Module code: MHUM005

Module Overview

The module examines the various different research designs used in nutrition research and how methods of nutritional assessment can be applied in a research setting.  The module also introduces new and emerging molecular and metabolic techniques currently applied in original nutrition research. 

The main purpose of this module is to equip students with the tools needed to confidently undertake their own research, including research design and data analysis.   By the end of this unit all students will produce an original research protocol suitable to undertake as their own research project in MHUM009 (MSc students only), following ethical approval (if applicable). 

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

AHMADI Kourosh (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 100

Lecture Hours: 30

Tutorial Hours: 6

Practical/Performance Hours: 14

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Previous attendance of MHUM002 and MHUM003

Module content


Introduction to Research Methods

Epidemiology and Types of Epidemiological Study

Cross Sectional Studies

Cohort and Case Control Studies

Intervention Studies

Introduction to Study Design

Key Study Design Concepts

Assessment of Dietary Intake

Assessment of Physical Activity

National Diet and Nutrition Surveys (NDNS)

Statistical Analysis Practical: Analysis of Data

Assessment of Body Composition

Use of Stable Isotopes

Omic Technologies

Mortality and Morbidity Statistics

Nutritional Epidemiology

Introduction to Research Methods

Epidemiology and Types of Epidemiological Study

Cross Sectional Studies

Cohort and Case Control Studies


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation ORAL PRESENTATION (GROUP - 15 MINS) 40

Alternative Assessment

Re-assessments will be a reworking of the original coursework using the same data (or if required, provided class data). 

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate an analytical and critical way of thinking in designing a novel protocol to test a new hypothesis based on a set question. Moreover, the assessments will need to student to interact in groups, delegate and be able to communicate scientifically both orally and in written format.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • An oral presentation as part of a group of a novel protocol designed to test a new hypothesis

  • An individually written scientific protocol (3 pages max including references) to test a new hypothesis


Written individual feedback provided within 3 weeks of summative assessment submission.  Group feedback prior to 3 weeks from submission.

Module aims

  • To provide a thorough review of current methods employed in experimental nutrition.
  • To gain a full understanding of key statistical issues including analysis, sampling, study size and statistical power.
  • To provide bases for selection of appropriate experimental methods.
  • To provide an understanding of the term nutritional epidemiology, introduce the important scientific concepts in study design, research protocol development and calibration of methods of investigation.
  • To introduce the important design strategies and interpretation of nutritional epidemiological studies and other relevant data and databases. together with an understanding of key statistical issues including sampling, study size and statistical power.
  • To provide a framework to understanding the important concepts in the design and implementation of intervention projects and the methods required for monitoring and evaluating effectiveness and efficiency.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 A comprehensive appreciation of the advantages and disadvantages of a range of techniques used in nutritional research including metabolomics, proteomics and stable isotope work. KC
002 A critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study or area of professional practice C
003 A conceptual understanding that enables you to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline and to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses. defined, and have a working knowledge of, nutritional epidemiology and demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental scientific concepts of study design CPT
004 An appreciation and understanding of the important design strategies of nutritional epidemiological studies and the correct procedures for interpretation of data. KCP
005 An opportunity to undertake a critical analysis of the design and implementation of intervention projects and statistical analysis of datasets. CP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: Fully engage the students in the basic and advanced concepts of designing and implementing a novel project including: Devising a question, conceptualisation of a new and testable hypothesis, formulation of a rational protocol to test the hypothesis – using an appropriate study design – undertake power calculations and devise a sound risk management strategy.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Traditional lectures, critical discussion groups, group work, tutorials and use of online resources. 

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MHUM005

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Human Nutrition MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.