AP0538 - Research Methods for Food and Nutrition

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What will I learn on this module?

Food science and human nutrition are predominantly practical subjects which require a hands on approach to the development of the essential research skills and methodology required for final year students, in particular the final year ‘capstone’ research project module.

In this module students will learn a lot about how research generally ‘works’ and is conducted and communicated within food science and human nutrition. The lectures and seminars on the module will introduce topics such as the research ‘heirarchy’, scientific communication and the presentation of research, academic integrity as a keystone in research and also different types of, and approaches to research undertaken within food and nutritional science, both quantitative and qualitative; However, the emphasis of the teaching and learning on this module is practical and most formal scheduled teaching is via workshops and practical classes, so that students will learn via hands on experience and develop a high level of competence.

Subjects will include [i] literature based research methods, so that students develop effective literature search strategies, to search, select and retrieve relevant academic information, and cite it appropriately in support of finding and conclusions [ii] quality assurance and critical reading, so that students can assess published information in terms of the likely validity and reliability of content [iii] constraints applying to the design of valid experiments, such as taking account of likely sources of error, appropriate risk and ethical assessment etc. to ensure quality of research and safety of both researcher and research subject(s) [iv] graphical and statistical approaches to the interpretation of scientific data and use of hypothesis-testing statistics to assess the significance of experimental results – use of SPSS statistical software [v] an introduction to qualitative methodology, such as survey design and focus grops/ interview techniques and the analysis of data.

This module will give students the opportunity to explore how research works and is communicated within food science and human nutrition, with an overall aim of developing students who are competent junior researchers.

How will I learn on this module?

Students learning in this module will be supported by lectures, seminars, practical laboratory/workshops, and directed and independent study.
Theories, concepts and principles will be discussed in lead lectures. Lectures will include review of examples, case studies and problems to illustrate thoery and encourage interactivty and in class discussion.

The teaching and learning approach is aimed at development of competence in students, so an important part of learning support is provided via practical laboratory/ workshops that focuss on the development and application of research skills in context. This will enable staff to diagnose and clarify any misconceptions identified from what students can do/find difficult in class, whilst also providing students with the opportunity to clarify their understanding via immediate staff feedback on their questions and queries.

Technology-enhanced learning is also an important aspect of both the teaching and learning on this module. The module electronic learning portal / the module blackboard site is populated with the module guide, syllabus and module schedule, detailed assessment brief, taught content, including lecture slides, practical/ workshop guides and staff contact details. Further, as most students find statistical methodology challenging, staff have developed a range of online formative statistical exercises which provide immediate feedback to students in advance of summative (marked) assessment.

Students are able and expected to engage with online content in advance of classes to maximise their learning opportunity in taught sessions. Additional online resources include a digital reading list to support students directed learning and provide a starting point for their independent study.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

At the start of the module, students will be provided with a module guide which will be reviewed in detail in the module introduction by the module tutor. The approach to formal scheduled teaching is interactive and enhances opportunity for academic staff to support students throughout the module during the programme of scheduled teaching sessions.

Online module resources are also a source of academic support for students. The module electronic learning portal / the module blackboard site is populated with the module guide, syllabus and module schedule, detailed assessment brief, taught content, including lecture slides, and staff contact details. A range of formative statistical exercises which provide immediate feedback to students in advance of summative (marked) assessment and the module reading list are both also provided online. Students are therefore able to access and engage with content, directed and independent learning activity and also the module assessment (both formative and summative) in support of their learning outside formal scheduled teaching activity.

Feedback on summative (marked) assesment will also allow students to understand how performance can be built upon in subsequent assessments within the programme.

Academic staff will also direct students to relevant Departmental, University and external sources of academic support, such as on site and online library resources.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Develop knowledge about how reserach works and how it is conducted and communicated in food science and human nutrition.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1. Develop professional competence in a range of research skills and methodologies.
2. Think creatively to develop a piece of science communication for a designated audience.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
1. Recognise the need for high professional and technical standards in research.

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment will be via coursework assignment which will have 2 components.
Component 1: 40% module
Component 2: 60% module
Component 1: Science communication assignment (1500 words)
Component 2 : IT based statistical test (2h)

Submission and feedback on science communication assignments will be managed electronically.
Submission of IT based statistical test will occur in class. Feedback will be managed electronically.

Students will have the opportunity to for formative feedback and to clarify their understanding of assessment details such as marking criteria, expected standard/ format of work etc. by participating in a formal scheduled practical/workshops.

Formative assessment and feedback on statistical tests will also be provided to students who engage with formative online exercises.

Pre-requisite(s)

NA

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

Food science and human nutrition are predominantly practical subjects which require a hands on approach to the development of the essential research skills and methodology required for final year students, in particular the final year ‘capstone’ research project module. This module will give students the opportunity to explore how research generally ‘works’ and is communicated in their subjects. Competence in a range of skills and methods is developed via practical/ workshops. Students are assessed on their ability to research and communicate via a science communication assignment and an IT based data handling assessment. The overall aim of the module is to develop students who are competent junior researchers- which is a highly attractive transferable skill for employers.

Course info

UCAS Code BD46

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Applied Sciences

Location Ellison Building, Newcastle City Campus

City Newcastle

Start September 2019 or September 2020

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