Research Methods in Information Systems

Subject ISYS90031 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3 hours of seminar discussion per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Three 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.

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.
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 organisational information systems and interaction design: literature review and conceptual study, survey, experiment, case study, ethnography, cultural probes, design science.


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.

A critical literature review of 2000 words (20%) due early semester; an organisational information systems research assignment of 2000 words (20%) due mid semester; and an interaction design research assignment of 2000 words (20%) due end of semester; a 2-hour written examination in the examination period (40%).

Prescribed Texts:

Neuman, W.L. (2005) Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, 6th edition, Allyn and Bacon

Shanks, G. and Gibbs, M. (2008) Research Methods in Information systems: Selected Readings. Available at the University of Melbourne Bookshop.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students should develop skills in literature search and analysis, critical thinking and independent learning.

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 obtain 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
Master of Science (Information Systems)
Master of Spatial Information Science

Download PDF version.