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Academic Overview

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this unit students will have:

  • developed capabilities to undertake research in the information systems field;
  • learned various research methods and studied published research papers in which these research methods have been used;
  • learned to evaluate how well the research methods have been used in published research papers.

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

Examination (3 hours): 50%; In-semester assessment: 50%

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Critical evaluation of a published paper in an information systems journal. 35% 16 September 2011, 5 pm
Seminar participation 15% (consisting of the average of a student's best 8 participation scores). At the beginning of each week's class.
Examination 1 50% To be advised

Teaching Approach

Students must undertake assigned readings prior to the weekly seminars and contribute actively to class discussion as a way of learning the subject matter of the unit.


Our feedback to You

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:
  • Graded assignments with comments
  • Other: You will received feedback each week on the quality of your participation in the class discussion.  You will also receive written comments on your mid-semester assignment.  The solution to the assignment will be discussed in class after all assignments have been graded and returned to students.  Students should also feel free to discuss their performance in class with their lecturer at any time during the semester.

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

All reading materials used in the unit will be available online through the Moodle web site for the unit.

Examination material or equipment

The final examination is open book.  All reading materials used in the unit can be taken into the final examination if a student so wishes.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0 Please read the Week-1 readings prior to coming to class. No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Introduction: Choosing the Research Problem Class Participation
2 Theory Building-I Class Participation
3 Theory Building-II Class Participation
4 Experiments-I Class Participation
5 Experiments-II Class Participation
6 Experiments-III Class Participation
7 Case Study Research-I Class Participation
8 Case Study Research-II Class Participation; Critical evaluation of a published paper in an IS journal - 16th September 2011 at 5pm
9 Design Science Research-I Class Participation
10 Design Science Research-II Class Participation
11 Action Learning-I Class Participation
12 Action Learning-II Class Participation
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken SWOT VAC
  Examination period LINK to Assessment Policy: http://policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/

*Unit Schedule details will be maintained and communicated to you via your MUSO (Blackboard or Moodle) learning system.

Assessment Requirements

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
    Critical evaluation of a published paper in an information systems journal.
    You will be asked to evaluate the quality of a paper published in one of the information systems journals.  Based on the readings you have undertaken in the first part of the semester, you should point out the strengths and weaknesses of the paper.
    Criteria for assessment:

    The criteria used to assess the assignment are:

    1. Quality of your evaluation of the researchers' choice of problem.
    2. Quality of your evaluation of the theory and propositions provided by the researchers.
    3. Quality of your evaluation of the research method used by the researchers.
    4. Quality of your presentation, grammar, and style.
    Due date:
    16 September 2011, 5 pm
    Assignment must be submitted electronically via the MUSO web site for FIT4007.
  • Assessment task 2
    Seminar participation
    Students are expected to actively participate in and from time to time lead the class discussion.  When students are responsible for leading the class discussion, they should prepare a brief handout (maximum one page) identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the paper to be read by the class.  They should make sufficient copies of this handout to give to each member of the class at the start of the discussion on the paper.
    15% (consisting of the average of a student's best 8 participation scores).
    Criteria for assessment:

    The "ability to contribute to a structured discussion of key IS issues" is one of the objectives of FIT4007.  Each week the lecturer will assess the contribution of each student based on (a) the student's understanding of the readings that have been assigned, (b) the student's insights in terms of the quality of the assigned readings, and (c) the extent to which the student contributes constructively to the class discussion.  The seminar participation mark will be the average of a student's best eight participation scores.  Students will be notified of their participation mark each week and their overall participation mark in Week 12.  A copy of the assessment proforma that will be used is available on this web site.

    Due date:
    At the beginning of each week's class.


  • Examination 1
    3 hours
    Type (open/closed book):
    Open book
    Electronic devices allowed in the exam:
    Critical evaluation of a paper published in an information systems journal.

Assignment submission

It is a University requirement (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/conduct/plagiarism-procedures.html) for students to submit an assignment coversheet for each assessment item. Faculty Assignment coversheets can be found at http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/. Please check with your Lecturer on the submission method for your assignment coversheet (e.g. attach a file to the online assignment submission, hand-in a hard copy, or use an online quiz).

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Other Information


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 www.monash.edu.au/students 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 http://www.lib.monash.edu.au or the library tab in my.monash 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


Week 1:  Introduction; Choosing the Research Problem

Locke, K., and Golden-Biddle, K. (1997).  Constructing opportunities for contribution:  Structuring intertextual coherence and “problematizing” in organizational studies.  Academy of Management Journal, 40 (5), 1023-1062.

Week 2:  Theory Building-I

Gregor, S. (2006).  The nature of theory in information systems.  MIS Quarterly, 30 (3), 611-642.

Monge, P.R. (1990).  Theoretical and analytical issues in studying organizational processes.  Organization Science, 1 (4), 406-430.

Week 3:  Theory Building-II

 Griffith, T.L., Sawyer, J.E., & Neale, M.A. (2003).  Virtualness and knowledge in teams:  Managing the love triangle of organizations, individuals, and information technology.  MIS Quarterly, 27 (2), 265-287.

Sambamurthy, V., Bharadwaj, A., & Grover, V. (2003).  Shaping agility through digital options:  Reconceptualizing the role of information technology in contemporary firms.  MIS Quarterly, 27 (2), 237-263.

Week 4:  Experiments-I

Experimental design reading from Web:


Design section only up to quasi-experimental design.

Week 5:  Experiments-II

Straub, D., Boudreau, M-C., & Gefen, D. (2004).  Validation guidelines for IS positivist research.  Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 13, Article 24.

Week 6:  Experiments-III

Allen, G.N., & March, S.T. (2006).  The effects of state-based and event-based data representation on user performance in query formulation tasks.  MIS Quarterly, 30 (2), 269-290.

Komiak, S.Y.X., & Benbasat, I. (2006).  The effects of personalization and familiarity on trust and adoption of recommendation agents.  MIS Quarterly, 30 (4), 941-960.

Week 7:  Case Study Research-I

Eisenhardt, K.M. (1989).  Building theories from case study research.  Academy of Management Review, 14 (4), 532-550.

Klein, H.K. & Myers, D. (1999).  A set of principles for conducting and evaluating interpretive field studies in information systems.  MIS Quarterly, 23 (1), 67-94.

Week 8:  Case Study Research-II

Watson-Manheim, M.B, & Bélanger, F. (2007).  Communication media repertoires:  Dealing with the multiplicity of media choices.  MIS Quarterly, 31 (2), 267-293.

Sarker, S., & Lee, A.S. (2006). Does the use of computer-based BPC tools contribute to redesign effectiveness?  Insights from a hermeneutic study.  IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 53(1), 130-145.

Week 9:  Design Science Research-I

Hevner, A.R., March, S. T., Park, J., & Ram, S. (2004).  Design science in information systems research.  MIS Quarterly, 28 (1), 75-106.

Gregor, S., & Jones, D. (2007).  The anatomy of a design theory.  Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 8 (5), 312-335.

Week 10:  Design Science Research-II

Arnott, D. (2006).  Cognitive biases and decision support systems development:  A design science approach.  Information Systems Journal, 16 (1), 55-78.

Albert, T.C., Goes, P.B, & Gupta, A. (2004).  GIST:  A model for design and management of content and interactivity of customer-centric web sites.  MIS Quarterly, 28 (2), 161-182.

Week 11:  Action Learning-I

McKay, J. & Marshall, P. (2001).  The dual imperatives of action research.  Information Technology and People, 14 (1), 46–59.

Davidson, R.M., Martinsons, M.G., & Kock, N. (2004).  Principles of canonical action research.  Information Systems Journal, 14, 65-86.

Week 12:  Action Learning-II

Braa, J., Monteiro, E., & Sahay, S. (2004).  Networks of action:  Sustainable health information systems across developing countries.  MIS Quarterly, 28 (3), 337-362.

Iverson, J.H., Mathiassen, L., & Nielsen, P.A. (2004).  Managing risk in software process improvement:  An action research approach.  MIS Quarterly, 28 (3), 395-433.


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