An introduction to qualitative research for food and nutrition professionals

J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Jan;109(1):80-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.10.018.


The purpose of this article is to define qualitative research, explain its design, explore its congruence with quantitative research, and provide examples of its applications in dietetics. Also, methods to ensure validity, reliability, and relevance are addressed. Readers will gain increased knowledge about qualitative research and greater competency in evaluating this type of research. The hope is that food and nutrition professionals will be inspired to conduct and publish qualitative research, adding to the body of peer-reviewed dietetics-related qualitative publications. This type of research must be methodically planned and implemented with attention to validity, reliability, and relevance. This rigorous approach boosts the probability that the research will add to the scientific literature and qualify for publication.

MeSH terms

  • Dietetics / methods
  • Dietetics / standards*
  • Humans
  • Periodicals as Topic / standards
  • Population Groups
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Quality Control
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design
  • Research* / organization & administration
  • Research* / standards