module specification

NF7P16 - Human Nutrition Dissertation (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18, but may be subject to modification
Module title Human Nutrition Dissertation
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 60
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 600
590 hours Guided independent study
10 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 10%   Project proposal (750 words) (Local Submission)
Coursework 20%   Supervisors mark for process
Dissertation 50%   Dissertation (8000 words) *FC*
Oral Examination 20%   Viva (20 minutes)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North - Not applicable
Spring semester North - Not applicable
Summer studies North - Not applicable

Module summary

This module is designed for students to undertake a substantial piece of research in the nutrition subject field. The research project is intended to build upon the taught modules of the award and is underpinned by the (NF7015) Advanced Nutrition Research Techniques module. The dissertation is designed to demonstrate synthesis of knowledge and skills developed throughout the award. As the largest piece of assessed work undertaken on the award, the dissertation will carry great significance with the assessment board as it will be seen as the clearest expression of the students’ ability at postgraduate level.

Prior learning requirements

NFP015N (not applicable to students taking this module for MSc Sports Nutrition)

Module aims

The aims of this module are to allow the student to undertake a detailed piece of original research in one area within the nutrition subject area and through this to develop a thorough analysis and synthesis of theory, policy and practice in relation to either public health nutrition or sports nutrition. The research will require either the empirical collection of data or an original secondary analysis of existing data. To build upon experience at undergraduate level and understanding of the research methodologies relevant to human nutrition and to demonstrate application of knowledge and skills developed through the Advanced Nutrition Research Techniques module. This module also aims to provide an opportunity for critical reflection of the research topic and self-reflection of learning, studying and research skills and knowledge.


Competence to undertake independent research on a contemporary nutrition issue will be developed as follows:
Theoretical research/literature review:
Advanced information searching, interpretation and abstraction skills will be applied in the production of a theoretical framework.
Ethical approval application
Experimental skills will be applied in the design and execution of a laboratory - or field-based study. Analytical and evaluative skills will be applied to data appraisal and contextualisation.
Statistical analysis
Communication of results:
Written presentation skills will be applied in the production of the project report. Oral presentation skills will be applied in the viva voce

Learning and teaching

This module will require the student to self-direct and manage their own independent learning experience. The area of research will be matched, as far as is possible with the research interest, expertise and existing research projects of the supervisor. Research topics will be identified during the earlier part of the course through formal discussions in tutorials between the students, the module convenor and a supervisor who has suitable research interests. The supervisor may be a member of academic teaching or research staff within the University, or from outside in appropriate organisations where the supervisor is of sufficient academic standing. Topics will be chosen that give the opportunity for high-level research that advances the boundaries of current knowledge but gives the student a realistic opportunity of completion. A total of 590 hours self-directed study would be typical for this module.
Upon arrangement by the student, the project supervisor will initially assist in the following processes:
1. clarifying the terms of the research project
2. establishing a timetable for the research and dates for subsequent student/supervisor meetings
3. directed background reading
4. study design, methodology, ethical approval and statistical analysis
Individual supervisory support will form a key part of the teaching method, but ultimately, most of the learning will be student-centred. Comments of the draft of the dissertation can be expected.
PDP: Students complete a ‘personal statement’, the style of which would be appropriate to a job application and address questions such as - Where do you see yourself in 5-years’ time? What are your goals? What skills do you have to expand to meet these?

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  1. Plan and execute a piece of original research relevant to the area of public health nutrition or sports nutrition depending on the MSc route.
  2. Demonstrate innovation and originality of thought with respect to basic and applied research.
  3. Select, execute and interpret appropriate statistical tests at an advanced level of capability using statistical software at an advanced level of competency.
  4. Demonstrate an ability for self-managed time in the area of research.
  5. Critically interpret and place their own research within the wider context of nutrition research.
  6. Write a detailed dissertation in a rigorous scientific manner with correct use of English and defend it.
  7. Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the role of research in the academic and professional development of the discipline, the philosophy of research and the function of learned societies and professional bodies.

Assessment strategy

1. Extensive literature review with evidence of an advanced critical evaluation of earlier related research (LO 5).
2. Clarity of hypothesis formulation and outline of research proposal (LO 1).
3. Design or adoption of relevant research methodology to the problem to be addressed, including its critical evaluation (LO 1, LO 2).
4. Clear management of practical laboratory work or fieldwork (LO 4).
5. Rigorous demonstration of research findings together with a comprehensive statistical analysis and interpretation (LO 2, LO 3).
6. Appropriate discussion of results and relevant and accurate conclusions (LO 2, LO 5).
7. Evidence of policy and/or practical implications of findings and the context of the research in general (LO 7).
8. Correct use of English, clarity of presentation and appropriate formatting of document (LO 6).


Berry B., 2004.The Research Project: how to write it 4th Ed. London: Routledge.
Bland M., 2015.An Introduction to Medical Statistics.4thEd. Oxford: OUP.
Cargill M. and O'Connor P.,2013. Writing scientific research articles: strategy and steps. 2nd Ed. London: Wiley-Blackwell.
Creswell J., 2013.Research Design.4th Ed.London: Sage.
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. (core)
Walliman N., 2005.Your Research Project: designing and planning your work. 3rd Ed. London: SAGE.