[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Monash University

FIT5185 Introduction to IT research methods - Semester 2, 2012

This unit introduces students to IT research. Specifically, it introduces major research methods that are used by IT researchers including experiments, surveys, case studies, and design science. It also addresses the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data. Students will learn how to effectively communicate 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

Caulfield (Day)

Contact Hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs studios/tutorials/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




Students must be enrolled in an FIT Masters Honours degree. Students enrolled in a postgraduate coursework degree must have permission from the chief examiner and course director.

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Professor Frada Burstein

Consultation hours: After the lecture, or for appointment email frada.burstein@monash.edu


Geoff Webb

South Africa

Jacques Steyn

Academic Overview


At the completion of this unit, students will be able to understand:
  • the major philosophies and principles of research;
  • the major research methods used in IT research;
  • when a particular method is appropriate for a particular project;
  • how to collect and analyse quantitative and qualitative research data;
  • how to communicate research findings to a variety of audiences;
  • how to critically review research designs and literature.

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

In-semester assessment (assignments and class tests): 100%

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Assignment 1: critical analysis of published research 20% Week 6, Friday, 5pm
Assignment 2: Practical work portfolio 30% Complete all by week 11, Friday 5pm
Assignment 3: Mini-research 40% Week 14, Friday 5pm
Peer-review assessment of unit participation 10% consisting of the average of a student's best 4 participation scores From Week 2 to Week 12
Examination 1 There is no formal examination for this unit To be advised

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

The sequence and arrangement of topics has been changed from last semester. The aim is to more clearly identify the major research strategies. The objectives and assessment strategy of the unit have not been changed.

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

Required Resources

Please check with your lecturer before purchasing any Required Resources. Limited copies of prescribed texts are available for you to borrow in the library, and prescribed software is available in student labs.

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

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 The Nature of Research  
2 Literature Analysis/ workshop on searching research resources Assessment Task 4: Weekly assessment from Week 2 to Week 12
3 Research in Information Technology: major methods/ workshop on research questions  
4 Design Research / workshop: Writing a research proposal  
5 Experiments / workshop on oral presentations  
6 Surveys Assignment 1 due by Monday 5pm, Melbourne time
7 Case studies  
8 ntroduction to Data Analysis/workshop on literature review  
9 Quantitative Data Collection and Analysis  
10 Correlation and Regression  
11 Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis Assignment 2 due Friday 5pm, week 11
12 Communication of Research Assignment 3 presentations; report due Friday 5pm, 2012 - Week 14
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken in 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

Faculty Policy - Unit Assessment Hurdles (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/staff/edgov/policies/assessment-examinations/unit-assessment-hurdles.html)

Academic Integrity - Please see the Demystifying Citing and Referencing tutorial at http://lib.monash.edu/tutorials/citing/

Assessment Tasks


Participation in the tutorials will be peer-assessed and these marks will be aggregated into 10% of total mark for the unit.

  • Assessment task 1
    Assignment 1: critical analysis of published research
    In this assignment the students will provide a critical analysis of the research objectives and methods for an information technology research based on published material. Includes 15% writtent paper and 5% presentation
    Criteria for assessment:

    The assignment will be assessed by:

    • clarity and logic of the structure,
    • level of critical analysis,
    • referencing,
    • standard of English expression,
    • and quality of conclusions.
    Due date:
    Week 6, Friday, 5pm
  • Assessment task 2
    Assignment 2: Practical work portfolio
    In this assignment the students will have to perform a number of detailed statistical analyses.
    Criteria for assessment:

    Each of the tasks in this assignment will be awarded marks based on the ability to correctly perform the analysis/test, and interpret the findings (what do the findings indicate).

    Due date:
    Complete all by week 11, Friday 5pm
  • Assessment task 3
    Assignment 3: Mini-research
    This is a mini-project task, which can be performed by a group of 2-3 students.

    The outcome includes presentation about your mini-project (5%) and a research paper based on your mini-project (35%).
    Criteria for assessment:

    The assignment will be assessed by:

    • clarity and logic of the structure,
    • level of critical analysis,
    • referencing,
    • standard of English expression,
    • and quality of conclusions.
    Due date:
    Week 14, Friday 5pm
  • Assessment task 4
    Peer-review assessment of unit participation
    Weekly participations in lectures and tutorials will be assessed by peer-reviews
    10% consisting of the average of a student's best 4 participation scores
    Criteria for assessment:

    Quality of individual preparation and participation, assistance and encouragement of activities of other students will be assessed by peers. Students will be provied with the forms to record their perseption of the performance of their peers in the class during the lectures and tutorials

    Due date:
    From Week 2 to Week 12
    This assessment is based on the portfolio of individual contributions. Six sessions will be specifically nominated to be performed as part of this assessment.


  • Examination 1
    There is no formal examination for this unit
    Type (open/closed book):
    Electronic devices allowed in the exam:

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).

Online submission

If Electronic Submission has been approved for your unit, please submit your work via the VLE site for this unit, which you can access via links in the my.monash portal.

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Referencing requirements

All assignments should use APA style for referencing.

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. For Sunway see http://www.monash.edu.my/Student-services, and for South Africa see http://www.monash.ac.za/current/

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. At Sunway, visit the Library and Learning Commons at http://www.lib.monash.edu.my/. At South Africa visit http://www.lib.monash.ac.za/.

Academic support services may be available for students who have a disability or medical condition. Registration with the Disability Liaison Unit is required. Further information is available as follows:

  • Website: http://monash.edu/equity-diversity/disability/index.html;
  • Email: dlu@monash.edu
  • Drop In: Equity and Diversity Centre, Level 1 Gallery Building (Building 55), Monash University, Clayton Campus, or Student Community Services Department, Level 2, Building 2, Monash University, Sunway Campus
  • Telephone: 03 9905 5704, or contact the Student Advisor, Student Commuity Services at 03 55146018 at Sunway

Reading list

Zikmund, WG, Babin BJ, Carr JC, Griffin M. (2010).  Business Research Methods (8th edition) South-Western (Cengage Learning). ISBN-13: 978-0-324-32062-6

Creswell, John W. (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (3rd Edition). ISBN: 9781412965576 

Neuman, 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.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]