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Research Methods in Nutritional Anthropology

Table of contents (217 p.)

Edited by Gretel H. Pelto, Pertti J. Pelto, and Ellen Messer

The United Nations University, 1989

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the United Nations University.

United Nations University Press
The United Nations University
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Tel.: (03) 3499-2811. Fax: (03) 3406-7345.
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Printed in Hong Kong

ISBN 92-808-0632-7

United Nations Sales No. E.89.III.A.4
03000 P


Introduction: Methodological directions in nutritional anthropology


1. Methods for determinants of food intake

Overview of factors in human food selection
Economic and ecological factors affecting food choice
Sensory characteristics affecting food selection
Perception of physiological effects and food classification
Cultural symbolic dimension
The socio-cultural construction of diets
Summary and conclusions
Appendix 1. Obesity and cultural weight valuations (A variation on the method suggested by Massara, 1980)
Appendix 2. Dietary decision-making: formal models and ethnographic Qualifications
Appendix 3. Bitter or astringent taste standards
Appendix 4. A field test for estimating sweetness preferences to improve estimates of sucrose intakes in individuals
Appendix 5. Methods for describing staple food classifications
Appendix 6. Symbolic, folkloric, and medicinal factors
Appendix 7. Gender factors

2. Strategies of field research in nutritional anthropology

Experimental and naturalistic field research
Prediction, cause, and causality
Selection of research communities
Collaboration with community people
Sample size and population definition
The household as a primary research unit
The structure of variables: categories versus variations
Quantitative and qualitative data and the EMIC/ETIC issue

3. Methodological procedures for analysing energy expenditure

Survey of habitual activities
Determination of critical activities
Determination of key participants
Measuring energy expenditure rates
Time-motion analysis
Estimation of energy expenditure rates from time-allocation data
Assessment of endurance capacity

4. The relevance of time-allocation analyses nutritional anthropology: The relationship of time and household organization to nutrient intake and status

Methods of data collection

Random or spot observations
Day-long observations

Processing and interpreting data
Procedures for collecting and analysing time-activity data efficiently and effectively
Appendix 1. Messer, mitla field notes, 4 September 1980

5. Cultural patterning and group-shared rules in the study of food intake

Methods for studying cultural rules for food use
Research techniques
Social units
Food choices: a process of many phases
Levels and units of analysis
A comprehensive interview approach to food patterning

Three studies of meal-format rules
Actual meal data


6. Elementary mathematical models and statistical methods for nutritional anthropology

Prediction models
Preference relations
Decision-making models and optimization analysis
Input-output analysis
Stochastic process models

Other UNU titles of interest

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