Radimer/Cornell survey instrument and Food Security

Assignment 1 – Assessment of the Radimer/Cornell Questionnaire

For this assignment, you will be exploring a survey tool that is widely used to assess household food insecurity. The version I have provided is a very basic one. See the questionnaire at the end of these assignment instructions.

Assess yourself or others in your household, or a different household for food insecurity using this basic form of the Radimer/Cornell questionnaire (see the questionnaire on page 3 of this document). Please note that if you are not the major food manager in your household; then, you should get the person who plays that role to answer the questionnaire first. Likewise, if you are assessing a household other than your own, the person or persons in charge of food should answer the questionnaire. Assess the effectiveness of the questionnaire in simply identifying if the household is food insecure or not. Decide whether you would make any adjustments to the questionnaire. Explain any adjustments you might make. You may decide no adjustments are necessary. In this case explain why the questionnaire is effective as it is.

Some points to consider about the questionnaire:

  • Are the questions clear and understandable for a respondent?
  • Do the questions cover sufficient dimensions of the household food environment that will enable one to accurately identify a food-insecure household?
  • Are there any dimensions of food insecurity that are missing from the questionnaire that should be included to more accurately assess food insecurity status? If so, what would you add and explain why?
  • Are there any questions you feel are not needed?

An important point to remember – the questionnaire is only meant to assess prevalence of food insecurity. Keep this in mind in your analysis and assess the questionnaire accordingly.

Please note I am also not implying by the bullet list above that anything needs changing in the questionnaire – it is up to you to decide whether or not it requires alteration.

Also note; the questionnaire is always coupled with a demographic survey tool, which assesses household composition and the socioeconomic status of the household. So, you should not critique the questionnaire for not assessing household composition and economic status.

Length of paper: 1000-1200 words maximum, excluding any diagrams or reference lists (weighting 15% of total grade). You do not have to include the questionnaire and your answers or that of others in the paper except where you want to emphasize a point. Only refer to specific answers where appropriate to support a point you are making about the questionnaire. Always give the “number of the question” you are discussing.


Format for the paper should be as follows:

  • An appropriate title
  • Introduction (Useful to mention the origin of the questionnaire and why it was created)
  • Methodology for testing the questionnaire (Who you tested it on and how)
  • Review and analysis of the Cornell-Radimer questionnaire. Mention some of the results from testing the questionnaire (e.g., what did the interviewee think of the questionnaire? Was the household food insecure or not? Compare what you thought of the questionnaire based on your testing with one or two other studies where they tested it.
  • Summary and conclusions
  • Reference list

Please note when discussing a particular question, give its number. Do not be vague about which question you are referring to.


Tip: For your assessment of the questionnaire; you should at least find one or two papers on the Cornell-Radimer questionnaire to see how it is used in practice so you can compare your perspective on the questionanire with that of others.

Diagrams, Photos, Tables – If you use any of these visual means to support your assessment of the questionnaire, please give each a figure number with a title (above the figure) and a citation (below the figure). You must also refer to the figure in your text to demonstrate its purpose in supporting a particular aspect of your review.

Title, citations, reference lists: Please ensure your assignment has a title. Fully cite all references in the text if you are using information from other sources and provide a correct reference list at the end of your assignment, even if you have only been using one reference. For APA style references and citations go to the Purdue University Online Writing Lab. There is also reference to this on the “Important Files to Download” topic board on the “Discussions” page of D2L.

Rubric for the paper:

  • Content presentation = 15% i.e. paper should have a title, appropriate paragraphing and reference list that presents references in the correct order – footnotes should be used where appropriate if you want to add extra information about a specific issue you are discussing. However, I am not insisting on, or expecting footnotes
  • Quality of discussion about content = 80% i.e. should provide an introduction and a logical and well-organized flow of ideas culminating in an appropriate summary and/or conclusion. You need to demonstrate that you have a grasp of the subject material.
  • Citation and references = 5% – Please make sure that you follow the APA-style guidelines I have provided and/or use the Internet to find out how to cite and reference an information source. You should have consulted at least one or two peer-reviewed sources on the questionnaire for this paper to compare your findings with those of others.



This is copied from Module 3 – section entitled: Identifying those who are not food secure

In the late 1980s, the Radimer/Cornell survey instrument was developed in the USA based on interviews with 32 women and then tested on 189 women and modified accordingly. The survey consisted of 12 items initially that proved reliable in identifying food-insecure households. Identification of food insecurity depended on whether respondents gave affirmative answers to any of the 12 statements. Based on which statements respondents replied to in the affirmative, households could be categorized into those with a) individual (adult) food insecurity without hunger; b) individual (adult) with hunger and c) child hunger; each category showing an increase in severity of food insecurity in the household.

PLEASE NOTE: that this questionnaire is always coupled with a specifically-designed demographic survey tool which assesses household composition, economic status, etc. So, just focus on whether the Radimer/Cornell is effective in assessing household food insecurity, NOT household socioeconomic status.

See the next page for the questionnaire

Radimer/Cornell Questionnaire

This survey is done in personal interview over the phone or face-to-face with the main household food manager or managers.

Please answer “Yes” or “No” to the following questions – if you have no children, ignore questions 9-11.

  1. I worry about whether my food will run out before I get money to buy more.
  2. I worry about whether the food that I can afford to buy for my household will be enough.
  3. The food that I bought just didn’t last and I didn’t have money to get more.
  4. I ran out of the food that I needed to put together a meal and I didn’t have money to get more food.
  5. We eat the same thing for several days in a row because we only have a few different kinds of food on hand and don’t have money to buy more.
  6. I am often hungry, but I don’t eat because I can’t afford enough food.
  7. I eat less than I think I should because I don’t have enough money for food.
  8. I can’t afford to eat properly.
  9. My child(ren) is/are not eating enough because I can’t afford enough food.
  10. I know my child(ren) is/are hungry sometimes but I can’t afford more food.
  11. I cannot feed my child(ren) a balanced meal because I can’t afford that.
  12. Sometimes people lose weight because they don’t have enough to eat. In the past year, did you lose weight because there wasn’t enough food? Yes. No.
  13. In the past year, have you had hunger pangs but couldn’t eat because you couldn’t afford food? Yes, No.


Reminder: This questionnaire is already combined with a demographic survey tool that assesses household composition and socioeconomic status, so do not expect this questionnaire to include this kind of assessment. It is done by a separate questionnaire.


Reference for questionnaire:


Radimer, K. (1990). Understanding hunger and developing indicators to assess it. (Unpublished doctoral thesis). Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. https://www.proquest.com/docview/303853374?parentSessionId=aqeslhtQUkjsJRs7VX3Nlzj1MksYv6I5dofjzozJHDg%3D&pq-origsite=summon&accountid=13631