Background: University foodservices have the potential to foster environmental education. Understanding the perspectives of foodservice staff is critical for engaging staff to implement environmental education in universities.
Methods: Q methodology, a mixed methods approach to understanding dominant shared sets of attitudes, was used to determine a range of perspectives on environmental education. The study design integrates two phases. The first phase involves preliminary interviews with foodservice stakeholders and a card sorting activity. The second phase will convert the results of the sorting activity into a survey to determine the prevalence of perspectives in a wider national population of university food service staff.
Results: Phase one interviews with two university academics and three university foodservice stakeholders were conducted to develop an assortment of statements pivoting around the issue of environmental education. The interviews as well as perspectives from secondary data, grey and academic literature were used to create a table of 92 statements. Thematic analysis of preliminary results showed saturation of positive views, where similar statements occur in interviews. Further phase one interviews (n=40) with foodservice staff will identify groups of viewpoints called factors.
Conclusion: The results provide perspectives of foodservice staff about environmental education in their workplace. Future research will determine the prevalence of viewpoint groups across university foodservice staff nationwide. The study will help provide a model to guide universities in making preliminary steps to integrate environmental education into their foodservice operations.
Funding Sources: The University of Otago