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Monash University

FIT5190 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.

Contact Hours

Two hours of lecture and two hours of studio/tutorial per week.

Workload requirements

Students will be expected to spend a total of 12 hours per week during semester on this unit as follows:

Lectures: 2 hours per week
Tutorials: 2 hours per week per 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.

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer

Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

On 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  
2 Literature Analysis  
3 Research in Information Technology  
4 Communicating Research and Oral Presentations  
5 Design Research and Writing Journal Papers  
6 Experiments  
7 Surveys  
8 Case Studies and Research Publication Matters Assignment 1 due 3 May 2013
9 Introduction to Data Analysis  
10 Quantitative Data Analysis  
11 Correlation and Regression Assignment 2 due 24 May 2013
12 Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis  
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken in SWOT VAC. Assignment 3 due 11 June 2013, Week 14
  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: Critical Review of Published Research 30% 3 May 2013
Assignment 2: Overview of a Research Project 40% (Research Project Report 30% and Class Oral Presentation 10%) 24 May 2013
Assignment 3: Research Project Evaluation 30% 11 June 2013

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


  • Assessment task 1
    Assignment 1: Critical Review of Published Research
    The purpose of the assignment is to learn about a significant area of IT research by undertaking a literature review. The aim of this assignment is to ensure that you are capable of critically analysing published research.

    In this assignment, you will select a topic in IT research and conduct a critical review of the key published literature on the topic. Most of the literature will be journal and conference papers, but it could include books, book chapters, technical reports, blogs, white papers, and industry reports.

    The topic for the review must be approved by the unit lecturer. 
    Criteria for assessment:

    The assignment will be assessed by:

    • logic of structure,
    • clarity of presentation,
    • level of critical analysis,
    • referencing,
    • standard of English expression,
    • and quality of conclusions.
    Due date:
    3 May 2013
  • Assessment task 2
    Assignment 2: Overview of a Research Project
    Write an overview report of a research project and give a presentation about the research project suitable for use as a seminar talk.
    40% (Research Project Report 30% and Class Oral Presentation 10%)
    Criteria for assessment:

    The research project report (30%) will be assessed by:

    • logic of structure,
    • clarity of objectives and methodology,
    • justification of novelty and contribution,
    • referencing,
    • standard of English expression,
    • and quality of conclusions.

    The class oral presentation (10%) will be assessed by a peer-review process.

    Due date:
    24 May 2013
  • Assessment task 3
    Assignment 3: Research Project Evaluation
    Write and explain an evaluation plan for a research project.  Students are strongly encouraged to write about a research project that they are conducting or intend to conduct.
    Criteria for assessment:

    The assignment will be assessed by:

    • clarity and logic of the evaluation plan,
    • the degree to which the plan assesses whether the project achieves or fails to achieve its research aims,
    • level of critical analysis,
    • referencing, and
    • standard of English expression.
    Due date:
    11 June 2013

Learning resources

Reading list

Loraine Blaxter, Christina Hughes, and Malcolm Tight (2010). How to research, 4th Edition. Open University Press, Maidenhead.

John W. Creswell (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Sage, Thousand Oaks, Calif., USA.

Catherine Dawson (2009) Introduction to Research Methods: A Practical Guide for Anyone Undertaking a Research Project, 4th Edition. How To Books, Oxford.

W.G. Zikmund, B.J. Babin, J.C. Carr and M. Griffin (2010). Business Research Methods, 8th Edition. South-Western, Cengage Learning, Mason, OH.

Additional readings will be provided for each lecture. See the unit Moodle site 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

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

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.

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

In its first offering (2012) at the SEU-Monash Joint Graduate School in Suzhou, this unit has achieved a student evaluation score of 4.73 (out of 5) for the quality of the unit. Student feedback has shown that this unit is well structured and no changes are required for this semester. In particular, students are happy with the encouragement and helpful feedback they received from the lecturer for their active participation in this unit.

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

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