Applying a transdisciplinary mixed methods research design to explore sustainable diets in rural South Africa


  • Nicole Claasen North-West University
  • Namukolo Covic North-West University
  • Ernst Former Idsardi North-West University
  • Luke Alan Sandham North-West University
  • Anél Gildenhuys North-West University
  • Stefanie Lemke University of Hohenheim


This article describes a conceptual framework for exploring sustainable diets, using a case study example of ongoing research in the Vaalharts region, a rural setting in South Africa. A qualitative research approach is followed with an integrated transdisciplinary mixed methods research design with multiple concurrent components employed during two sequential phases. A successful application of the framework is achieved through a collaborative team effort of researchers with qualitative and quantitative research expertise transcending different disciplines, as well as participation of community members throughout the research process. We demonstrate that transdisciplinary mixed methods research designs are essential to gain a better understanding of the complex concept of sustainable diets.

Author Biographies

Nicole Claasen, North-West University

Post-doctoral fellow Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR) Faculty of Health Sciences

Namukolo Covic, North-West University

Senior Lecturer of Nutrition Centre of Excellence for Nutrition Faculty of Health Sciences

Ernst Former Idsardi, North-West University

Agricultural economist TRADE Research Niche Area

Luke Alan Sandham, North-West University

Associate professor Geography and Environmental Management School of Geo and Spatial Sciences

Anél Gildenhuys, North-West University

Senior Lecturer Faculty of Law

Stefanie Lemke, University of Hohenheim

Acting Chair Department of Gender and Nutrition Institute for Social Sciences in Agriculture






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