Introduction to ICT Research Methods


(a)          Explain how the term ‘research’ as used in science differs from how it is used in everyday life. Then provide an example of an ICT research project that uses action research to illustrate your definition.

(4 marks)



(b)          A research project commonly includes the following phases: define research problem, design research, collect data, analyse data and report findings. In your own words, briefly describe what occurs in each of these phases.

(5 marks)



(c)          A project is defined as a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result, and these are some of the attributes of a project:

  • Is temporary
  • Has a deliverable
  • Has a unique purpose
  • Requires resources, often from various areas
  • Involves uncertainty/risk


The research project described in the abstract below is temporary as it will have ended once the data analysis was done and the findings were published. Describe how each of the other attributes listed above is a characteristic of the project.


Studies show that virtual project teams are on the increase, so organizations need assurance that they can be managed just as effectively as traditional projects. The virtual project structure introduces new challenges for project managers. One such challenge is the development and maintenance of trust within the virtual environment. The aim of this research is to explore the role of trust in virtual project teams and to investigate how trust influences project outcomes. Data was collected from a survey of members of the Project Management Institute. A model of trust in the virtual team environment was proposed and tested using Partial Least Squares (PLS). The results show that team trust predicts project success. Institution-based trust is found to have an influence on swift trust; however, the role of swift trust on virtual project success was less clear. The study also finds that the perceived traditional experience of the project manager does not have any influence on virtual project success. Project managers must be aware of both interpersonal as well as organizational factors of trust as they plan for project success. This research adds to the body of knowledge by providing insights into trust dynamics in the virtual project structure.

(4 marks)





(d)          A variety of both research and professional codes of ethics exist; for example, the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007), the ACS Code of Ethics and the Singapore Computer Society Code of Conduct.

  1. List two (2) themes that commonly appear in codes of ethics and explain why each of them is important.
  2. Mobile technology has made location tracking commonplace, and metadata retention legislation will make this and other information potentially available to government agencies. Describe one (1) potential ethical risk that this advance in technology has contributed to.
  • Describe one (1) example of an ethical issue that ICT researchers might encounter during their research.

(6 marks)



(e)          Answer the following questions about project management:

  1. Explain the relationship between the critical path of a project and slack time.
  2. Explain how a tracking Gantt chart differs from one used to plan a project.

(6 marks)






  • Identify the variables that would need to be measured to test whether the each of the statements below is true. Give each variable a meaningful name and indicate whether it is an independent or dependent variable.
  1. Faster average network throughput results from implementing in-transit buffer mechanism (ITB).
  2. Whether a person is male or female influences how likely they are to buy a VR headset.

(4 marks)



  • Consider the following hypothesis and answer the questions below about it:

H1: Implementing intelligent user interfaces leads to improved user satisfaction

  1. Explain whether the hypothesis expresses a causal relationship or not.
  2. What is the null hypothesis associated with the hypothesis?
  • Is H1 a directional or a non-directional hypothesis? If it is directional, provide a non-directional hypothesis that could be associated with it. If it is non-directional, provide a directional hypothesis that could be associated with it.
  1. What research strategy would be best for testing this hypothesis? Why?

(7 marks)



  • In your own words, explain the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics. Then indicate which type of statistic you would need to answer the following research questions and explain why:
  1. RQ1: Does age influence information security behaviour?
  2. RQ2: What are important issues currently facing IT managers?

(6 marks)



(d)       Explain how non-probability sampling techniques differ from probability sampling techniques Use examples of specific techniques in your answer.

(2 marks)




(e)       The following questions relate to quantitative data analysis.

  1. How do nominal and ratio scales differ? Why do researchers need to consider which type of scale they use when collecting data?
  2. Explain what type of quantitative data the chi-square statistical test can be used with.


(6 marks)





  • You wish to use survey research to answer the following research question:

RQ:  Does having experienced a previous malware attack influence user security behaviour?


  1. Describe key variables that you would you need to measure.
  2. What form of data generation approach would you use: questionnaire or interview? Why?
  • What sampling frame could you use?
  1. How would you recruit participants?

(7 marks)


(b)       The following abstract describes a project.

The recent area of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) has brought new challenges to developers of network protocols. Energy consumption and network coverage are two important challenges in wireless sensor networks. We investigate intelligent techniques for node positioning to reduce energy consumption while coverage is preserved. A genetic algorithm is developed to create energy efficient node positioning in wireless sensor networks. The results of a proof of concept implementation show that the intelligent algorithm can extend the network lifetime for different network positioning methods.

  1. What makes this project research?
  2. Explain what type of research strategy (i.e. common research approach) was used in the project.
  • What do the researchers mean when they describe their implementation as a ‘proof of concept’?

(6 marks)



(c)          Explain how case study research and action research differ. Your answer should include three (3) key differences and examples of each to illustrate these differences.

(6 marks)

(d)          i. Suggest a suitable sampling frame and approach to sampling from that sampling frame (i.e. sampling technique) for the following research question:

RQ2: What are the most important issues currently facing Chief Information Officers?


  1. Describe how you could answer this research question using survey research.

(6 marks)






QUESTION 4 – Short Answer (25 MARKS)

(a)       The four categories of ICT products that might be designed and created as part of ICT research are constructs, models, methods and instantiations. Provide a detailed example of each type and explain why it fits into that category.

(6 marks)



(b)     Answer each of the following questions about experiments:

  1. Why do researchers choose experiments as an approach to answering their research questions?
  2. Why is it good to randomly allocate participants to experimental groups?
  • Explain the difference between a true experiment and a field experiment.

(6 marks)



(c)       Use of the Internet by consumers is growing rapidly, but you have been unable to find concrete information on how successfully consumers are using it to locate and acquire goods they need.


Identify a research question and hypothesis for a research study you might undertake to investigate one aspect of this issue. Label the independent variable and the dependent variable in your hypothesis.

(6 marks)



(d)       “A project’s schedule depends only on the project’s task durations”. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Explain your response.

(4 marks)



(e)       In your own words, explain what causality is.  If you wish to establish causality in your research, what conditions must be established?


(3 marks)


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