Research Methods in Information Systems

Subject 615-610 (2008)

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Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3 hours of seminar discussion per week.
Total Time Commitment:

3 hours of seminar discussion per week. Students are expected to attend all seminars and actively participate. This requires reading relevant material before the seminar. Students who miss two or more seminars will be required to show cause why they should not be failed in the subject.

Students should expect to devote 10-12 hours per week to a single semester unit, with up to 9 hours each week preparing for the class and completing assignments and 3 hours each week in class. Laboratory work forms part of the three hour session during the sessions dealing with quantitative research (weeks 8 - 12).

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their active and safe participation in a subject are encouraged to discuss this with the relevant subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Prof. Graeme Shanks and Dr. Martin Gibbs
Subject Overview:

Research is a systematic process of answering questions to acquire new knowledge. Research in information systems questions how professional practice is conducted and contributes to the development of better practices. The subject provides students with coverage of how research is conducted within information systems, and how to critically assess published research. Topics covered include the nature of research, the scientific method, theory and research, research paradigms: positivist, interpretivist and critical research approaches, quantitative and qualitative data, measurement and quantitative data analysis techniques, qualitative data analysis techniques, research approaches in information systems: literature review and conceptual study, survey, experiment, case study, systems development, action research, and focus group.

Upon completion of this subject, students should:

  • Be familiar with the main research methods used in IS research;
  • Understand the main concepts underlying the selection of a research method for different types of research questions and stages of research;
  • Develop an appreciation of the importance of both rigour and relevance in IS research.


Written work totalling up to 6000 words due during the semester comprised of a critical literature review (20%), a research method comparison (20%), and a quantitative analysis assignment (20%); a 2-hour written examination in the examination period (40%).

Prescribed Texts:

Neuman, W.L. (2005). Social Research Methods - Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, 6th ed. Pearson International. This is the current revised edition.

Miller, Steve. (1984) Experimental Design and Statistics (2nd Edition), Routlege.

Johnston, R. B. and Shanks, G. (2007). Research Methods in Information Systems: Selected Readings. Available at the University of Melbourne Book Room.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students should acquire a range of generic skills. They should:
  • Apply the concepts of qualitative and quantitative research in laboratory and assessable tasks;
  • Develop analytical skill through examination of quality research papers;
  • Enhance their collaborative skills through group work and assessment.
Links to further information:

This is a core subject in the BIS(Honours) course. Postgraduate coursework students, who are interested in undertaking a minor research project as part of their degree, must get permission from the MIS Academic coordinator to undertake this subject, prior to enrolment in 615-690 Minor Research Project in IS. Enrolments in 615-690 will be subject to supervisor availability.

Related Course(s): Master of Information Systems
Master of Information Systems
Master of Information Systems (Coursework)
Master of Information Technology
Master of Information Technology

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