module specification

NF7053 - Scientific Research Methodology (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Scientific Research Methodology
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 200
42 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
158 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Individual Presentation (10min)
Coursework 80%   Portfolio
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

The module is designed to provide students with an understanding of the graduate skills required for the planning, organisation and practice of food science research, and enhance students’ employability skills for a career in food or related subject area. The module will also cover basic statistics, data analysis, literature evaluation, and consider the impact of scientific research on a variety of issues including ethics, health & safety, and data protection.

1. To review basic statistical tests commonly applied to quantitative data sets in food science.
2. Develop and enhance graduate-level research skills in food science, including research design & hypotheses testing, and presentation skills.
3. To provide students with the skills needed to analyse and evaluate published scientific research (relevant to a current or novel scientific topic) using appropriate databases and search techniques.
4. To consider the impact of scientific research on a variety of issues including ethics, health & safety, and data protection.


Importance, principles and practice of information gathering LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4
Referencing, plagiarism and tools to help LO1
Principles of scientific writing LO1, LO2, LO3
Critical Appraisal of research LO1, LO2, LO3
Communicating scientific ideas & research literature LO1, LO2
Writing an abstract LO1, LO2
Basic applied statistics, data handling and use of statistical package LO2, LO3
Professional codes of practice and ethics; data protection; health and safety LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of the various aspects of research planning and execution through a series of lectures (~20 hours), tutorials/seminars/IT-based workshops (~22 hours). Throughout the module students will be guided towards the use of IT-based approaches to literature searching, data analysis, and the presentation of results, and will be expected to exploit these fully and effectively in their work. A proportion of the module will be devoted to tutorial support for the assessment, together with self-directed study time (158 hours).

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 completion of the module, students should be able to:

LO1. Analyse and critically evaluate published research articles, locate literature relevant to a scientific topic, using appropriate databases and search techniques.

LO2. Develop a deep and comprehensive understanding of the principles of research design, hypothesis testing, and sampling.

LO3. Demonstrate a good understanding of appropriate statistical tests relevant to food science and related subject area.

LO4. Appreciate the implications and importance for research on a variety of incidental topics including ethics, health & safety, and data protection.

Assessment strategy

This module will be formatively and summatively assessed. Assessment will be via an oral presentation (10 min) relevant to a current or novel scientific topic (Learning Outcome 1); developing a Portfolio gathering evidence on their chosen topic, which will include students self-evaluating and self-reflecting their own training and research needs (Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,4). Within the Portfolio, students will also be expected to demonstrate the appropriate statistical test(s) relevant to their question(s), and provide an in-depth rationale and reasoning behind their decision (Learning Outcome 1).

Formative feedback will be given for the presentation and portfolio by pre-arranged student-tutor meetings. This will help them improve their skills in critical reviewing and writing. Summative feedback will take place shortly after submission and will give an opportunity to give feedback to the students, and also a summary of the common points provided via weblearn. Feedback on the presentation will be given to individual students in the presentation session.


Bailey, N.T.J. (1995) Statistical Methods in Biology. 3rd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bower, J.A. (2013) Statistical methods for food science: introductory procedures for the food practitioner. 2nd edn. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. (CORE)
Peck, R., Olson, C., Devore, J.L. (2016) Introduction to statistics and data analysis, 5th edn.  Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Freund, J.E. & Simon, G.A. (2007) Modern Elementary Statistics. 12th edn. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Holmes, D., Moody, P., Dine, D., and Trueman, L. (2017) Research methods for the Biosciences. 3rd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (CORE)
Nielsen, S.S. (ed.) (2010) Food analysis. 4th edn. London: Springer.
Pomeranz, Y. & Meloan, C.E. (2000) Food analysis: theory and practice. 3rd edn. Gaithersburg, Md.: Aspen.
Ruxton, G.D. & Colegrave, N. (2016) Experimental Design for the Life Sciences. 4th edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Walliman, N. (2017) Research methods: the basics. 2nd edn. London: Routledge. (CORE)