Research Methods in Information Systems

Subject ISYS90031 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Students are expected to attend all seminars and actively participate. This requires reading relevant material before the seminar.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours, comprising of one 3 hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment:

200 hours


Permission to undertake subject must be obtained from the MIS Academic Coordinator



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof Martin Gibbs


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

Indicative Content

Topics covered will include qualitative and quantitative research methods commonly used in social science research such as those often used in the Information Systems discipline. Also, covered will be epistemology and theory, methodology and methods; how to conduct a literature review and identify research questions; how to design research that is both rigorous and relevant; research ethics; and writing techniques.

Learning Outcomes:

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Be familiar with the main research methods used in IS research
  2. Understand the main concepts underlying the selection of a research method for different types of research questions and stages of research
  3. Develop an appreciation of the importance of both rigour and relevance in IS research.
  • One individual critical literature review (40%) of approximately 2000 words due mid-semester, requiring approximately 45-50 hours of work. Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) 1 to 3 are addressed in the critical literature review.
  • One individual research methods evaluation and design assignment (50%) of approximately 2500 words due at the end of semester, requiring approximately 50-60 hours of work. ILOs 2 to 3 are addressed in the assignment.
  • Participation in seminar activities and contributions to online discussion (10%) throughout the semester, requiring approximately 15-20 hours of work. ILOs 1 to 3 are addressed in seminar activities and online discussion.
Prescribed Texts:

Neuman, W.L. 2011. Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, Allyn and Bacon

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

On completion of this subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Ability to undertake literature search and critical analysis of literature
  • Ability to plan and implement a complex research project
  • Capacity for independent critical thought, rational inquiry and self-directed learning
  • Profound respect for truth and intellectual integrity, and for the ethics of scholarship.
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 ISYS90044 Minor Research Project in IS. Enrolments in ISYS90044 will be subject to supervisor availability.

Learning and Teaching Methods

The subject is delivered in a 3 hour classes with each class containing a lecture and seminar discussion.

Indicative Key Learning Resources

At the beginning of the semester, the coordinator will propose a textbook on research methods and it will be made available through University Book Shop and library. The current suggested textbook is W. L. Neuman: Social Research Methods Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Pearson Education International. Students will also have access to lecture notes and lecture slides. The subject LMS site also contains links to recommended literature and other resources.

Careers/Industry Links

This subject covers topics essential for most careers as a social researcher. Understanding research methods is crucial for anyone who wants to pursue research as part of their future studies or careers. Research skills are also important for careers that involve critical thinking, investigation and problem solving such as systems and business analysis.

Related Course(s): Doctor of Philosophy - Engineering
Master of Information Systems
Master of Information Systems
Master of Information Systems
Master of Philosophy - Engineering
Master of Science (Information Systems)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: MIS Professional Specialisation
MIS Research Specialisation

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