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Research Methods (COMP90044)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeCOMP90044
Semester 1
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


Research is a process of acquiring new knowledge by systematically and rigorously applying methods to address well-formulated questions. To be valuable, new knowledge must address a significant theoretical question, it must be supported by evidence and be able to stand up to critical scrutiny, and its presentation to other researchers and/or to the public must be persuasive. This subject is an introduction to research thinking, skills and methodologies as they apply to computing and related disciplines. The subject will foster the development of critical thinking, a sceptical and rigorous approach, and awareness of research ethics. This subject will be particularly useful for students contemplating undertaking a research degree, or for students currently enrolled in a research degree (MPhil or PhD) or a course-work degree with a research project (MIT, MIS).


Research skills covered will include: surveying relevant literature, developing productive research questions, selecting and designing appropriate methods, analysing data and reasoning about their theoretical implications, communicating research both in writing and through oral presentation, and understanding the ethics of research. Qualitative methods covered include: ethnography, field data collection techniques (interviews, focus groups), thematic analysis, case studies and design-based research. Quantitative methods covered include: statistical thinking and techniques, hypothesis testing, experiment design, survey design, simulation studies.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this subject will be able to:

  • Survey relevant literature, identify gaps and formulate productive research questions.
  • Conduct effective research design and planning.
  • Communicate research effectively in written form.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of selected research methodologies.
  • Apply rigour and skepticism in the analysis, interpretation and evaluation of research findings.
  • Apply ethical guidelines governing academic research.

Generic skills

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

  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation, and solution
  • Ability to utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operational performance
  • Ability to manage information and documentation
  • Capacity for creativity and innovation
  • Ability to communicate effectively both with the engineering team and the community at large.

Last updated: 21 August 2019