MDA691 - Project Management and Research Methods

Credit Points: 20 credit points

Workload: 60 hours

Prerequisite: Four core units

Co-requisite: N/A

Aims & Objectives

This is a core unit out of a total of 12 units in the Master of Data Analytics (MDA). This unit addresses the course learning outcomes and complements other units in a related field by developing students’ specialised knowledge of project management, research methods and project design. For further course information refer to: This unit is part of the AQF level 9 (MDA) course.

This unit provides students with experience in research methods and the knowledge and skills to plan and effectively manage projects. It covers professional practice and ethics in the context of projects design and management. The unit employs industry based projects and follows projects from conception through to completion. It covers the key knowledge areas identified by the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK) developed by the Project Management Institute. The unit enhances knowledge and uses in-depth analysis of common issues/risks that project team members often face and introduces strategies to mitigate these issues/risks. This unit helps students to learn about how project characteristics, planning and management differ in the context of current enterprise case studies.

The unit, together with MDA692, constitutes a capstone final year project. Students will work under an assigned project supervisor who will assist in the selection of the project topic. Students spend substantial time researching, analysing, and developing the requirements, project plan and preliminary design for a capstone project. There will be a set of lectures and workshops on topics including project planning and industrial project issues. Students will apply what they have learned during their course to planning and designing a capstone project. Students will analyse requirements relevant to the formulation of the approach to their project.

This unit gives students experience in putting into practice the concepts, methods and principles learned in the core units of the MDA course, employing the appropriate use of project planning methods as well as an ability to utilise communication and technical skills to convey information on their projects in realistic situations.

This unit will cover the following topics:

  • Research skills in project design
  • System modelling, simulation, and experimental redesign
  • Project design and management processes
  • Initiation and planning of projects 
  • Scheduling, resourcing, budgeting projects 
  • Project quality, risk management and ethics
  • Project management integration and closure.

Learning Outcomes

4.1 Course Learning Outcomes
The Course learning outcomes applicable to this unit in respect of the course being studied are listed on the Melbourne Institute of Technology website: 

4.2 Unit Learning Outcomes
 At the completion of this unit students should be able to:
a. develop and apply project management skills as a strategic tool for the planning and execution of a major project;
b. critically research, review and analyse current literature in response to capstone project requirements;
c. exercise project leadership skills: manage schedule and resources, identify and assess risks in design and monitoring of progress;
d. demonstrate effective communication skills, and ethical and professional behaviour in relation to client interaction;
e. collaborate effectively and efficiently in a team, and develop professional reporting and writing skills.

Weekly Topics

This unit will cover the content below:

Week Topics
1 Project Management (PM) Overview – PM basics, PM selection and prioritisation, organisational structure, organisational culture, project life cycle, and project management roles of the parent organisation, chartering projects
2 Initiation and Planning Projects – Project initiation, stakeholders’ analysis, project scope planning, constraints, priorities, developing work breakdown structure and communication planning.
3 Project Risk Planning – Plan risk management, risk management process, organisational risks in data analytics predictions and decisions, risk identification, risk assessment, risk response development, risk response control and ethics in project management
4 Scheduling Projects – Purpose of a project schedule, define and sequence activities, estimate activity duration and develop project schedules
5 Resourcing Projects – Estimate resource needs, create staffing management plan, assign resource to each activity, and project crushing, budgeting, and cost control
6 Leading and Managing Project Team – Acquiring and developing a project team, managing, and leading the project team, managing stakeholder expectations, managing conflict in project team and managing global project teams; determining project progress and results; closure of projects
7 Approaches for Systematic Literature reviews and referencing
8 Quantitative research methods
9 Qualitative research methods
10 Modelling and Simulations as Research Tools – types of models, simulation methods, planning and execution of experiments
11 Prototyping, demonstrators as Research Tools; redesign response to simulations
12 Review


Assessment Task Due Date Release Date % Learning Outcomes Assessed
Assignment 1a Individual report
Assignment 1b Group report: Project Requirements Analysis and Specification* and Individual Report
Week 3 (10/4/2022)
Week 5 (24/4/2022)
Week 1 5%
Assignment 2 Group report: Project plan and preliminary design*, and Individual Report Week 9 (22/5/2022) Week 1 30% b
Assignment 3 Group report: A report on research undertaken for project planning, and research methods to be used for the next stage of the project*, and Individual Report Week 11 (6/6/2022) Week 1 40% a-c,e
Assignment 4 Group presentations Week 7 class
Week 11 class
Week 1 5%
TOTALS     100%  

*Within a group task, a number of subtasks will be assigned to individuals by the project supervisor. This, along with individual contributions to the project, will be used to assess individual outcomes.

Contribution and participation (in class)
Students are expected to attend each scheduled session, arrive on time and remain for the entire session. Adherence to this requirement will be reflected in the marks awarded for this assessment. Students are also strongly encouraged to actively participate in the class discussions and tutorial activities by answering questions, expressing their opinions, insights and their learnings from the course.

Presentations (if applicable)
For presentations conducted in class, students are required to wear business attire.

Textbook and Reference Materials


  • None


  • T. J. Kloppenborg, Contemporary Project Management: Organize, Plan and Perform. 3rd ed., South-Western Cengage Learning, 2014.
  • C. Gray and E. Larson, Project management – The managerial process. 6th ed., New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013.
  • K. Schwalbe, Information technology project management 7th ed., Course Technology, 2014.
  • M. H. Gregory, Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Project Management. 3rd   ed., Que Publishing, 2012.

Internet References


  • IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems.
  • IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence.
  • Foundations and Trends in Machine Learning.
  • Journal of Machine Learning Research.
  • Artificial Intelligence.
  • International Journal of Machine Learning and Cybernetics.
  • International Journal of Artificial Intelligence.
  • Intelligent Data Analysis.
  • Applied Artificial Intelligence.
  • Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence.
  • Journal of Artificial Intelligence.

Adopted Referencing Style: IEEE. For IEEE Style referencing guidance go to:


Graduate Attributes

MIT is committed to ensure the course is current, practical and relevant so that graduates are “work ready” and equipped for life-long learning. In order to accomplish this, the MIT Graduate Attributes identify the required knowledge, skills and attributes that prepare students for the industry.
The level to which Graduate Attributes covered in this unit are as follows:

Ability to communicate Independent and Lifelong Learning Ethics Analytical and Problem Solving Cultural and Global Awareness Team work Specialist knowledge of a field of study


Levels of attainment Extent covered
The attribute is covered by theory and practice, and addressed by assessed activities in which the students always play an active role, e.g. workshops, lab submissions, assignments, demonstrations, tests, examinations.
The attribute is covered by theory or practice, and addressed by assessed activities in which the students mostly play an active role, e.g. discussions, reading, intepreting documents, tests, examinations.
The attribute is discussed in theory or practice; it is addressed by assessed activities in which the students may play an active role, e.g. lectures and discussions, reading, interpretation, workshops, presentations.
The attribute is presented as a side issue in theory or practice; it is not specifically assessed, but it is addressed by activities such as lectures or tutorials.
The attribute is not considered, there is no theory or practice or activities associated with this attribute.