NNEK23006U Study Design in Human Nutrition

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Human Nutrition


The course will focus on design of human nutrition studies, nutritional epidemiology, data handling and presentation, and protocol development. Through lectures, quizzes, exercises, R-tutorials and two group reports, the students will get an understanding of key terms, concepts and techniques, as well as skills and competences in 1) data analyses and presentation and 2) study design and protocol development.


Learning Outcome


  • Define epidemiology and causality.
  • Describe the epidemiological measures of frequency and association.
  • Define and explain the concepts bias, confounding, effect modification and chance.
  • Define randomized controlled trials and other study designs and describe their advantages and limitations.
  • Explain the principles of sample size, power and multiplicity.
  • Describe the formal requirements and approvals needed for human studies, data protection, etc.


  • Be able to import and format a data set in R, run significance tests and multiple linear regression.
  • Be able to assess for confounding and test for effect modification.
  • Be able to discuss the complexities of designing a nutrition intervention.
  • Be able to present key statistics in tables.
  • Be able to calculate the sample size needed for a human study.
  • Generate a random sequence based on variable block size.
  • Be able to draft essential parts of a human study protocol based on current regulations and guidelines.



  • Be able to handle and analyse a data set in R and present data in tables and text.
  • Be able to design a nutrition (intervention) study, based on a given research question, ie develop PICOTS and draft a short protocol.

Course literature will be announced at study start on the course’s Absalon page.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is required.
Basic knowledge in statistics is expected.
Lectures, individual and group-based exercises, two reports based on group work. The reports will be used as basis of the individual, oral exam.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Preparation
  • 95
  • Exercises
  • 90
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Peer feedback on written reports.

We provide feed-back on the written assignments mostly in plenum, but also some written feedback on language as well as content of the two group reports.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 25 minutes, no preparation time
Type of assessment details
Questions to the group reports and curriculum.
Exam registration requirements

Submission and approval of two group reports.

Only certain aids allowed

Group reports with notes.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

Same as the ordinary exam.

Group reports that have already been approved may be reused. If the student has not submitted and/or had the group report(s) approved, the report(s) should be submitted and approved 3 weeks before the re-examination.

Criteria for exam assesment

Please see ”Learning Outcome”