FBMRS-Postgraduate Research Skills

Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Emma Bennett

Email: e.j.bennett@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

FBMRS: Postgraduate Research Skills


To teach the students non-laboratory based skills that are required to effectively undertake research in Food and Nutritional Sciences at postgraduate level. In addition, the students will get exposure to the current scientific research carried out in the department, where they will have the opportunity to critically engage in scientific discussions. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

• Present the strengths and weaknesses of dietary/nutrition/food science research methods in the form of a presentation.

• Critically evaluate research papers and summarise presentations into press releases, analysing and reporting back on investigations.

• Integrate knowledge and understanding from a variety of sources to produce a literature review.

Additional outcomes:

On completion of this module students should

• Have a comprehensive knowledge of the methodologies used in nutrition and food science research

• Be in a position to critically evaluate available techniques in order to establish which method is best suited to answer particular research questions

• Develop experimental design and hypothesis testing

• Have improved presentation skills

• Have learned about critical evaluation of research outputs

• Have engaged in critical scientific discussions based on attendance at the series of departmental research seminars

• Have had the opportunity to interact with leading researchers

• Have developed skills in note-taking and learning from an advanced seminar format

• Have gained knowledge into postgraduate research to help inform towards career choice

• Demonstrate good academic practice and use of bibliographic sources (citation and referencing of source material and avoid plagiarism)

Outline content:

This module consists of a series of lectures, computer sessions and departmental research seminars, plus online resources will be made available.


Overview of methodologies in human nutrition and food science; biological sample analysis using chromatography/spectrometry techniques; ethics and values of professions; intellectual property issues; experimental design.



Departmental seminars where scientific research, currently on going in our Department, will be presented (both, from research students and invited speakers)

Additional sessions

Presentation skills; Presentation of original paper including critical evaluation and feedback; Writing a press release; plagiarism; how to write a literature review; referencing and literature searching. 

Global context:

Science communication is an essential skill for any researcher and this module explores the many different forms of scientific communication available so that students can justify the research work they may do in the future. Proper execution of the scientific method is also a key skill that drives the rigour on which science is based.  

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

During this module teaching will be in the form of formal interactive lectures, attendance to Departmental seminars, practical PC classes and feedback on all written work and presentations

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5 3
Seminars 5 10
Practicals classes and workshops 9 5
Guided independent study 8 55
Total hours by term 27.00 73.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 75
Oral assessment and presentation 25

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

2 x 200 word press releases (worth 15% each)

1 x 3000 word literature review (worth 45%)

1 presentation (worth 25%)


Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

50% across module 

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment arrangements are in accordance with University policy. Reassessment of the written examination is held during the University administered re-examination period in August. Failed coursework may be re-assessed by an alternative assignment before or during the August re-examination period.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 12 December 2018


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