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FOSC306 Advanced Sensory Science

Understanding and applying the principles of descriptive analysis. Advanced methods of data collection and analysis for consumer data. Applications of sensory science in the food industry and research settings.

In this paper, students will gain in-depth knowledge in a range of advanced sensory evaluation methods. They will be asked to undertake a substantial group-based project using qualitative descriptive sensory analysis. Upon completion of this paper, students are expected to have theoretical and practical knowledge of how to recruit, train and monitor performance of a descriptive sensory analysis panel. They will learn how to derive/generate/select descriptors to develop a sensory vocabulary for descriptive analysis techniques. The key methodological features of descriptive techniques, as well as their major advantages and disadvantages, will be discussed. Case studies of different descriptive techniques will be discussed in class to enhance understanding.

Students will also gain an understanding of the most commonly applied consumer hedonic test methods and important considerations to take into account when performing consumer tests. This paper will also discuss uses of sensory methods in research into food choice and eating behaviour.

Issues of statistical data analysis will also be dealt with throughout the paper. Students will become knowledgeable in using analysis of variance to analyse both descriptive sensory analysis and consumer hedonic data. Students will become skilled in interpreting sensory data and understanding practical relevance of statistical results. Statistical analysis of sensory test data will involve SPSS or XLSTAT.

Paper title Advanced Sensory Science
Paper code FOSC306
Subject Food Science
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,110.75
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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FOSC 213 or FOSC 206
Schedule C
Teaching staff

Dr Mei Peng
Dr Karen Lusk

Paper Structure

Lectures will cover the following areas:

  • Descriptive sensory analysis methodologies
  • Key stages in conducting descriptive sensory analysis
  • Latest methods applied in consumer sensory testing
  • Applications of sensory methods in health research
Teaching Arrangements

This paper consists of two lectures per week and one laboratory class per week.


  • Lab book 5%
  • Group Oral Presentations 5%
  • Group Project Report 40%
  • Final Exam 50%

The following sensory science text books, available through the Library, will be useful throughout the paper:

  • Lawless, H., & Heymann, H. (2010). Sensory Evaluation of Food: Principles and Practices. (e-book)
  • Civille, G.V. (1996). Aroma and flavor lexicon for sensory evaluation : terms, definitions, references, and examples. West Conshohocken, PA: ASTM. (Library)
  • Meilgaard, M., Civille, G. V., & Carr, B. T. (2007). Sensory Evaluation Techniques. (e-book)
  • O'Mahony, M. (1986). Sensory Evaluation of Food: Statistical Methods and Procedures. New York, NY, USA: Marcel Dekker, Inc. (Library)
  • Stone, H., Bleibaum, R. & Thomas, H.A. (2012). Sensory Evaluation Practices (4th ed.). (e-book)
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Ethics, Research, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

On completion of FOSC 306 students are expected to be able to

  • Compare and contrast different descriptive sensory analysis methods and consumer sensory test methods and outline their advantages, disadvantages and limitations
  • Apply such methods as a result of understanding the information each test provides, how to organise and carry out the chosen test, how to apply appropriate statistical analysis methods and, finally, how to interpret the results obtained
  • Design and carry out both descriptive sensory analysis and consumer sensory testing on selected commercial food or beverage products
  • Describe methods to screen prospective panellists and have some experience of planning and undertaking appropriate training of a panel for a selected descriptive sensory test
  • Apply appropriate statistical methods for the analysis and interpretation of data obtained from descriptive sensory analysis and consumer sensory tests and use graphic presentations to communicate and interpret results
  • Explain appropriate uses of multivariate analysis in sensory and consumer testing (PCA, GPA, preference mapping)
  • Interpret and critically assess published sensory science research
  • Discuss current and future directions of sensory science

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system

Computer Lab

Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 14:00-15:50 12


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 13:00-13:50 9-15, 17-22
Wednesday 13:00-13:50 9-15, 17-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 14:00-15:50 9-11, 13-15, 17, 19-21