module specification

NF7015 - Advanced Nutrition Research Techniques (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23, but may be subject to modification
Module title Advanced Nutrition Research Techniques
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 200
162 hours Guided independent study
38 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 60%   Scientific report - 2000 words
Unseen Examination 40%   Unseen Examination (1.5Hours) *FC*
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module develops the student skills in conducting research in nutrition with experience in critical evaluation of literature, study design, data collection, data analysis, and laboratory techniques

Module aims

The content of this module will focus upon the key tools available for research relevant to human nutrition giving the students an appreciation of the similarities and differences in the approaches employed in human nutrition research. It will consolidate prior broad knowledge of statistical techniques to develop a deeper understanding of statistics and allow the student to enhance their critical and reflective approaches to nutrition research. This will be addressed in a wider context of ethics and professionalism.


 Fundamentals of variability in biological, biochemical and human sciences - concepts of validity, precision, accuracy, reproducibility, examples and practical application in human nutrition research.

Study design with consideration of the following: bias, confounding, chance, sampling, sample size, power, error, with particular reference to dietary assessment, anthropometry, clinical and physiological measurement and biochemical assay; interpretation of results

Limitations of nutritional research; ethical considerations, cost, compliance, subject cooperation; development of good research practice. Publication of research and ownership of data.

AfN Code of Ethics and Statement of Professional Conduct. UK practice of nutrition – legal issues, legislation, insurance and indemnity. Research governance framework.

Learning and teaching

The module will consist of a programme of a series of keynote lecturer-led lectures and seminars/workshops in the area of research design, evaluation of research studies and interpretation and statistics and practical laboratory-based and computing-related (SPSS) activities. 
PDP:  on completion of this module students will evaluate how the module allowed them to develop skills in information technology, organisation and planning, communication, time management; they will also be asked to reflect on their ability to research literature effectively.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate approaches to research in human nutrition at the fundamental science, whole body/clinical and population levels and published research in this area
  2. Show a critical understanding of the problems encountered when designing and carrying out nutrition research
  3. Demonstrate advanced skills in the use of statistical software in the handling of large data sets of nutritional/anthropometric values and the critical interpretation of statistical output data
  4. Complete in an effective academic style an accurate and up to date reflective log of research activities and results.
  5. Understand professional conduct, standards of ethics, conducts and performance

Assessment strategy

Assessment will be via a time-constrained unseen examination (1.5 hours), including a compulsory SPSS data interpretation exercise (Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3) and a group practical exercise written up individually in the form of a scientific report (approx 2000 words)(Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).


Association of Nutrition, Standards Ethics Conduct Performance (2013) (accessed 21.1.16) [Core]
Bland M., (2015). An Introduction to Medical Statistics. 4th Ed. Oxford: OUP.
Cargill M. and O'Connor P (2013). Writing Scientific Research Articles: Strategy and Steps. 2nd Ed. London: Wiley-Blackwell.
Groff J, Smith J & Gropper S, (2009) Advanced Nutrition and Metabolism. 5th Edn. Wadsworth / Thomson Learning.
Lovegrove J, Hodson L, Sharma S and Lanham-New S. (2015). Nutrition Research Methodologies. London Wiley-Blackwell. [Core]
Margetts, B. ed., (1997). Design Concepts in Nutritional Epidemiology. 2nd Ed. Oxford: OUP.
Willett, W. (1998). Nutritional Epidemiology, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford.