SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 60.00
ECTS Credit Points 30.00
Module Code MMB423298
Module Leader n/a
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Human Nutrition and Dietetics
  • A (September start)-B (January start)-C (May start)
  • B (January start)-C (May start)
  • S-B (January start)-C (May start)-A (September start)
  • A (September start)-B (January start)
  • B (January start)-C (May start)-A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

A post graduate diploma in Dietetics with HCPC approval

Summary of Content

Students who have successfully completed their Pg in Dietetics have the option to register to enhance their qualification to a Masters level. This is done by a research project representing 60 credit points. The work aims to further develop independent learning through the application of theoretical principles studied during the PG Diploma programme to a specific research question. It also draws on the clinical placement experience and many students undertake this while in their first post. In the writing of the project a high level of evaluative and critical appraisal skills are expected of the student, so that the quality of write up and depth of discussion is demonstrably at a Master's level.


The student is allocated an academic member of staff as a supervisor. There may also be collaboration with the NHS where a Senior Dietitian provides supervision in the clinical setting. Due to increasingly restrictive ethical constraints on clinical research, there is an ethical process to go complete that allows students to engage in projects that involve direct NHS patient contact. We have had many successful projects which involve collaboration between the NHS setting and the University. However the ethical process can take 6 months +. Audit projects may also be carried out. Other projects may involve analysis of databases or may be based within the University. Students are given the opportunity to attend sessions which can support their project, these run in May and include: -360b7 Research ethics: ethical issues of researchers, risks assessment, procedures for applying for ethical permission -360b7 Designing a protocol for research, the elements to include, valid sampling, bias, examples of good practice b7 Working with diet and nutrition data: validity, sources, data collection b7 Health Research: Qualitative and Quantitative methods b7 Dietary assessment methodologies b7 Preparing your thesis: Literature review, planning sections, Gant charts b7 Statistics using SPSS: Introduction to SPSS, basics, use of SPSS for descriptive and simple statistical analysis: Chi squared tests, T-tests and ANOVA. Inferential statistics will also be studied. The student will prepare a detailed protocol to discuss with their tutor before commencing the project. Prior to the start of the project the student will obtain ethical permission where necessary. They will meet and discuss progress with supervisors at regular intervals, and will be guided to resolve problems whenever they occur. The student will present draft reports to his/her supervisor(s) who will indicate modifications required to conform to accepted scientific and presentational standards at Masters level.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Critically review scientific publications relevant to the topic under investigation and plan, conduct, analyse and report on an aspect of nutrition2. Develop skills in recording, collating, analysing and interpretation of diet, nutrition and health related data.3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of diet and nutrition data based on the dietary assessment methodology used4. Implement a project of investigation involving data collection or secondary analysis of a data. 5. Understand and implement ethical procedures for health research6. Prepare a thesis in an approved format commensurate with Masters level study, which critically evaluates the theoretical and empirical findings of the study and relates it to published work.7. Give an oral presentation of the main elements and findings of the project 8. Further develop their skills base for nutrition research using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and statistical programmes.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The project is an independent piece of research conducted by the student under the supervision of a University member of staff and staff at clinical establishments, where appropriate. The students are in communication with their supervisor on a regular basis to receive tuition through to completion of the project.

Indicative Reading

Bowers, DA. (2008). Medical statistics from scratch: an introduction for health care professionals. 2 nd Edn. Chichester, John Wiley. Crombie (2008) The Pocket Guide to Critical Appraisal 2 nd Edn. Blackwell, London Gandy, J. (2013). Manual of Dietetic Practice. Blackwell Green J and Thorogood N (2004 ) Qualitative methods of Health Research ,Thousand Oaks, Sage publications London Hickson M (2008) Research handbook for health care professionals. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester. Kaura (2013). Evidence-based medicine: reading and writing medical papers. Polgar, S and Thomas, SA. (2013). Introduction to Research in the Health Sciences. 6 th edition. Churchill Livingstone. Porter, S (2008). First steps in research a pocketbook for healthcare students. Churchill Livingstone.

Transferrable Skills

Data Handling Skills, data collections, study design, project managing, verbal communication skills Presentation skills Literature searching Literature review and critical appraisal Statistical and analytical skills IT skills, time management. Report writing

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 10.00
Seminars (FT) 30.00
Tutorials (FT) 10.00
Practicals (FT) 30.00
Independent Learning (FT) 490.00
Assessment (FT) 30.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 100.00 50% Protocol, Oral Presentation and presentation of thesis