Qualitative research in nutrition and dietetics: data analysis issues

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Although much of the analysis conducted in qualitative research falls within the broad church of thematic analysis, the wide scope of qualitative enquiry presents the researcher with a number of choices regarding data analysis techniques. This review, the third in the series, provides an overview of a number of techniques and practical steps that can be taken to provide some structure and focus to the intellectual work of thematic analysis in nutrition and dietetics. Because appropriate research methods are crucial to ensure high-quality research, it also describes a process for choosing appropriate analytical methods that considers the extent to which they help answer the research question(s) and are compatible with the philosophical assumptions about ontology, epistemology and methodology that underpin the overall design of a study. Other reviews in this series provide a model for embarking on a qualitative research project in nutrition and dietetics, an overview of the principal techniques of data collection, sampling and quality assessment of this kind of research and some practical advice relevant to nutrition and dietetics, along with glossaries of key terms.

Keywords: dietetics; food; inductive coding; interpretative coding; nutrition; qualitative research; thematic analysis; transcription

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-277X.2010.01118.x

Affiliations: 1: NHS London, London, UK 2: Division of Nutritional Sciences, School of Biosciences, The University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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