Credit points


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NUTR505 Research in Food Nutrition and Dietetics 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

Building on NUTR505 Research in Food, Nutrition and Dietetics 1, students will apply their knowledge of the research process through conducting a food, nutrition, or dietetic research project. Students will have the opportunity to complete the systematic review they designed in the previous research unit, and further develop survey design skills. In consultation with a project supervisor, students will contribute to an ongoing or new research project. This will assist students to develop experience in preparing ethics applications, the design and development of data collection tools, collection, collation or analysis of data, and an understanding of research project management. Students will be expected to take a critical and creative approach to their project. They will be expected to prepare a report that meets the standards of an academic journal to effectively communicate research findings. Students will also need to complete a ‘research and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' module. This unit aims to provide students with the opportunity to further develop research skills applicable to the fields of food, nutrition, and dietetics.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Critically review methods for collecting, collating, analysing/interpreting, and reporting quantitative and qualitative food and nutrition-related research data, including in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO2 - Conduct and report findings of a systematic review (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO3 - Create and/or pilot a short survey on a food and nutrition topic (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO4 - Effectively conduct an element of a research project and prepare a scientific report related to the project (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO5 - Effectively communicate research findings (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO6 - Establish strategies to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals, organisations and communities, and devise a plan to respectfully acquire cultural information (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


This unit includes topics related to the development and demonstration of professional dietetic practice and competence according to the Accreditation Standards of Dietitians Australia. These are described under the heading ‘Building professional dietetic practice’ in each unit outline and build on topics delivered synchronously and progressively throughout the degree. Those in bold reflect ‘new’ topics addressed in this unit. Students will have opportunities for collecting evidence of competence in these, and in other areas (italics). 

Building professional dietetic practice

  • reflection and evaluation of practice, peer support and assessment
  • acknowledges, reflects and understands own values, beliefs, attitudes, biases and assumptions privilege and power, at the individual and systems level, and their influence on practice
  • scope of practice and standards of care, codes of conduct
  • continuing professional development
  • attributes (empathy, flexibility, adaptability, resilience, ethical, respectful, demonstrates integrity, honesty, fairness, critical thinker)
  • workload and time management, prioritising workload
  • excellence of practice
  • feedback cycles
  • client-centred approach to practice
  • technological proficiency
  • culturally safe and responsive practice (requiring emotional, spiritual and cultural intelligence)
  • active listening, interpersonal and interviewing skills
  • collaboration and communication skills with stakeholders
  • systematically acquires, evaluates and applies findings into practice
  • appropriate decision-making
  • understanding and advocating for the role of the dietitian in research - consolidation
  • critical, problem-solving approach to research practice
  • documentation (preparation, storage and transmission) in accordance with accepted standards in research

This unit requires the completion of 12 days of research placement. Content delivery is arranged as required to support these placements and the underpinning theoretical components. This content includes:

  • the research process
  • food and nutrition problems
  • questions, hypotheses testing
  • ethics and applications for ethical approval
  • funding
  • protocols
  • methods
  • tools for data collection, collation and analysis e.g. Qualtrics, RedCap, SPSS, NVivo
  • data storage
  • writing
  • communicating research findings e.g. conference paper, publication, other media
  •  communicating to create impact

Project management in research

Both professional practice and performance will be directed by the university and the appointed placement supervisor at the host organisation, through a pre-defined and monitored set of criteria which encompass:

  • completion of defined project or project element/s
  • professional practices/attributes to be demonstrated whilst undertaking the experience
  • ability to seek, respond to and provide feedback from supervisors
  • overall student performance throughout the placement

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit content will be over the first three-quarters of semester to allow for practice placement requirements of concurrent units in the latter weeks of semester. 

The learning and teaching strategy adopted aligns with the sequencing of the learning outcomes and consists of three phases that are designed to provide students with a developmental learning experience. The unit begins with approaches designed to support consolidation of specialist knowledge and application of research skills related to food and nutrition and directly follows on from the first research unit. The approaches used to facilitate students’ learning include online learning modules and readings. The unit then builds on this theoretical knowledge and assists students to develop understanding and then application first through structured workshops and then practical skills in a research practice placement. Overall, the approaches used in this unit have a constructively aligned developmental sequence designed to progressively, and logically, support students learning in ways that maximise the perceived (and actual) relevance and value of each stage. As an overarching strategy, this is expected to engender high levels of engagement, efficiency, and effectiveness in students’ study behaviours, and to maximise their learning achievements. This strategy and approaches will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit. Learning and teaching approaches will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively in learning activities.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In this unit, four assessments are sequenced to progressively support students learning in alignment with the learning and teaching strategy. The first Assessment task involves a written assessment task submitted within the first six weeks, with feedback provided prior to submission of the second assessment task. This task provides students with the opportunity to build on work commenced in the first research unit and complete a systematic review. A range of assessment strategies are used in ways that support the developmental sequence of the learning and teaching strategy. The first assessment task involves a written assessment task submitted within the first six weeks, with feedback provided prior to submission of the second assessment task. This task provides students with the opportunity to build on work commenced in the first research unit and complete a systematic review. The second assessment task extends the application of research methods with students developing survey design skills in research which aligns with research activities within the academic team, with exploration of ways of working with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. The third assessment task then moves to the communication of research findings with student a multimedia presentation scheduled at the end of teaching/placement. The final assessment is an extension of their professional practice portfolio wherein addition to continuing to collect evidence of their developing competence to practice, they will reflect on their supervisor's final assessment of their placement. There are two ungraded hurdle requirements of this unit. The first requires completion of 12 days of placement. Students will also complete an online module that addresses research in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander populations. The assessment tasks will allow unit coordinators to assess students’ demonstration of the learning outcomes and attainment of graduate attributes.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1

Written assessment task

Enables students to demonstrate ability to conduct and report on a systematic review.


LO1, LO2

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment 2

Written assessment task

Enables students to demonstrate ability to report on survey development/use in research.


LO1, LO3, LO4, LO6

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment 3

Multimedia presentation

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to plan, execute and strategically communicate appropriate research.


LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment 4

Professional practice portfolio

Enables students to gather evidence to demonstrate competence to practice, and critically reflect on supervisor’s report of placement.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Ungraded hurdles

Completion of 12 days of placement.




GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Completion ‘Research and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ module.




GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5

Representative texts and references

Bowling, A., & Ebrahim, S. (2014). Research methods in health: Investigating health and health services (4th ed.) Berkshire, United Kingdom: Open University Press.

Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2017). Designing and conducting mixed methods research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Elwood, M. (2017). Critical appraisal of epidemiological studies and clinical trials (4th ed.). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

Liamputtong, P. (Ed). (2017). Research methods in health: Foundations for evidence-based practice (3rd ed.). Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Van Horn, L. & Beto, J. (2019). Research: Successful Approaches In Nutrition and Dietetics (4th ed). Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

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