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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FOOD2215 Principles of Research: Diet in Populations

10 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Dr Charlotte Evans

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Students will be introduced to key concepts and methodology in relation to studying populations. Students will also be introduced to research funding mechanisms, and general principles relating to the writing of literature reviews, research proposals, including planning and costing of research, and critical appraisal of existing research. Ethical considerations relating to research will also be discussed.


The module aims to:
1) develop an understanding of concepts, information and research methods for studying nutrition in populations;
2) to develop students ability to critically evaluate research literature;
3) develop understanding of the provisional nature of information and allow for competing and alternative explanations;
4) develop understanding of the scientific method of enquiry in nutrition research in populations and apply its principles to formulate a hypothesis;
5) develop awareness of the limitations of scientific research & particular problems associated with measuring diet;
6) develop awareness of the ethical considerations that have to be taken into account during study design;
7) provide examples of top-class research in the field of nutrition and health.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of the module, students should be able to:
1) critically evaluate current research findings in public health nutrition using information from academic presentations and primary literature;
2) understand the limitations of scientific research in population based nutrition;
3) gather information from primary and secondary research using a range of dietary assessment methods
4) review the available research evidence and make appropriate practice-related conclusions.

Skills outcomes
- Awareness of the evidence hierarchy in population research and the strengths and limitations of different epidemiological study designs;
- evaluation of research findings linking diet and health;
- critically appraising and summarising the literature;
- research planning;
- dietary assessment methods, strengths and weaknesses.
- statistical testing in epidemiology.


Students will be introduced to key concepts and methodology in relation to studying populations including detailed consideration of different study types. Students will also be introduced to general principles relating to critical appraisal skills undertaking critical appraisal of existing research. Statistical concepts used in epidemiology and health research will be explained, including stistical testing .

Particular topics to be covered will include:
Introduction to principles of research in population groups in relation to measurement of diet.
Methods used to measure food consumption and nutrient intake in population studies.
Food frequency questionnaire design.
Sources of nutritional data.
Food composition tables.
Basic concepts in statistics and statistical testing.
Critical appraisal skills.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Computer Class22.004.00
Directed Study21.002.00
Private study hours78.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Directed reading for Seminars/lectures: 20 hours
Independent learning and preparation of assignments: 58 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students are expected to contribute to in-class discussions. These do not form part of the summative assessment and are therefore formative. Feedback is provided to students verbally in the course of the session.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayCritique of research paper (1500 words)50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment1 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:32:04


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