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FIT4005 IT research methods - Semester 1, 2011

This unit introduces students to a variety of issues, concepts, methods and techniques associated with IT research. Skills developed and knowledge acquired from this unit will prepare students to conduct their own research, as well as to be knowledgeable consumers of others research.

Mode of Delivery

  • Clayton (Day)
  • South Africa (Day)

Contact Hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs laboratories/wk


The workload commitment for on campus students for this unit is 12 hours per week.  This includes:

  • 2 hour lecture
  • 2 hour workshop/tutorial
  • and a minimum of 2-3 hours of personal study per one hour of contact time in order to satisfy the reading and assignment expectations.

Unit Relationships


ITW4001, IMS5036, IMS4036, BUS5000, CSE4910, GCO4010, CSE4650


Students must be enrolled in an FIT Honours degree, Masters degree or Research degree. Foundation knowledge in computer science, business information systems or information technology and systems fundamentals is assumed.

Chief Examiner

David Arnott

Campus Lecturer


David Arnott

Joze Kuzic

South Africa

Jacques Steyn

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this unit students will have -
A knowledge and understanding of:

  • basic research concepts, major philosophical foundations (theory, framework, paradigm, scientific method and methodologies in general);
  • research methods and techniques relevant to IT research;
  • key issues in IT research;
  • methods of argument analysis;
  • how to design research;
  • how to evaluate research and peer review procedures;
  • the process of reviewing research literature on a specific topic;
  • ethical research practices.
Developed attitudes that enable them to:
  • have confidence in themselves as informed consumers of published research, able to critically evaluate the relative quality and merits of reported research findings;
  • have confidence in their ability to undertake independent research and to complete a thesis;
  • have an awareness of the ethical issues that arise in the design and implementation of research.
Developed the skills to:
  • match research tools and methods with research needs;
  • write effective research papers;
  • evaluate research ideas and designs;
  • collect and analyse relevant data.
Demonstrated the communication skills necessary to:
  • communicate research ideas effectively in oral and written form;
  • assess research ideas and designs.

Graduate Attributes

Monash prepares its graduates to be:
  1. responsible and effective global citizens who:
    1. engage in an internationalised world
    2. exhibit cross-cultural competence
    3. demonstrate ethical values
  2. critical and creative scholars who:
    1. produce innovative solutions to problems
    2. apply research skills to a range of challenges
    3. communicate perceptively and effectively

    Assessment Summary

    Assignments: literature review, assignment relevant to topic, and class exercises: 100%

    Assessment Task Value Due Date
    Assignment 1 - Survey 15% 7 April 2011
    Assignment 2 - Development and analysis of statistical tests 35% 26 May 2011
    Assignment 3 - Mini research project or conference paper 50% Class presentation (Week 12 tutorial), Research report (6 June 2011)

    Teaching Approach

    Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
    This teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning.


    Our feedback to You

    Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:
    • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
    • Graded assignments with comments
    • Solutions to tutes, labs and assignments

    Your feedback to Us

    Monash is committed to excellence in education and regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through SETU, Student Evaluation of Teacher and Unit. The University's student evaluation policy requires that every unit is evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys. The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

    For more information on Monash's educational strategy, and on student evaluations, see:

    Previous Student Evaluations of this unit

    If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to

    Required Resources

    Students may be required to use Web browsers, text processing, spread sheets and slide presentation packages to complete their assignments.
    These should be available for use in University computer labs.

    Unit Schedule

    Week Date* Activities Assessment
    0 21/02/11   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
    1 28/02/11 The Nature of Research  
    2 07/03/11 Literature Analysis  
    3 14/03/11 Experiments  
    4 21/03/11 Surveys  
    5 28/03/11 Analysis of Quantitative Data 1  
    6 04/04/11 Analysis of Quantitative Data 2 Assignment 1 due 7 April 2011
    7 11/04/11 Analysis of Quantitative Data 3  
    8 18/04/11 Analysis of Quantitative Data 4  
    Mid semester break
    9 02/05/11 Case Studies Assignment 2 due 26 May 2011
    10 09/05/11 Analysis of Qualitative Data  
    11 16/05/11 Design Science Research  
    12 23/05/11 Communicating Research Assignment 3 Class presentation due Week 12
      30/05/11 SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken SWOT VAC

    *Please note that these dates may only apply to Australian campuses of Monash University. Off-shore students need to check the dates with their unit leader.

    Assessment Policy

    To pass a unit which includes an examination as part of the assessment a student must obtain:

    • 40% or more in the unit's examination, and
    • 40% or more in the unit's total non-examination assessment, and
    • an overall unit mark of 50% or more.

    If a student does not achieve 40% or more in the unit examination or the unit non-examination total assessment, and the total mark for the unit is greater than 50% then a mark of no greater than 49-N will be recorded for the unit

    Assessment Tasks


    • Assessment task 1
      Assignment 1 - Survey
      In this assignment students should submit the questionnaire for a survey of top 500 corporations in Australia on their e-business activities. With this survey students will try to find out more about the problems encountered, solutions identified, and benefits achieved of e-business.
      Criteria for assessment:

      To be advised.

      Due date:
      7 April 2011
    • Assessment task 2
      Assignment 2 - Development and analysis of statistical tests
      In this assignment, students will have to perform:

      1. Non-parametric correlation analysis, and provide interpretation of the findings in a report.

      2. KW test, and provide interpretation of the findings in a report.
      Criteria for assessment:

      To be advised.

      Due date:
      26 May 2011
    • Assessment task 3
      Assignment 3 - Mini research project or conference paper
      Students carry out a mini research project working in small teams or prepare a conference paper as an individual. Each team or individual gives a presentation on their results and submits a written report.
      Criteria for assessment:

      Detailed marking guides for both the presentation and the written report are available on the unit Moodle site.

      Due date:
      Class presentation (Week 12 tutorial), Research report (6 June 2011)


    Assignment submission

    Assignment coversheets are available via "Student Forms" on the Faculty website:
    You MUST submit a completed coversheet with all assignments, ensuring that the plagiarism declaration section is signed.

    Extensions and penalties

    Returning assignments

    Referencing requirements

    All assignments should use APA style for referencing.


    Monash has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University's academic standards, and to provide advice on how they might uphold them. You can find Monash's Education Policies at:

    Key educational policies include:

    Student services

    The University provides many different kinds of support services for you. Contact your tutor if you need advice and see the range of services available at The Monash University Library provides a range of services and resources that enable you to save time and be more effective in your learning and research. Go to or the library tab in portal for more information. Students who have a disability or medical condition are welcome to contact the Disability Liaison Unit to discuss academic support services. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) visit all Victorian campuses on a regular basis

    Reading List

    WG Zikmund, BJ Babin, JC Carr, M Griffin (2010).  Business Research Methods (8th edition) South-Western (Cengage Learning). ISBN-13: 978-0-324-32062-6
    John W Creswell (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (3rd Edition). ISBN: 9781412965576 
    W. Lawrence Neuman (2006). Social Research Methods: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, Pearson.

    Lists of additional readings will be provided for each lecture. See Moodle for further details.