Consumer Research: Food Choices and Healthy Eating Behavior
Learning outcomes of the course unit
After completing this course, the students will be able to (1) explain how concepts and theories from the social and behavioural economic sciences apply to food and nutrition issues, (2) demonstrate basic principles and procedures for conducting and interpreting qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys (using software and other instruments) to understand consumer decisions-making for food choices
There are no compulsory prerequisites, but students are strongly advised to have a spoken, listening and written English at the Intermediate-Upper level.
Course contents summary
This course is designed to strengthen the student’s knowledge and understanding of food choices and health. The students are encouraged to consider the relationship between food and nutrition and how the role of social science concepts, theories, and methods can provide useful tools for understanding and addressing food and nutrition issues. The topics discussed will address influences on healthy food behaviour based on cultures, personal factors, habits, contexts, and other. Moreover, we will explore how to communicate effectively the results to a broad audience (general public) and not only to experts in the field. The course will include some examples of qualitative and quantitative international recent studies, published work and on-going projects.
• Presentation and discussion in class of case studies proposed by the instructor, including those developed within his MarieCurie "CONSUMEHealth" project carried out in the United States.
• Identification of new food trends in relation to nutritional aspects
• Development of interviews, focus groups and specific survey to investigate critical issues in consumer choice
• Presentation of the student projects and collective discussion in the classroom
The educational material will be made available on the Elly teaching portal
Teaching will be carried out through classroom lectures, seminars/webinar by experts in the field, computer lab hand-on activities, field visit, case-study presentation. Students are expected to actively participate and interact during class with the instructor and colleagues.
Assessment methods and criteria
Students will complete a qualitative or quantitative exploratory research project as learning test. Final examination will be carried out through an oral/written presentation of the project, which may include the critical discussion of projects and/or the contents explained over the course. Communication/presentation skills will be also evaluated.