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Monash University

FIT5185 Introduction to IT research methods - Semester 1, 2013

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

Clayton (Day)

Contact Hours

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




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


David Green

Consultation hours: After the lecture, or for appointment email david.green@monash.edu

Reza Haffari

Consultation hours: TBA Contact: Gholamreza.Haffari@monash.edu

Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

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.

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
Assignment 1: Research project proposal and literature mini reviewanalysis of published research 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 tutorial and lab classes 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, and to submit statements about group management and contribution.

  • Assessment task 1
    Assignment 1: Research project proposal and literature mini reviewanalysis 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.
    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: Portfolio of practical work
    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 small group of students.

    The assessment includes a 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 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

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 learning system for this unit, which you can access via links in the my.monash portal.

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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