Providing authentic(ated) food: a discussion of the use of multi-qualitative methods

Louise Manning, Robert Smith

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


The 2013 horsemeat scandal and other more contemporary cases (for example the Two Sisters and Russell Hume scandals) have led to an interest in empirical research that has sought to quantify the level of food fraud in certain supply chains such as meat, fish and milk. This research case study describes the value of alternative iterative styles of research where, based on inductive reasoning, the researcher uses a set of observations to identify patterns that give order to the data collected and then it is possible to analyse at the scale of the unit of analysis, in this case the business. The primary data was collected from qualitative interviews with industry insiders and also a convenience based retail survey followed by analysis of data from rural food retail stores (n=20). The primary data informed the development of a conceptual framework. We designed the methodology to bring together two sources of qualitative data from different disciplines that when combined provided more insight into the study topic than the use of a single method. This case study therefore focuses on how researchers can use inductive and iterative methods of research. The narrative follows the process from research design through data collection to analysis of data and conceptualisation of meaning. Particular focus is given to explaining the rationale for research design and categorizing iterative data that arises from observations.
Original languageEnglish
TypeSAGE Research Methods Cases are stories of how real research projects were conducted.
Media of outputCase study on electronic database
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISBN (Electronic)9781526484925
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • unit
  • analysis
  • observation
  • grounded
  • iterative
  • inductive


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