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Monash University

FIT5190 Introduction to IT research methods - Semester 1, 2014

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.

Workload Requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 12 hours per week comprising:

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

  • Two hours of lectures
  • One 2-hour studio/tutorial

(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, FIT5125, FIT5143, FIT5185

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer

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 the Student Evaluation of Teaching and Units (SETU) survey. 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, 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

Previous Student Evaluations of this Unit

In its second offering (2013) at the SEU-Monash Joint Graduate School in Suzhou, this unit has achieved a student evaluation score of 4.79 (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

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 Assignment 1 - Task 1 due 11 April 2014
7 Surveys  
8 Case Studies and Research Publication Matters Assignment 1 - Task 2 due 25 April May 2014
9 Introduction to Data Analysis Assignment 2 due 9 May 2014
10 Quantitative Data Analysis Assignment 1 - Task 3 due 16 May 2014
11 Correlation and Regression  
12 Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis Assignment 3 due 30 May 2014
  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.

Teaching Approach

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

Assessment Summary

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

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Assignment 1: Research Writing Tasks 30% (10% for each task) Task 1 (11 April 2014) Task 2 (25 April 2014) Task 3 (16 May 2014)
Assignment 2: Critical Review of Published Research 30% 9 May 2014
Assignment 3: Overview of a Research Project 40% (Research Project Report 30% and Class Oral Presentation 10%) 30 May 2014

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Assessment Tasks


  • Assessment task 1
    Assignment 1: Research Writing Tasks
    The purpose of this assignment is to learn how to write up key elements of your research for journal publication, with focus on the development of good writing styles including being concise, specific, consistent, and to the point. You are strongly encouraged to write about a research project that you are conducting or intend to conduct. This assignment consists of three writing tasks: Task 1 - Summarise your research, Task 2 - State the problem, and Task 3 - Place your research in context.
    30% (10% for each task)
    Criteria for assessment:

    The assignment will be assessed by logic of structure, clarity, conciseness, consistency, quality of arguments, and standard of English expression.

    Due date:
    Task 1 (11 April 2014) Task 2 (25 April 2014) Task 3 (16 May 2014)
  • Assessment task 2
    Assignment 2: Critical Review of Published Research
    The purpose of this assignment is to learn about a significant area of IT research by undertaking a literature review of research publications in the area. The learning objective of of this assignment is to ensure that you are capable of clearly understanding and 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, quality of interpretation and conclusion, referencing, and standard of English expression.
    Due date:
    9 May 2014
  • Assessment task 3
    Assignment 3: 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, quality of conclusion and significance, referencing, and standard of English expression.

    The class oral presentation (10%) will be assessed by both content and presentation.

    Due date:
    30 May 2014

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 (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
  • Interviews

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

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

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


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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