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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

FOEV5107M Methods and Skills for Sustainable Food Systems

30 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Rebecca St Clair

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Complex challenges and wicked problems such as food sustainability require novel approaches. The second module on the MSc Sustainable Food Systems will focus on the methods, techniques and skills needed to transform our food system in order to achieve sustainable outcomes. This module will evaluate and combine various quantitative and qualitative methods, analytical techniques and skills. In this module students will develop transformative interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches in food sustainability research and practice. This will be delivered via a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops where the students will have the opportunity to apply and practice some of the most commonly used methods, techniques and skills in sustainability research and practice under the guidance of various experts from the participating schools across the university.


The module aims to:
• equip students with knowledge on data sources, research methods and analytical techniques commonly used in sustainability research;
• develop a critical understanding of the epistemological basis of different research approaches and good research practice; and
• equip students with the necessary skills to critically engage with and contribute to debates and practice on developing a sustainable food system.

Learning outcomes
By the end of the module students will be able to (Module Learning Outcomes):
MLO1: Demonstrate critical understanding of theories of knowledge and their relation to research methods commonly used in sustainability research
MLO2: Critically appraise merits and weaknesses of commonly used methods, tools, and approaches in sustainability research
MLO3: Effectively apply methods and techniques from more than one discipline to develop interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to food sustainability practice and research.


Indicative content of this module will include topics such as:
• Qualitative and quantitative research methods and skills needed for change-focused research and practice in food sustainability
• Systems thinking methodologies
• Epistemology, knowledge creation, ethics, good research practice
• Multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary approaches
• Co-design and co-production of knowledge
• High impact research e.g. evidence based decisions making, science to policy, industry-academia partnerships

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent Learning31.003.00
Private study hours256.00
Total Contact hours44.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Reading and critically reviewing relevant material such as academic journals, books, grey literature (policy, technical and business reports, working papers, government documents, white papers etc.)
Group working and peer learning

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report3,000 words70.00
Poster Presentation.30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

If the resit is being taken as a New First Attempt, the resit will consist of an attempt at a new piece of work for each component that was failed, in a format to be announced by the Module Leader. Its original mark will be discarded irrevocably and replaced by the new mark even if it is lower, and a new aggregated mark for the module will be returned. If the resit is being taken as a Capped Second Attempt, the resit for this module will be a single item of assessment, in a format to be announced by the Module Leader, and covering all Module Learning Objectives. Whichever is higher of the original aggregated module mark, and the new mark capped at the Pass mark of 50%, will be returned.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/05/2023 16:29:06


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