different uses of diction in the articles, the organization of the two pieces plays a crucial role in getting the information across to the audience. For the popular article on Science Daily, the paper is structured in a simple and straightforward manner. At the very top of the page below the title, John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health conveniently includes a short summary to give readers an idea of what the article will be about. As mentioned in the summary, “People who frequently cook meals at home eat healthier and consume fewer calories than those who cook less, according to new research. The findings also suggest that those who frequently cooked at home — six-to-seven nights a week — also consumed fewer calories on the occasions when they ate out” (John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, 1). The summary acts as a helpful preview of what the content of the article would be like. In addition, after several informative paragraphs on the topic of home cooking benefits that enable the audience to easily follow along, the institution includes the story source and journal reference to further give people an idea of where the ideas and sources are coming from. Not only does this show that the popular article accurately summarizes the journal reference using quotes referring to the research article it cited, but also gives credit to the source mentioned at the end of the article. For example, in the middle of the popular piece, it is mentioned that “Wolfson and co-author Sara N. Bleich, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School, analyzed data from the 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from more than 9,000 participants aged 20 and older” (1). The John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health give readers a clear idea of the survey Wolfson and Bleich conducted in the journal reference, “Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention,” showing that the institution accurately represented the academic research.
In terms of the overall purpose of the two articles, both the popular and the academic piece deliver the same message, but are presented in different ways. In “home cooking a main ingredient in healthier diet, study shows,” the popular article emphasizes the importance of diet and health benefits resulting from frequent home cooking compared to unhealthy diets that occurs when one eats out often. As mentioned in the article, “it’s important to educate the public about the benefits of cooking at home, identify strategies that encourage and enable more cooking at home, and help everyone, regardless of how much they cook, make healthier choices when eating out” (John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health,1). The audience is being addressed in a way that has a high possibility of prompting them to take action. The same goes for “Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention?” because in the academic article, Wolfson and Bleich examines national patterns in cooking frequency and diet quality among adults in the US by analyzing data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. As we can see, stated in the article, “If a person or someone in their household cooks dinner frequently, regardless of whether or not they are trying to lose weight, diet quality improves. This is likely due to the relatively lower energy, fat and sugar contents in foods cooked at home compared with convenience foods or foods consumed away from home” (Woflson and Bleich, 7). This notifies readers of higher skill in the professional field the clear evidence of the effects of people cooking at home frequently versus people who don’t. Despite the contrasting approach in reaching out to the audience, both articles have the same objectives and purpose in allowing people to realize the significance of frequent home cooking.
After analyzing the rhetorical features common to both the popular and academic articles, it can be concluded that even though there are many differences, the two writings still resemble one another. Through examining the various style, page layout, and objective John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health’s “Home cooking a main ingredient in healthier diet, study shows” and Julia A Wolfson and Sarah N Bleich’s “Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention?” both have, we are able to identify how the popular article accurately represents the academic article it cited.
Popular source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141117084711.htm
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Home cooking a main ingredient in healthier diet, study shows.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 November 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141117084711.htm>.
Julia A Wolfson, Sara N Bleich. Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention? Public Health Nutrition, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1017/S1368980014001943