module specification

NU5054 - Techniques in nutritional research (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Techniques in nutritional research
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 160
62 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
60 hours Guided independent study
38 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 20%   Presentation (5 minutes)
Coursework 80%   Project Proposal (1500 words)
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Morning

Module summary

This module focuses on the concepts of techniques used in nutritional science and research. It covers the principles of research methodology including study design, introduction to statistics in the context of nutrition. Ideas are formulated in preparation for the project in the final year. The module supports on-going development of professional skills.
This module will support students as they consider how to seek future employment. This module will also provide students with the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of some personal responsibility and decision making.

Prior learning requirements

NU4005 (Human Nutrition)


Principles of scientific enquiry and evidence-based practice. Introduction to research ethics and law. Definition of population, sample, validity, bias and confounding. Surveys, questionnaire design, qualitative research, interviews, focus groups. Forming research questions and hypotheses.  L.O 1, 2
Conducting literature reviews and demonstrate critical evaluation of the methods used in published studies.
Study designs: ecological, cross-sectional, case-control, cohort, interventions including RCTs, systematic reviews, meta-analyses. Hierarchy of evidence. Experimental study design including randomisation in sampling, assignment to treatments, blinding.
Statistics and interpreting output, normal distribution, parametric, non-parametric tests, level of significance, type I and type II errors, distribution around the mean, confidence intervals, correlations, and introduce the interpretation of multiple regression and meta-analyses.
Dissemination of research.
AfN standards of ethics, conduct and performance. AfN core competency requirements for Associate Nutritionists.  L.O 3
Development of Careers Management Skills. CV and cover letter writing, searching for jobs. Interview skills.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Acquisition of knowledge of the subject matter of this module will be promoted through lecturer-led lectures (24 hours) and tutorial workshops (14 hours); web based learning (14 hours) and through the guided use of student-centred learning resources (85 hours). Practical classes and small group work (3 hours) will be used to consolidate the students learning with guidance for directed activities (10 hours).

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. 1. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of study design and its practical application in nutritional research.
2. 2. Construct project proposal with an appraisal of the background literature, including study design, confounding, dietary assessment tools and demonstrate an understanding of statistical analysis.
3. 3. Demonstrate skills to support the enhancement of employability and make informed decisions about their choices of further study and identify specific skills requiring further development.

Assessment strategy

This module will be formatively and summatively assessed by:
1. Oral presentation (20%) (5 minutes) of the project proposal with formative feedback.
Project proposal (80%) (1500 words) of the students level 6 dissertation, which will include a reflective account about how learning on the module has improved students employability.


Core Text:
Lovegrove J, Hodson L, Sharma S and Lanham-New S. 2015. Nutrition Research Methodologies. London Wiley-Blackwell.

Other Texts:
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.

British Journal of Nutrition
Public Health Nutrition
British Medical Journal

Electronic Databases:
Science Direct

Social Media Sources:
Twitter @DFNLondonMetUni
Nutrition Society