GCO4010 Research methods and reading in information technology - Semester 1 , 2007 unit guide

Semester 1, 2007

Chief Examiner

Guojun Lu


Gippsland : Guojun Lu


The subject provides a foundation in the skills necessary to conduct research. It covers the following main topics: research methods, information sources, literature review, data analysis, technical writing, research ethics, oral presentation and computer based typesetting. Students are required to write a technical report and make an oral presentation to show their knowledge, understanding and skills in these areas/topics.


On completion of this subject students will have developed comprehensive knowledge about sources of information for computing and information technology researchers, including library-based and on-line sources; acquired the skills needed to locate relevant information in the technical literature; developed facility in the use of tools to support the publication of research; further developed their ability to effectively communicate technical information, both through oral presentations and through written communication; practised the skills required to read, understand and explain technical information in research publications.


Only honours and Masters students are permitted to take the unit.

Unit relationships

GCO4010 is a core unit in the Honours program at Gippsland. It is an elective unit for Master students. 

Only honours and Masters students are permitted to take the unit.

You may not study both this unit and FIT4005 in your degree.

Texts and software

Required text(s)

Anderson, J. and Poole, M. (2001). Thesis and Assignment Writing (4th edition), John Wiley & Sons. (ISBN: 0 471 42181 2)

Textbook availability

Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early. Copies of the book is also available in the university library.

Software requirements

There is no software requirement.

Hardware requirements

Students studying off-campus are required to have the minimum system configuration specified by the faculty as a condition of accepting admission, and regular Internet access. On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook.

Recommended reading

Anderson, J. and Poole, M. (2001). Thesis and Assignment Writing (4th edition), John Wiley & Sons. (ISBN: 0 471 42181 2)

Library access

You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

Study resources

Study resources for GCO4010 are:

1. A printed Reader.

2. Unit MUSO site with detailed study guides and assessment requirements. 

3. On line discussion groups.

Unit website


Structure and organisation

Week Topics
1 Introduction
2 Overview of research methods
3 Information sources
4 Literature review
5 Data analysis
6 Data analysis
Non teaching week
7 Technical writing
8 Technical writing
9 Research ethics and other issues
10 Research ethics and other issues
11 Oral presentation
12 Computer-based type-setting
13 Summary


The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


Assessment weighting

Assessment for the unit consists of three assignments including an oral presentation.


Assessment Policy

To pass this unit you must:

pass all three assignments.

Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

adding marks of the three assignments

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Due Date Weighting
Assignment 1 12 April 2007 15%
Assignment 2 10 May 2007 25 %
Assignment 3 1 June 2007 60 %

Assignment specifications will be made available online at the Unit MUSO site..

Assignment Submission

Assignments will be submitted electronically via the MUSO assignment submission system.

Extensions and late submissions

Late submission of assignments

Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty 10% a day.

This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

Requests for extensions must be made by email to the unit lecturer at least two days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary. A copy of the email or other written communication of an extension must be attached to the assignment submission.

Grading of assessment

Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

Grade Percentage/description
HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
In the 70-79% range.
C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
In the 60-69% range.
P Pass acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
In the 50-59% range.
N Not satisfactory failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
Below 50%.

Assignment return

We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment due dates.


Feedback to you

You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

Feedback from you

You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

And if you are having problems

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

Unit improvements

Based on unit evaluation of 2006, the following three improvements will be made in this offering: (1) to encourage more discussion among students, (2) to make assignment requirements clearer, and (3) to make sure the online readings referred to are the latest version.

Plagiarism and cheating

Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


Communication methods

Students should discuss issues related to the unit through the unit discussion newsgroups available at the MUSO site.


Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed in the unit discussion groups. Failure to read the Notices newsgroup is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

Consultation Times

Tuesday 2:00 to 3:00 PM

Wednesday 10:30 to 11:30 AM

If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

Professor Guojun Lu
Senior Lecturer
Phone +61 3 990 26857

All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

Last updated: Feb 8, 2007