Physis: Revista de Saúde Coletiva
Print version ISSN 0103-7331
BOSI, Maria Lúcia Magalhães et al. The qualitative approach in the evaluation of food consumption: fundamentals, applications and operational considerations. Physis [online]. 2011, vol.21, n.4, pp. 1287-1296. ISSN 0103-7331. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-73312011000400007.
Unfounded disputes between advocates of qualitative and quantitative approaches have hindered the recognition of the benefits of combined application of both methods in the same study, ie, a multidimensional and integrated approach. Nevertheless, in recent years, the field of Nutrition in Public Health has experienced an increase in conducting studies guided not only by measurement, but by the combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. Indeed, the qualitative approach has much to contribute to research in food consumption, among many other objects and themes, in which stands the importance of deepening the understanding of subjective production, expressed in beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. This paper summarizes the nature, rationale and usefulness of the qualitative research approach in Food and Nutrition, explaining how these methods have been or may be used to study the complex problems that arise in this field, limiting the discussion to the scope of the studies on food consumption. The integration of both methods, qualitative and quantitative, by the methodological complementarity, can minimize the limits of use of each approach in isolation.
Keywords : qualitative research; food consumption; Food and Nutrition; methodology.