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Monash University

FIT5125 IT research methods - Semester 1, 2014

The aim of this unit is to prepare Masters students in the Faculty of IT to conduct research across the range of IT disciplines, including computer science, software engineering, information systems and information management.

It introduces students to major research philosophies and paradigms, the principles of research design, research ethics, research methods and techniques of data collection and analysis appropriate to IT research and their disciplines, and IT research in research and industry settings.

Skills developed and knowledge acquired from this unit will prepare students to conduct and communicate their own research, as well as to be knowledgeable and critical interpreters of others' research.

Mode of Delivery

Clayton (Day)

Workload Requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 12 hours per week comprising:

(a.) Contact hours for on-campus students:

Two 2-hour workshops

(b.) Additional requirements (all students):

A minimum of 8 hours independent study per week for completing lab and project work, private study and revision.

Unit Relationships


FIT4005, FIT5143, FIT5185, FIT5190


Students must be enrolled in an FIT Masters degree or Research degree and have successfully completed 24 points of level five non-foundation units and achieved an overall average of at least 70% across all non-foundation units. Foundation units are FIT5123, FIT5130, FIT5131, FIT5132, FIT5134 and FIT5135.

Foundation knowledge in computer science or business information systems or information technology and systems fundamentals.

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Professor David Green

Consultation hours: By appointment

Professor Frada Burstein

Consultation hours: TBA

Associate Professor Kevin Korb

Consultation hours: TBA

Dr Henry Linger

Consultation hours: TBA

Your feedback to Us

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For more information on Monash’s educational strategy, see:

www.monash.edu.au/about/monash-directions/ and on student evaluations, see: www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/quality/student-evaluation-policy.html

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Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this unit, students should be able to:
  • identify and explain major research philosophies and paradigms;
  • design rigorous and ethical Masters-level research projects and develop project proposals;
  • evaluate and select research methods and techniques of data collection and analysis appropriate to particular research designs, projects and disciplines;
  • conduct ethical research;
  • communicate research findings in written and oral form in research and industry settings;
  • critically review research literature, research design and reported findings.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Workshop 1 - THE NATURE OF RESEARCH - Major research paradigms and philosophies; Introductory examples and exercises Exercises in class, Portfolio of practical work (Assignment 2) due Weekly (each workshop)
2 Workshop 2 - RESEARCH PROJECT DESIGN - The context of research; Structure of a project; Formulating research questions; Applying paradigms; Planning a path from question to result; Issues in research (ethics, IP, copyright etc) Exercises in class
3 Workshop 3 - RESEARCH LITERATURE - How to conduct a literature search; How to prepare a literature review Exercises in class
4 Workshop 4 - RESEARCH PROPOSALS - Structure and content of a research proposal Exercises in class
5 Workshop 5 - COMMUNICATION OF RESEARCH - Research publishing; Types of outputs; Academic writing (including literature reviews); Oral communication Exercises in class
6 Workshop 6 - NATURE OF EVIDENCE - Introduction to data collection and analysis; Use of online resources Exercises in class || Assignment 1
7 Elective Workshop - Evidence- experimental design Exercises in class
8 Elective Workshop - Quantitative data analysis 1 (Introduction to probability statistics 1) Exercises in class
9 Elective Workshops - OPTION (a) Quantitative data analysis 2 (Introduction to probability statistics 2) || OPTION (b) Qualitative data analysis Exercises in class
10 Elective Workshops - OPTION (a) Quantitative data analysis 3 (Correlation and regression || OPTION (b) Action research Exercises in class
11 Elective Workshops - OPTION (a) Algorithms and evaluation || OPTION (b) Design science Exercises in class
12 Elective Workshops - OPTION (a) Simulation || OPTION (b) Case study research Exercises in class || Assignment 2 finishes this week, Assignment 3 presentation
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken in SWOT VAC. Assignment 3 due 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.

Teaching Approach

This teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning.
Each workshop willl include lecture and lab based exercises.

Assessment Summary

In-semester assessment: 100%

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Assignment 1 - Critical analysis of published material. 10% Week 6, Friday, 5pm
Assignment 2 - Portfolio of practical work 60% Weekly (each workshop). Completed by Week 12, Friday 5pm
Assignment 3 - Mini-research project 30%, including 10% presentation Presentation in Week 12, Project due Week 14, Friday 5pm

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Assessment Tasks


Full participation in the tutorials and labs 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, each student will be required to name and acknowledge their collaborators, to submit a statement about group management and contribution.

  • Assessment task 1
    Assignment 1 - Critical analysis of published material.
    In this assignment, 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
    This assignment consists of practical work submitted by students at the end of each workshop. Students will have to perform a number of detailed exercises based on the topic of each workshop.

    Each of 12 workshops attended is assessed and counts 5% towards the final result for the unit.
    Criteria for assessment:

    In most workshops, the assessment will consist of lab exercises and other activities undertaken during class. Work will be assessed either during class or when written work is submitted at the end of the workshop. In workshops involving group exercises, each team member will submit their work individually.
    Most of the tasks in this assignment will be assesse on the student's ability to correctly perform the tasks, and interpret the findings.

    Due date:
    Weekly (each workshop). Completed by Week 12, Friday 5pm
  • Assessment task 3
    Assignment 3 - Mini-research project
    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%).
    30%, including 10% 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 evidence, interpretation and conclusions.
    Due date:
    Presentation in Week 12, Project due 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 (if applicable to the unit)

Faculty of Information Technology Style Guide

Feedback to you

Examination/other end-of-semester assessment feedback may take the form of feedback classes, provision of sample answers or other group feedback after official results have been published. Please check with your lecturer on the feedback provided and take advantage of this prior to requesting individual consultations with staff. If your unit has an examination, you may request to view your examination script booklet, see http://intranet.monash.edu.au/infotech/resources/students/procedures/request-to-view-exam-scripts.html

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:

  • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
  • Graded assignments with comments
  • Quiz results
  • 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/student-academic-integrity-managing-plagiarism-collusion-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). Please note that it is your responsibility to retain copies of your assessments.

Online submission

Electronic Submission is required for this 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.

Recommended text(s)

Leedy, Paul D.and Ormond, Jeanne E.. (2013). Practical Research - Planning and Design.. () Pearson (ISBN: 13: 978-0-13-289950-5).

Other Information


Monash has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and to provide advice on how they might uphold them. You can find Monash’s Education Policies at: www.policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/academic/education/index.html

Key educational policies include:

Faculty resources and policies

Important student resources including Faculty policies are located at http://intranet.monash.edu.au/infotech/resources/students/

Graduate Attributes Policy

Student Charter

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.

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