Invited review: Qualitative research in dairy science—A narrative review

C. Ritter*, K. E. Koralesky, J. Saraceni, S. Roche, M. Vaarst, D. Kelton

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisReviewForskningpeer review


The use of qualitative research in dairy science has increased considerably in recent years, providing the opportunity to inform research and practice. This review aims to enhance the accessibility of qualitative research among a range of audiences and specifically: (1) provide an overview of what qualitative research is and the value it can bring to scientific inquiries in the dairy context, (2) illustrate the emergence of qualitative dairy science research in the past 15 to 20 years, (3) outline the role of the researcher and key philosophical assumptions underlying qualitative research, (4) describe qualitative research approaches and methods used in dairy science research, and (5) highlight key aspects of qualitative inquiry used to ensure research trustworthiness. Qualitative approaches in dairy science enable researchers to understand myriad topics including stakeholder relationships, decision-making, and behaviors regarding dairy cattle management, animal welfare, and disease prevention and control measures. Approaches that were used often for qualitative data collection were individual interviews and focus groups, and variations of thematic analysis were common analytical frameworks. To assess public values, attitudes, and perceptions, mixed methods questionnaires that combined quantitative data with qualitative data from open-ended questions were used regularly. Although still used infrequently, action research and participatory approaches have the potential to bridge the research-implementation gap by facilitating group-based learning and on-farm changes. Some publications described the philosophical assumptions inherent to qualitative research, and many authors included reflexivity and positionality statements. Although a comprehensive description of strategies to meet trustworthiness criteria for qualitative research was uncommon, many publications mentioned certain aspects of trustworthiness, such as member checking, researcher triangulation, and the recording of reflexive notes. Qualitative research has been used to deepen our understanding of phenomena relevant to the dairy sector and has opened the door for a broad array of new opportunities. In addition to having merit on its own, qualitative research can guide, inform, and expand on quantitative research, and an understanding of the core pillars of qualitative research can foster interdisciplinary collaborations.

TidsskriftJournal of Dairy Science
Sider (fra-til)5880-5895
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2023


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