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Monash University

FIT4005 IT research methods - Semester 1, 2013

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

Workload requirements

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

Campus Lecturer


David Green

Consultation hours: After lecture or by appointment David.green@monash.edu

Reza Haffari

Consultation hours: TBA

South Africa

Trish Alexander

Consultation hours: TBA

Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

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.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 The Nature of Research / workshop on literature search  
2 Setting the context. Literature survey and analysis Assignment 2: Portfolio of practical work from Week 2 to Week 11
3 Posing research questions - major methods in IT research / Workshop on formulating research questions in Information Technology  
4 Research Design / Workshop: Writing a research proposal  
5 Evidence - Surveys  
6 Evidence - Introduction to Data Analysis Assignment 1 due by Friday 5pm, Melbourne time
7 Evidence - Experiments  
8 Interpretation - Quantitative Data Analysis  
9 Interpretation - Correlation and Regression  
10 Interpretation - Qualitative Data  
11 Issues in research / workshop on oral presentations  
12 Communication of Research Assignment 3 - presentations; report due Friday 5pm - 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 learning system.

Assessment Summary

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

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Research project proposal and literature mini review 30% Week 6, Friday, 5pm
Assignment 2: Portfolio of practical work 30% Complete all by week 11, Friday 5pm
Assignment 3: Mini-research 40% Week 14, Friday 5pm

Teaching Approach

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

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


Full participation in the tutorials is expected and will be formally assessed via Assignment 2, in which students submit a portfolio of their practical work.

Working in groups is encouraged, both during practical classes, and in the project assignment. The aim is both to facilitate learning and to expose students to team research, which is a common feature of most modern research. When working in groups, each member is expected to participate fully and contribute to the work of the group. As part of the assessment in each assignment, each student will be required to name and acknowledge their collaborators, to submit a statement about group management and contribution.

  • Assessment task 1
    Research project proposal and literature mini review
    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.
    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 evidence of independent thought and ideas.
    Due date:
    Week 6, Friday, 5pm
  • Assessment task 2
    Assignment 2: Portfolio of practical work
    In this assignment the students will have to perform a number of detailed exercises with data on statistical and qualitative 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 small group of students.

    The outcome includes presentation in week 12 about your mini-project (10%) and a research paper based on your mini-project (30%).
    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 evidence, interpretation and conclusions.
    Due date:
    Week 14, Friday 5pm

Learning resources

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.

Monash Library Unit Reading List

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
  • Other: peer-assessment for tutorial contribution

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Referencing requirements

All assignments should use APA style for referencing.

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 MOODLE site for this unit, which you can access via links in the my.monash portal. Standard assignment cover sheet has to be signed and submitted with each written assignment to confirm the proper acknowledgement of the resources used in the text. 

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.

Other Information


Graduate Attributes Policy

Student services

Monash University Library

Disability Liaison Unit

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.

Your feedback to Us

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

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