Food deserts

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Food Deserts: The Issue and Possible Solutions

Food Deserts: The Issue and Possible Solutions

FOOD DESERTS 17 Coupons and price reductions have been used for all types of food items, and now nutritional programs have been making coupons more available for certain grocery stores and farmers’ markets. One intervention offered coupons to low-income senior citizens over a five-year period and reached more than 20,000 people every year. However, the researchers could not determine whether or not the program increased the fruit and vegetable intake of senior citizens, because the study only included those who used the coupons and not all 20,000 recipients. Another intervention offered farmers’ markets coupons to women enrolled in WIC. These women were more likely to shop at farmers’ markets, but the coupons were not shown to increase their overall fruit and vegetable consumption. These two studies show that while coupons and price reduction are good tools, their potential has not yet been realized and more research needs to be done in this area to fully understand the impact of coupons (Glanz & Yaroch, 2004).
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As the Crow Flies: An Underrepresentation of Food Deserts in the Rural Appalachian Mountains

As the Crow Flies: An Underrepresentation of Food Deserts in the Rural Appalachian Mountains

outcome with relationship to food desert school districts in rural Pennsylvania. Access to a full- service grocery was used as a basis for food desert assessment instead of using all food outlets in order to ensure access to a greater variety of food, and in particular, to more healthy food options (Schafft et al., 2009). By addressing these relationships at the school district level, BMI data collected from the schools were analyzed with census data to identify at-risk populations (Schafft et al., 2009). Food desert areas were found to have a median income of nearly $5,000 less that nonfood desert districts (Schafft et al., 2009). Day and Pearce’s 2011 study in New Zealand used geocoding of fast food outlets and convenience stores in and around schools and assessed food outlet type and density as related to socioeconomics and population. It was found that those schools in social deprived areas had greater density of fast food outlets and convenience stores (Day & Pearce, 2011). There may also be an increased rate of obesity found in these lower income communities (Day & Pearce, 2011). Considering that those schools districts that include food deserts also had increased rates of childhood obesity, GIS may be a crucial tool in
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Do residents of food deserts express different food buying preferences compared to residents of food oases? A mixed-methods analysis

Do residents of food deserts express different food buying preferences compared to residents of food oases? A mixed-methods analysis

By contrast in Boston, we found few differences in per- ceptions of factors influencing food buying practices according to food desert status as shown with the pattern match and average cluster ratings (Figure 2). This suggests that food purchasing preferences are similar among resi- dents of low income neighborhoods in Boston irrespective of neighborhood-level access to a supermarket. Addition- ally, food desert and food oasis participants focused on the importance of emergency food assistance programs. This is consistent to findings from Eikenberry and Smith who found that a promoter of healthy eating among low-in- come residents was the utilization of federal or local food assistance programs [17]. In our study, participants from both the food deserts and oases used emergency food as- sistance programs regularly. Participants outlined how they navigated the system of frequenting food pantries and soup kitchens daily. The high dependence and utilization (64.4% of participants) of these resources may account for the observed similarities in average cluster ratings and high correlation coefficient (r = 0.93) However, it can be argued that daily use is no longer considered “emergency” ser- vices, but rather chronic use of these resources. Additional studies are needed to implement and evaluate successful city-specific programs that minimize the effects of poor food access to determine how these programs can be adapted to other cities.
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Access to Healthy Foods: A Descriptive Analysis of Farmers’ Markets, Food Deserts & USDA Food Assistance Programs in Tennessee Census Tracts

Access to Healthy Foods: A Descriptive Analysis of Farmers’ Markets, Food Deserts & USDA Food Assistance Programs in Tennessee Census Tracts

In recent years, research has begun to focus more on the presence of farmers’ markets in food deserts by utilizing spatial analyses to investigate disparities in access to healthy foods, and providing evidence of how federal food assistance programs support and offer benefits to both consumers and farmers (Anderson & Burau, 2015; Berry, 2013; Boos, 2012; Brace, Matthews, Finkelstein, & Beall, 2016; Davis, 2009; Schmitz, 2010; Waity, 2016; Wang, Qiu, & Swallow, 2014; Yanamandra, Maienschein, Wharton, & Ellison, 2015). Specifically, spatial analyses found that increasing the number of fresh food outlets (i.e. farmers’ markets) improved healthy food accessibility, especially in urban neighborhoods (Anderson & Burau, 2015; Wang et al., 2014). It was also found that farmers’ markets were more likely to be located in urban areas where public transportation, walking and biking were utilized as viable traveling options (Berry, 2013; Brace et al., 2016; Davis, 2009; Schmitz, 2010). Additionally, farmers’ markets located in rural, high-poverty areas (census tracts) were less likely to accept benefits from food assistance programs in comparison to urban, high-poverty areas (census tracts) (Mccracken et al., 2012; Waity, 2016). Furthermore, individuals who lived in close proximity to a farmers’ market were more likely to purchase foods from a farmers’ markets and had a relatively lower income (Boos, 2012). Lastly, research found that farmers’ markets tended to be located in areas of high
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Back to Basics: Is Civic Agriculture the Solution to Food Deserts in Texas?

Back to Basics: Is Civic Agriculture the Solution to Food Deserts in Texas?

Fair access to fresh fruits and vegetable is an important aspect of a healthy civil society. This study investigates the potential of farmers markets to transform food deserts of Texas into oases. Data for age, sex, race, income, grocery store access, and farmers markets in Texas were obtained from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service Food Environment Atlas and the US Census Bureau, in order to investigate the association between civic agriculture in the form of farmers markets and food insecurity in Texas. Data were statistically analyzed and spatially in- vestigated. Spatial analysis of the distance to nearest farmers market suggests a strong inverse correlation between the distribution of civic agriculture activities and food deserts. These results encourage non-farmers transition to farming careers and help local farmers in Texas improve their competitiveness, preserve their farming traditions, and contribute to their societal and eco- nomic development.
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Mapping of Grocery Stores in Slovak Countryside in Context of Food Deserts

Mapping of Grocery Stores in Slovak Countryside in Context of Food Deserts

Identifi cation of food deserts in an urban or rural areas can be considered a suitable tool for planners and managers of government and retail companies. The fi ndings also may be used to deal with transport situation in the region in terms of wider service functions of a regional center. Furthermore it may be used to deal with decision-making processes of mayors and competent leadership in local government and so on. The issue of food deserts may also evaluate in the social and economic context (household income, car ownership, fi nances spent on a trip to shopping in the supermarket, etc.) (cf. Macintyre, 2007). This collaboration of experts from various disciplines leads to the identifi cation and mapping of food deserts more realistic with a wider importance to application. Formation of food deserts is also related with outshopping which in this sense is not typically associated only with food, but mostly with the shopping conventional food products. Outshopping can be defi ned as shopping goods to consumers outside their local shopping areas (Jarratt 2003, p. 287). Outshopping has several eff ects (Paddison and Calderwood, 2007). One of the most important is the multiplication eff ect. Apart from the service functions and interdependence of individual retail stores it is also about the eff ect on the employment in the region and the interdependence of the economy as a whole. Increasing outshopping purchases lead to the reduction of local shopping and subsequent reduction of local shops, which in turn contributes to more frequent shopping outside the rural areas.
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Food Deserts:  Low Income Communities and their Lack of Adequate Nutrition

Food Deserts: Low Income Communities and their Lack of Adequate Nutrition

Poorer populations are often the ones most affected by food deserts, due to their lack of transportation to attain healthy food choices; they might have to settle with a fast food that is usually much closer to their home. Many low income community members may have to take public transit to get around, many may have multiple children that they cannot leave unattended while they travel to the grocery store, and once they get their they may not have enough money to actual purchase the often higher priced health food options (Associated Press, 2004). There is direct correlation between lack of food options and low-income levels, which may lead health problems. Due to their lack of nutritional food a person can develop health issues, such as diabetes, which will then cause that person to pay for medication to manage their diabetes. This extra expense from the medication will then in turn make that person have less money to spend on healthy food choices, which could make them healthier. The entire cycle just continues, and often will put their children in the same cycle as they grow up (Kenner, 2008).
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The Public Market System of New Orleans:  Food Deserts, Food Security, and Food Politics

The Public Market System of New Orleans: Food Deserts, Food Security, and Food Politics

Tracing the evolution, destruction and revitalization of public markets in New Orleans, and placing the local patterns in a larger political and economic context, the Crescent City Farmers Market, along with New Orleans food deserts, and issues of food security, food politics, and food culture, can be better understood. Food availability in New Orleans, and in many urban centers in the United States has been a growing problem since the 1940s. In New Orleans, prior to 1946, food was readily available either at a public market or in the mobile produce carts that traveled through each neighborhood. Eventually, in the post WWII climate, the public markets were replaced by larger, privately owned grocery stores, some of which remain—Dorignac’s and Langenstein’s. Many of the grocery stores however, followed the flight from the urban center to the suburbs, leaving entire neighborhoods like the Ninth Ward, Holly Grove, and Central City without a grocery store. Publicly owned and operated food markets shifted into the hands of private ownership. Free market economics and competition within the capitalist system became the model. Grocery stores located near higher income households with greater buying power and transportation.
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Assessing the Methods in Identifying Rural Food Deserts: A Quantitative Systematic Review

Assessing the Methods in Identifying Rural Food Deserts: A Quantitative Systematic Review

Food plays a vital role in providing essential nutrients and calories to promote physical and mental health throughout the life-cycle (Hans, 2014; Siefert et al., 2004). Several studies have indicated that community nutrition environments (especially when measured in terms of the availability of outlets selling healthy food) play a crucial role in providing healthy foods to individuals (Glanz et al., 2005; Khan et al., 2012; Story et al., 2008; Thornton et al., 2010). However, due to the uneven distribution of healthy food outlets (e.g., supermarkets and grocery stores, and famers’ markets) as well as financial barriers, not all people have equitable access to healthy food choices to adhere to a healthy diet (Drewnowski et al., 2010; Hatfield and Gunnell, 2005; Soulis, 2012). Regions where vulnerable populations have access to few healthy food outlets are referred as ‘food desert’ (Cummins and Macintyre, 1999; Wrigley et al., 2002). The food desert term, not only assesses the geographic availability of healthy food stores, but also examines the socio- economic and demographic disparities between neighbourhoods using non-geographic variables such as income, ethnicity and poverty rate (Dai and Wang, 2011). Because the study of food deserts has been approached in different ways across academic disciplines, the definition of food deserts varies across studies. Morrow et al. (2011) stated that “Food deserts are easy to comprehend and yet difficult to explicitly define” (p. 3). Leete et al. (2012) broke down the conceptual definition of food desert into four key elements including geographic unit of analysis, disadvantaged people, availability, and accessibility of healthy and affordable foods. The divergence exacerbates where researchers seek to quantify the food desert elements based on study objectives and available data. For example, Bonanno (2012) stated that “Identifying and measuring food deserts is not easy, as it depends upon what food stores one decides to consider, on how “neighborhoods and communities” are defined
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The Effect of Food Deserts on the Body Mass Index of Elementary School Children

The Effect of Food Deserts on the Body Mass Index of Elementary School Children

Families in low-income neighborhoods sometimes lack access to supermarkets that provide a broad range of healthy foods. We investigate whether these so called “food deserts” play a role in childhood obesity using a statewide panel data set of Arkansas elementary schoolchildren. We use fixed-effects panel data regression models to estimate the average food desert effect. We next compare children who left (entered) food deserts to children who were always (never) in food deserts and homogenize samples for those whose food desert status changed as a result of a change in residence and those whose status changed only as a consequence of the entry or exit of a supermarket. We present evidence that exposure to food deserts is associated with higher z-scores for body mass index. On average, this is in the neighborhood of 0.04 standard deviations. The strongest evidence and largest association is among urban students and especially those that transition into food deserts from non-deserts. Our food desert estimates are similar in magnitude to findings reported in earlier work on diet and lifestyle interventions targeting similarly aged schoolchildren. That said, we are unable to conclude that the estimated food desert effect is causal because many of the transitions into or out of food deserts result from a change in residence, an event that is endogenous to the child’s household. However, there is evidence that food deserts are a risk indicator and that food desert areas may be obesogenic in ways that other low-income neighborhoods are not.
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If You Build It, Will They Come, and What Will They Eat? Investigating Supermarket Development in Food Deserts

If You Build It, Will They Come, and What Will They Eat? Investigating Supermarket Development in Food Deserts

interventions may change these behaviors, and how inequality influences both behavior and environment. These constructs allow us to consider how expectations are formed, where they are well-aligned, and where conflict may emerge. Additionally, by including equity, this framework offers a more complete theoretical system than the “kinds of people” and “kinds of contexts” spectrum, providing a basis for considering supermarkets as community development. In terms of diagnosis of a community problem - the “what’s going on here” to Wolf-Powers’ (2014) theories of action framework - multiple conclusions are possible. Observations of social disorganization and disorder often are manifest in rates of diet-related disease, including obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, that far exceed areas that are better served by supermarkets. The concept of a food desert as an “underserved” area follows a market theory, and identifies communities that have been overlooked by private capital investment (Weissbourd & Berry, 1999; Pawasarat & Quinn, 2001; TRF, 2013; Diao, 2014). Finally, food deserts may be caused by power imbalances, where discriminatory or overly-cautious developers avoid certain neighborhoods, or high concentrations of low-income and/or welfare recipient households are limited in their ability to “vote with their dollar” (D’Rozario & Williams, 2005; Raja, Ma, & Yadav, 2008; Zenk, et al., 2014).
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Identifying food deserts and swamps based on relative healthy food access: a spatio-temporal Bayesian approach

Identifying food deserts and swamps based on relative healthy food access: a spatio-temporal Bayesian approach

(Fig.  4b). In contrast, calculated RHFA constraints food access within the DA or buffering zones. Two DAs with the same calculated RHFA could have varied estimated RHFA if the averages of calculated RHFA’s in their adja- cent areas are different. To exemplify the difference between calculated RHFA and estimated RHFA, we selected two pairs of DAs (highlighted in Fig. 4) with the same calculated RHFA but differing estimated RHFA in 2014: one pair are food deserts (Areas 1 and 2 have cal- culated RHFA = 0 %) and the other pair are food swamps (Areas 3 and 4 have calculated RHFA  = 4.76 %). Area 1 has a higher average of calculated RHFA’s among adjacent areas (3.58  %) compared to Area 2 (2.08  %), leading to Area 1 having a greater estimated RHFA. Similarly, Area 3 has adjacent areas with a higher average of calculated RHFA’s than Area 4, leading to Area 3 having a greater estimated RHFA. Practically, these results suggest that Area 2 is a more serious food desert than Area 1 and that Area 4 is a more serious food swamp than Area 3. When identifying small-areas for food policy interventions, this information helps to continuously categorize food deserts and food swamps, suggesting that Area 2 should be prioritized first because it has the lowest estimated RHFA, followed by Area 1, Area 4, and Area 3 (Table 3).
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Mapping the evolution of 'food deserts' in a Canadian city: Supermarket accessibility in London, Ontario, 1961–2005

Mapping the evolution of 'food deserts' in a Canadian city: Supermarket accessibility in London, Ontario, 1961–2005

A major contribution of this research resulted from the utilization and evaluation of different measures to deter- mine accessibility; the methods outlined here should serve as guidelines for future studies of environmental equity. To further expand the knowledge base on food deserts, access to public transit was assessed to more accu- rately measure how low-income residents can realistically access supermarkets. This consideration added a very important dimension to this study, as previous studies have failed to examine access via public transit. This fail- ing of previous studies is even more significant consider- ing that most researchers have focussed on larger cities, which tend to have more advanced public transit net- works (including subway systems). Our results found that populations in the majority of the urban census tracts had very good access to supermarkets via public transit, but the population in East London still had poorer access by transit, compounding the impacts of the food desert. While the current retailing practice of building supermar- kets only on 'greenfields' at the suburban/rural fringe does not seem to show signs of slowing, this study demon- strates some of the negative consequences of this trend.
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How to identify food deserts in Amazonian cities?

How to identify food deserts in Amazonian cities?

Within the cities studied shopping from a mixture of small shops is much more significant to shopping behaviour than access to large supermarkets. Using data from 304 shops surveyed during March and April 2015 this paper explores the use of GIS techniques to analyse food deserts, in terms of the availability of healthy food products.

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A GIS-based Methodology Toward Refining the Concept of Rural Food Deserts: A Case Study from Rutland County, Vermont

A GIS-based Methodology Toward Refining the Concept of Rural Food Deserts: A Case Study from Rutland County, Vermont

Using the criteria proposed by Morton and Blanchard (2007), we did not identify any food deserts within Rutland County. This is consistent with a statewide analysis conducted by McEntee and Agyeman (2010). However, our analysis differentiates access to food based on a qualitative assessment of access to healthier food options, uses a high-resolution road network, and includes many smaller food providers. Although there are no towns with a mean travel distance greater than 10 miles (16 km), we illustrate the impact of including small food providers when calculating the mean travel distance to providers; when local providers were included, the mean travel distance in Rutland County decreased 18.65 percent, and the maximum travel distance decreased 22.13 percent. We believe this is an important finding of the methodology presented in this paper because it suggests that some towns or communities could be incorrectly labeled food deserts if these smaller providers are not taken into consideration.
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“At-Risk” Food Deserts in Lincoln, Nebraska

“At-Risk” Food Deserts in Lincoln, Nebraska

This research should be considered a resource to inform and impact the ways that cities can plan development to encourage economic growth in the areas that need it the most, and to develop resources for individuals that need them the most. Food is a fundamental need of all humans, and as our economic system requires money in exchange for food, the development of grocery stores and supermarkets in underserved areas can improve them in two ways. First, they can provide healthier food options than non-grocery store food retailers and fast food restaurants, while also being more affordable. Secondly, the development of these food retailers can increase job opportunity in these areas, increasing the flow of money in and out of these areas. This increase in money not only improves the economy in the “at-risk” food deserts themselves, but also for the city as a whole. It is conceivable that food deserts, at least in Lincoln, can be eliminated almost entirely with the development of only three grocery stores or supermarkets, a feasible feat with moderate government economic incentive. It is conceivable that local low cost supermarkets could be persuaded to develop in these areas, as the company has a stake in the local economy by virtue of being based in the area.
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Socio-Demographic and Economic Determinants of Food Deserts

Socio-Demographic and Economic Determinants of Food Deserts

The focus of this study is on Arkansas, a predominantly rural state with a population of 2,915,918 and with a land area of approximately 33,287,812 acres. Farmland accounts for 41.7% of the state’s land, while rural population is almost 40 percent of the total population (USDA Economic Research Service, 2011). Food deserts are not only a problem for urban cities because in rural areas, residents sometimes need to drive longer distances to purchase healthy food. This study conducted analysis in both rural and urban areas in the state. Arkansas has a higher disadvantaged population, for example, people with bachelor degree or higher is only 19.1 percent which is lower than the average 27.9 percent across the country. Per capita income of one year is $21,274 which is also lower than the national average of $27,334. Median
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The case of Montréal's missing food deserts: Evaluation of accessibility to food supermarkets

The case of Montréal's missing food deserts: Evaluation of accessibility to food supermarkets

accessibility over all three dimensions–proximity, diver- sity and variety (Figure 4). On the other hand, the 82 class-H CTs are potentially problematic, with a high level of social deprivation and a low level of accessibility to supermarkets. These CTs, which are potential food deserts, are located in Montréal-Nord (district 8), in Saint- Michel and Parc-Extension (district 19), in the Sud-Ouest (district 16) and in the boroughs of Côte-des-Neiges (dis- trict 3), Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Ville-Marie (dis- tricts 7 and 18) (Figure 3). The problematic nature of these CTs ought, however, to be relativized. On average, the population located in these CTs is 816 metres away from the nearest supermarket, that is, about a 10-minute walk, and the average distance to the three closest differ- ent chain-name supermarkets is 1340 metres. Although it can be difficult for older people or people with a lot of shopping bags to travel these distances, they are still rea- sonable from a typical adult point of view. In fact, they do not differ greatly from the distances observed in the clus- ters considered to have the best accessibility to supermar- kets (for example, type E: 422 metres to the nearest supermarket and 751 metres to the three closest chain supermarkets; and type G: 491 metres and 915 metres
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Obesity among black women in food deserts: An "omnibus" test of differential risk.

Obesity among black women in food deserts: An "omnibus" test of differential risk.

The “omnibus” hypothesis, as forwarded by Ford and Dzewaltowski (2008), asserts that poor-quality food en- vironments differentially affect low- and high-socioeconomic status (SES) populations. Accordingly, we examine, in a large sample of non-Hispanic (NH) black women, whether low access to healthy food corresponds with increased risk of obesity among residents of low- and high-poverty neighborhoods. In addition, we analyze whether any discovered association between low-food access and obesity appears stronger in neighborhoods with a high proportion of black residents. We retrieved body mass index (BMI) data for 97,366 NH black women residing in 6258 neighborhoods from the California Department of Public Health birth files for years 2007-2010. We linked BMI data with census tract-level data on neighborhood food access from the 2010 Food Access Research Atlas and neighborhood poverty and black composition from the 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-year estimates. We applied generalized estimating equation methods that permit analysis of clustered data within neighborhoods. Methods also controlled for individual-level characteristics which might confound the relation between food access and obesity, including health insurance status, age, education, and parity. Results indicate that low-food access does not impact risk of obesity among NH black women residing in low- poverty neighborhoods. However, low-food access varies positively with risk of obesity in high-poverty neigh- borhoods. Moreover, the association between low-food access and obesity appears stronger in high-poverty, high-black composition neighborhoods, relative to high-poverty, low-black composition neighborhoods. Our findings support the omnibus hypothesis and indicate a potential interaction between factors in the local food and social environments on an individual’s risk of obesity.
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Maximize Impact, Minimize Resources: Locating Food Deserts and Increasing SNAP Spending on Fruits and Vegetables

Maximize Impact, Minimize Resources: Locating Food Deserts and Increasing SNAP Spending on Fruits and Vegetables

communities, or in some cases counties or regions (Palmer, Smith, Haering, & McKenzie, 2009). This type of assessment requires an extensive amount of time and often depends on volunteers. After the data have been collected, analyzing the results requires research expertise and can also be rather time-consuming, depending on the amount and type of data collected. Pothukuchi (2004) advises community groups to seek assistance from professional planners to ensure that the information collected is valid and useful for community development and policy decision- makers, which increases the need for financial resources. Salt Lake City, Utah, for example, hired a consulting firm to facilitate a local community food assessment that would be the basis for a long- range plan addressing identified community needs and interests (Carbaugh Associates, Inc., & VODA Landscape + Planning, 2013). They created original research instruments that assessed multiple aspects of Salt Lake City’s food system within a 250-mile (400-kilometer) radius of the city. Initiatives such as these require enormous resources even when implemented on a smaller scale at the community or neighborhood level. Similar projects addressing food access and availability can take a year or more, require substantial personnel support, rely on federal grant funding, and use multiple research methods that necessitate research expertise to analyze (Bleasdale, Crouch & Harlan, 2011; Crouch, Phoenix Revitalization Corporation, & Harlan, 2011; Liese, Weis, Pluto, Smith, & Lawson, 2007; Pothukuchi, 2004; Raja, Ma, and Yadav, 2008).
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