Course overview

The Research Methods and Project Management course will introduce you to the principles of scientific research, and methods relating to qualitative and quantitative research undertaken in relation to food quality and health. Through a series of online lectures and seminars, you will explore the principle components of undertaking research, from the development of research plans, the practical steps in implementing these plans, and the statistical tools available for assessing the collected data. The aim is to provide you with all of the knowledge, methods and skills necessary to design, carry out, and evaluate a research project, whether in higher education or professional setting.

You will also develop useful skills in reviewing and assessing scientific literature and handling ethical matters arising from certain types of research. Also, you will learn transferable skills such as project management, time management methods and stakeholder analysis that have broad applicability outside of their use in relation to research projects. After completing this course, you will be fully capable of undertaking research projects, from initial conception to practical management to detailed analysis of findings.


This is a mandatory course for those studying for MSc or DAgriFood degrees but would be extremely useful for anyone intending to carry out research in any capacity in their business or field of study.  

Contact Name for Enquiries: Fiona Lee or Cathy Crips

Email address:

Telephone Number: 0118 378 3312 or  0118 378 8722


Learning outcomes

On completion of the course participants should be able to:

  • Formulate and evaluate research questions
  • Consider the ethical implications of research
  • Critically assess research findings as reported in primary literature
  • Critically assess the potential research designs for a selected topic
  • Collect and analyse qualitative and quantitative research data
  • Select appropriate statistical methods to analyse research data
  • Develop a research plan that identifies required resources, project duration, scope, key stakeholders and risk

The following transferable skills will be developed in this course:

  • Critical evaluation of information from a variety of sources
  • Effective communication of scientific and business information in oral and written format and through presentations.
  • Debate and discussion skills
  • Time management skills
  • Using software for data analysis
Additional Course Information

The course will consist of ten weeks of distance learning material, including video lectures, guided reading, interactive workbooks and online discussion boards. Discussion and feedback will take place through the Virtual Learning Environment associated with the course and e-mail.

The course will be assessed by 4 pieces of coursework.

  1. Quantitative analysis of a dataset using appropriate statistical methods (20%)
  2. A critical literature review (limited to 2000 words) that summarises the major approaches that have been used to date to address a given research issue (30%)
  3. A 10-minute presentation critically evaluating an original research paper, the presentation will be done at distance using screen capture technology (20%)
  4. Research-based project. Each participant will be given the task to solve a specific problem for a company (problems may be real or fictitious). Each participant will prepare a report that describes: (i) the nature and background of the research problem; (ii) proposed research to address problem with justification; (iii) implementation plan and resource requirements. (30%)


Key facts

Course Dates
11 Jan 2021
8 Weeks online
Entry Requirements
Graduate level or relevant experience
CQFW Level
Course Provider
University Of Reading
Provider Reference Number
Course Arrangements
Full joining instructions will be confirmed by the course provider.
Course Location
University of Reading
AFTP Cohort
Course Logistics
Delivered entirely online through the University of Reading's Virtual Learning Environment over an eight week period. It is suggested that material is reviewed on a weekly basis, however, participants may vary their speed of learning to suit their own requirements. The course is award of 10 academic credits where participants successfully complete the formative assessment requirements during the online learning and the finals assessment within four weeks of completing the online content.
My AFTP training course has given me greater confidence day-to-day and more insight into the impact of new techniques and technologies.
Andy Russell - Fresh Produce Technologist, Bakkavor

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