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I'm tasked with writing a research paper and a lot of the evidence will be using "Cooking News Websites". My PI told me to think of ways to define what a "Cooking News Website" is.

For example: https://cookingnewstoday.com/

A general news outlet like CNN/NBC and their cooking sections are not considered "Cooking News Websites".

Basically I have to define what a Cooking News Website is, but I really have no clue other than saying "it is a website that primarily focuses on news related to cooking".

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    This is hardly a writing question. And, fwiw, I don't see anything wrong with your current working definition of what a cooking news website might be. Stop procrastinating and get on with your research! Commented Jun 5, 2022 at 11:26

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You need to think of criteria that warrant inclusion of exclusion of a website from being a source for your research. When someone asks you "Why did (or didn't) you include this website", you need to be able to answer that satisfactorily.

The reason this is important, is so that you can show that you didn't just pick sources that suit your preexisting views and biases. You want to be able to show that you made a best effort to find all relevant cooking news website and filtered them by the criteria you set out at the start.

"it is a website that primarily focuses on news related to cooking".

That's a good first start. But what does it really mean?

  • Does "about cooking" mean it's about recipes, or does it include cooking equipment, logistics, etc.
  • Do you limit it to modern cooking, or is historic cooking included.
  • Does "primary focus" mean that 50% or more of the pages on the site are about cooking? Or 70%? 30%?
  • How will you measure it? Will you sample X pages, or analyze keywords on a full web-scrape of the website?
  • How does the sort of research you wish to do affect the sources you can use? (If you need to scrape the source-websites, you should exclude ones that do not allow this, so that's an exclusion criterion.)

Try to think of all the criteria that might be relevant. The easiest way to start might be to collect some initial sources and look at them, so that you have an idea of the breadth of cooking-related websites. Then once you set your inclusion criteria, do another (broad) search and filter it down to your research set.

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Subjective definitions can be defined by examples of what is in your definition and what is just outside the border of your definition.

It is like the famous definition of the difference between "artistic" nude photographs and "pornographic" nude photographs -- I know it when I see it.

Likewise, my subjective definition of a "car" might exclude pickup trucks and stretch limos and three-wheeled vehicles; but your subjective definition of a "car" may include one or more of those things I exclude.

So what is a cooking news website? Your current definition may be fine, but if you are dissatisfied then survey a lot of cooking sites that might be, and decide for yourself what is the difference between just a cooking site and what is a cooking news site.

Then you can include in your paper your examples of sites you think are and are not cooking news sites.

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