Skip to main content


NUT3102 : Research Project

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Gerry O'Brien
  • Lecturer: Dr Daniel Henderson
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 20.0


- To provide experience of primary research on a current topic in food & human nutrition
- To give the opportunity to develop research skills
- To encourage students to develop strategies for problem solving
- To assist students to develop skills in the critical analysis of scientific evidence
- To assist students to develop skills in the presentation of results and conclusions in written format [poster, structured abstract and extended project report], and orally [presentation of poster]

Outline Of Syllabus

This is the largest component of the final year's work worth 40 credits. Each student will undertake a novel piece of supervised research and prepare a project report, a structured abstract [such as would be suitable for submission to a Learned Society], and a poster presentation summarising the results of the project. The following comments on the methods of assessment are intended to guide students in what is expected from them in this module. The student’s application and work during the project will be assessed by the supervisor (if there is joint supervision, the first named supervisor will take this responsibility) [20% of the module mark]. The project report [60% of the module mark] and conference abstract [10% of the module mark] will be assessed by the module leaders and other academic staff.

(a) Assessment
Performance in the following areas will be examined.
NB Not all of these areas will necessarily be relevant to all projects.

1. Literature searching and use of existing knowledge base
2. Ability to design experiments
3. Laboratory/ experimental skills
4. Ability to cope with experimental problems
5. Care in collection and recording of data
6. Ability to analyse data and interpret results
7. Preparation of the project report including:

- Relevance and depth of the Introduction
- Statement of hypothesis and experimental design
- Description of methodology
- Presentation and interpretation of results
- Critical discussion of results
- Overall presentation of project report

The independent markers will base their assessment on the project report as presented (Area 7) whilst the supervisor will take note of performance in all areas.

The supervisor will give feedback both verbally and written comments onto a printed version of the draft. Supervisors will not make corrections directly onto an electronic version of the document. For the introduction, experimental and results sections the feedback will relate to content, structure and organisation, presentation and use of English. For the discussion, which should demonstrate the student’s own interpretations of their own work, comment from supervisors will be limited to structure and organisation, presentation and use of English. It is the student’s responsibility to modify the draft based on the feedback from their supervisor.

About a week before final submission, on a date agreed with their supervisor, the student should submit, electronically, the second, and final, draft of all sections of their project report so that their supervisor can consider it in its entirety. Feedback from supervisors on the second draft will be limited to comments on structure, organisation and presentation. Students will then have a final opportunity to revise their project report before submission. [Note: students suffering from relevant disabilities will be permitted to submit more than two drafts of each section to their supervisors but comments on content will only be made with respect to the first draft].

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials31:003:00Pre-recorded guidance sessions on EndNote, Advanced images & docs and Stat analysis. Non-sync online
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion25:0010:00Preparation of conference abstract & Eposter
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion15:005:00Poster presentation session. Synchronous online
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1150:00150:00Writing of project report
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching42:008:00Minitab Stats refresher session; presentation data, prep conference abstract & e-poster. Sync online
Guided Independent StudyProject work1166:00166:00Experimental work (nonlab-based), literature review and methodological development
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision150:0050:00Tutor supervision meetings with student-delivery tbc by student&supervisor, PIP max 2 per week avg
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk42:008:00Academic writing; tutorials on EndNote/Literature search/Advanced images & stats - sync online
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The honours project and project report provide a unique opportunity for assisted private study and research of a topic selected by the student. Students select a topic of choice from a range of projects provided by academic staff. The students complete plans for the practical element of their research project with their supervisor and her/his research team. In this way the student gains experience in project design and management. Where necessary the student may assist in the submission of material for ethical approval before commencing data collection.

The students receive instruction on writing styles, storing reference information in Endnote and formatting thesis in the lectures which accompany the module. This is followed up with a seminar of practical guidance on these topics in the computer cluster. The students develop skills in preparation of two pieces of academic writing – a constrained and structured abstract suitable for submission to a Learned Society (such as the Nutrition Society) and a larger project report. They develop skills in preparation of this work to a high standard. In the second semester progress of the projects is discussed in a seminar encouraging self-reflection of progress and achieving targets for completion of the work. The students also receive guidance on how to prepare posters which builds on similar instructions given during Induction Week.

The supervisor provides active guidance during the practical elements of the research and so the student gains relevant experience in data collection and recording. For the project report the student is required to search relevant literature using a range of resources after initial guidance from the supervisor. For the written project report the student gains experience and training in information retrieval, interpretation, report writing skills and, where relevant, with statistical analysis of data. The preparation of the conference abstract teaches the students how to write in a very structured manner, following precise formatting and word count instructions such as would be necessary if the work were submitted to a Learned Society. We will use the Nutrition Society guidelines for submission of Original Communications as the basis for the conference abstract. The poster presentation develops verbal and visual presentation skills and the ability to discuss the scientific principles underlying the research project.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M10One-page conference abstract following strict formatting guidelines provided
Poster2M10Assessment of poster and presentation of poster by student
Report2M20Supervisor's assessment
Report2M60Project report (5000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment process includes the project supervisor who appraises the student's abilities in areas such as time management, problem solving and practical skills which may not be evident from the project report. The latter forms the basis for assessing the student's ability to undertake research, to test a hypothesis, to analyse and interpret results and to draw conclusions in the light of existing knowledge. The structured abstract assesses the ability of the student to summarise their project in a concise and structured manner suitable for publication. The oral presentation/poster presentation assesses communication skills.

Reading Lists