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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

FOOD5511M Applied Nutritional Epidemiology

10 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Dr Sarah Jing Guo

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Module replaces

ICON5510MIntroduction to Nutritional Epidemiology

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

Module objectives and knowledge outcomes will be achieved primarily through the use of seminars and hands on practicals. Students interested in this module as an elective should take note of module prerequisite qualifications, which are prior study of a relevant health and/or science module. Please contact the module leader for advice.


The module aims to:

1) develop an understanding of concepts, information and research methods for studying nutrition & health 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 an understanding of the principles of nutritional epidemiology;
5) develop awareness of the limitations of scientific research & particular problems associated with measuring food and nutrient intake;
6) to gain an in-depth understanding of core tools used by nutritional epidemiologists to study nutrition in both clinical and public health contexts;
7) provide examples of top-class research in the field of nutrition and health.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students will 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;
5. Use a range of appropriate quantitative dietary assessment methods to investigate public health nutrition problems.
6. Appropriately present and analyse nutritional data and report results.
7. Appreciate the design of research protocols suitable for a variety of different contexts in nutrition research

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.
- design and analysis of dietary assessment tools
- evaluation of nutritional epidemiological research studies


Students will be introduced to key concepts and methodology in relations to the module's objectives. The seminars will also introduce students to general principles relating to the writing of literature reviews, and critical appraisal of existing research.
Particular topics to be covered will include:

• Introduction to nutritional epidemiology & epidemiological principles
• Methods used to measure food consumption and nutrient intake in population studies
• Food frequency questionnaire design
• Sources of nutritional data
• Food composition tables
• Nutritional biomarkers
• Statistical approaches to comparison of dietary methods and testing differences in continuous and categorical data
• Development of statistical models to analyse research data, including introduction to the statistical concepts of adjusting for confounders using regression models

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

Students are expected to engage in course materials and reading well in advance of contact hours. The course handbook & timetable is organised with clear instructions as to preparatory work to be undertaken prior to each session. Materials are designed and ordered to first introduce major concepts and then to add more advanced or refined topics that can be engaged in seminars and practicals.

In addition, the group work practical has been designed for students to use a new on-line dietary assessment research tool.

78 hours of private study:

preparing for lectures (8h),
preparing for assignment (35h)
Preparing for exam (35h)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback is provided to students verbally in the course of the session. Use of in-class quiz and group work allows for specific formative feedback.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
CritiqueData analysis and critique: Analysis of NDNS data with critical appraisal50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

If a student fails the overall module as a result of failing the MCQ, a resit MCQ will be offered.

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

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

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 01/11/2023


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