HNH-24306 Nutrition Research Methodologies

Code last year: (HNE-24306)


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
E-learning material0
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. NM de Roos
Lecturer(s)ir. PJM Hulshof
dr. JHM de Vries
CWM Perenboom
dr. MR Mensink
dr. ir. GJEJ Hooiveld
dr. ir. NM de Roos
Examiner(s)dr. ir. NM de Roos

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Basic knowledge of Nutrition and Applied Nutrition as well as basic knowledge of Statistics


Note: This course can not be combined in an individual programme with HNH-25806 and/or HNH-26306 Research Methodology for Nutrition and Health 1+2 and/or HNH-31903 Randomised Controlled Trails: design and analysis (DL).

The aim of this course is to bring students up to date with current methods in nutrition science. The focus of the course is on methods applied in nutrition intervention studies, which include challenge tests, biomarker and tracer studies, food supplement studies and controlled diet studies. Most of these studies involve the measurement of food intake, anthropometry, bodycomposition, and biomarkers of intake or health. All these topics will be discussed in a series of lectures, assignments, and discussion classes. All lectures are given by specialists in their field, which provides students with the opportunity to contact many researchers working at the Division of Human Nutrition and Health. A tour of our human research facilities is part of the course. If possible, a visit to the study site of an ongoing trial will be scheduled. 

Topics that will be covered are: study designs, interventions with nutrients versus foods or complete diets; methods for food consumption measurement, biochemical parameters for intake or status, nutrigenomics, energy expenditure, physical activity, and body composition. Also quality aspects such as precision and validity of measurements, blinding, dosing, placebos, and compliance measurements will be addressed. After this course students have a basic foundation in these aspects for their master programme.  

Note: this course has significant overlap with HNH-25806 Research Methodology for Nutrition and Health I and HNH-26306 Research Methodology for Nutrition and Health II  and can not be taken by students that have already completed these courses.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand important considerations during design and execution of a nutrition intervention study;
- understand quality aspects of a nutrition intervention study;
- choose appropriate methods to measure body composition, physical activity, dietary intake or nutrient status in a given situation;
- apply basic skills in laboratory practice relevant to this field;
- understand the basic concepts of nutrigenomics;
- understand ethical issues with regard to the choice of subjects, methods and study design;
- critically comment on methodological choices in published scientific literature.


Plenary lectures given by experts in their field are the basis of this course. Lectures are followed by assignments that can be completed using information from the lectures, scientific papers, knowledge clips, and the study handbook. Assignments will be discussed in class, so students will have the opportunity to get feedback in person. 

Besides lectures, students follow an e-module on study design and sources of variation. The e-module is done by self-study and feedback is provided within the e-module. 

Some practical work is included to illustrate sources of errors and validity: students will analyse a biomarker in a self-collected urine sample. For the instructions and report they will work with 'lab-buddy'. Students who have not had practical training in basic lab skills and antropometry will practice these skills in a skills lab. 

Attending the lectures, discussion classes, and practicals is mandatory. 


To complete the course, students need to hand in assignments (not graded) and complete a multiple choice digital exam. The individual exam needs to be passed with a score of at least 5.5. 


Nutrition Research Methodologies, Editor(s): Julie A Lovegrove ea. First published:7 August 2015
Print ISBN:9781118554678, Online ISBN:9781119180425  Available online through the WUR-library

Restricted Optional for: MNHNutrition and HealthMScF: Food Digestion and Health1MO
MNHNutrition and HealthMScA: Nutritional and Public Health Epidemiology1MO
MNHNutrition and HealthMScB: Nutritional Physiology and Health Status1MO
MNHNutrition and HealthMScC: Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology1MO