Using Spoken and Written Qualitative Methods to Explore Children's and Young People's Food and Eating Practices
Research examining children’s and young people’s food and eating practices has become more common place in recent years. Qualitative methods can be useful in such sense-making research, where an individual’s narrative is likely to involve complexity, contradiction and ambiguity. Speaking and writing about food and eating can offer participants of all ages and most abilities the opportunity to delve into their own world of practice. Commonly used methods, like the individual interview and focus group, whilst suitable for studies of this kind, are not without their drawbacks. There are important ethical issues concerning children’s privacy and their right not to reveal ‘too much’ to the researcher or their family. Innovative methods which deserve greater consideration include audio diaries, memory work/books, email interviews and interviews ‘on the move’. All offer the researcher the opportunity to build rapport with and collect narratives about food and eating from children and young people.