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Keywords:

  • dietetics;
  • food;
  • generalisability;
  • nutrition;
  • qualitative research;
  • quality criteria;
  • reliability;
  • validity

Abstract

In recent years, qualitative research has become much more widely used in healthcare settings and undoubtedly has much to offer nutrition and dietetics. Its value is, however, still sometimes called into question and, for those unfamiliar with qualitative approaches, it can be difficult to grasp what distinguishes ‘good’ qualitative research from that which has been less rigorously conceived and conducted. This review, the fourth in the series, aims to highlight some of the key scientific debates around the quality criteria that can be applied to qualitative research, and offers some flexible guidelines that may be used both in producing and assessing qualitative health research, including studies in nutrition and dietetics. 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 analysis and some practical advice relevant to nutrition and dietetics, along with glossaries of key terms.