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ICT30005 Professional Issues in IT – Briefing Paper Assessment Guidelines

ICT30005 Professional Issues in IT – Briefing Paper Assessment Guidelines;
Summer 2015
Group or Individual: Individual
Due Date: by 5pm Thursday 15/1
Submission: Online via Blackboard. File type must be a MS Word Doc.
NO hardcopies accepted. See Unit of Study Outline for late submission penalties.
Word Limit: 1500 words +/- 10% (not including Reference List).
Marks: This assessment item contributes 15% of your final grades
Description of Assignment
At the end of the semester your project team will be making a presentation on “Current
Challenges Facing the ICT Professional”. This briefing paper assessment is the start of your
research geared towards developing that presentation.
Each team member is to research one significant topic and write a briefing paper on the topic
(for the benefit of their team members in compiling a series of questions for use in an
interview with an ICT professional).
It is common for briefing papers to be written in industry, so that professionals may remain
informed about issues that matter to their employer. Developing the skills of research and
communication required to write effective papers is important, and will commend graduates
to employers. Reviewing accumulated knowledge is an essential early step in the research
process, (whether researching to write an academic paper, or, as here, researching to
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ICT30005 Professional Issues in IT – Briefing Paper Assessment Guidelines
produce a business briefing paper, or, again as here, to develop a presentation).
For this assignment, in order to put some structure around the briefing paper, the
requirement is to write the paper in the genre of a literature review, as described below.
(Below the terms ‘briefing paper’ and ‘literature review’ will be used interchangeably,
although you should note that not all ‘briefing papers’ take the form of a ‘literature review’.)
A literature review is a description of relevant published knowledge from a particular field or
selected topic/s. It considers what has been written by others, properly attributing content to
authors, and compares and contrasts various perspectives. In general, such a review also
evaluates the material reported upon: your purpose in writing the briefing paper is to convey to
your reader not only what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic but also what the
strengths and weaknesses are for each particular piece of reviewed literature (University of
Toronto, 2011). Developing the paper will also help you gain experience in collecting data and
then presenting it, in writing, in a coherent way. This is a skill that that is very much in
demand from employers who are not just seeking individuals with good technical skills but
also with good communication skills.
As mentioned, undertaking the research and reporting on it is a necessary first step towards
preparing for the presentation that your team will give, and also in preparing for the interview
the team will conduct with a practicing ICT professional. It is therefore important that all team
members read and comprehend the details of ALL briefing papers prepared by team
Some documents providing a guide about literature reviews are provided on Blackboard.
Use of the Briefing Papers
Your completed individual paper will be used together with those of your team members in
order to develop a set of questions on a range of topics to use for your subsequent group
interview of an ICT professional. That interview will need to canvass the professional’s
opinion/s and experience/s as it relates to the topics of all the team members, as well as to
issues raised in PIIT lectures, and issues that the interviewee might raise themselves in the
interview. Through the process of all team members reading the various briefing papers, the
team will be able to approach planning for the interview, and subsequently for the
presentation, in an informed manner.
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ICT30005 Professional Issues in IT – Briefing Paper Assessment Guidelines
After interviewing the IT professional and gaining a practitioner’s view on your topic you will
then be asked to prepare a Group Report for submission, whose primary focus will be on the
experience of your team’s briefing papers, in the working life of the interviewed professional
Briefing Paper Topics
The briefing paper should cover ONE of the following topics1:
Cloud Computing
Big Data
Data Analytics
Data Visualisation
Data profiling
Green IT / ICT and Sustainability
Diversity in the IT Workplace
Surveillance in the workplace/
Google Glasses
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
The self-quantifiable movement
Social Media in the Workplace
Codes of Ethics
Professional Codes of conduct in different professions in Australia
Codes of Ethics
Professional Codes of conduct in ICT in different countries
Software contracts and liability
Note that several topics could well be researched from a technical or from an application / societal context
perspective. In this unit, it is not appropriate to take the technical perspective, save where technical issues impact
on the application of the technology in context. Hence, for example, if your topic is “cloud computing”, you should
focus on how organisations use cloud computing, what the issues are, where the impediments are, etc., rather
than on the detailed hardware and software technologies needed to implement cloud computing.
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ICT30005 Professional Issues in IT – Briefing Paper Assessment Guidelines
ICT employment
Digital Divide
Life-long learning
Negative/positive issues surrounding the National Broadband Network (NBN) OR
A topic of YOUR choosing to be agreed with your tutor.
The individual briefing topics of the members of your team should be selected carefully, and
collaboratively, so that they support the end product i.e. the team presentation which address
the theme of “Current Challenges Facing the ICT Professional”.
You should complete your briefing papers before information from the structured interview is
gathered. Reviewing the literature on the topic area at this time helps you to plan, and focus
the interview more meaningfully on certain aspects found to be important.
The briefing paper should include approximately 7 to 10 sources. These sources should be
based around a mix of academic publications such as books, texts, (serious) magazines and
peer-reviewed conference proceedings and journal papers, and not just internet references,
and they must be correctly referenced in-text as a mix of direct quotations and paraphrases
and also listed at the end of your document in a reference list, using the Harvard referencing
schema. The validity of the material you provide is strengthened by inclusion of articles from
peer-reviewed literature; often internet material is simply in the form of ‘opinion pieces’,
lacking validation and generally written to support the author’s possibly biased opinions.
References to core information (rather than opinion) on Wikipedia are no substitute for
references to the original source material upon which the Wikipedia article was written – it is
always better to read the source, and then to refer to it and I hope that you will follow this
NB: a reference list is a list of ONLY the information sources you refer to in your work
whereas a bibliography is a list of all the information sources you refer to in your work and
other sources you have looked at while preparing your work but did not actually use. You are
required to construct a reference list, not a bibliography.
You are not expected to read all literature on your topic in fine detail; in fact, one of the skills
to be learned is the ability to read papers and other items at different depths. You are
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ICT30005 Professional Issues in IT – Briefing Paper Assessment Guidelines
expected to locate the key papers and read them in detail and to get a general idea of the
contents of other papers to place the total discussion in context.
The briefing paper should be structured with an Introduction, Body (where you review your
literature) and Conclusion (Please be creative and NOT use headings such as ‘Body’) and
should attempt to provide the reader with answers to some of the questions asked in Figure
Figure 1: Some of the questions the review of literature can answer.
Adapted from Hart, C 1998, Doing a literature review: Releasing the social science
research imagination. London, Sage, p. 14. Source: The Learning Centre UNSW, viewed 21
December 2011, .
Skills to be developed
Writing the Briefing paper is designed to help you develop the following skills:
Reading at different levels of depth. You cannot read all the papers your survey
must cover. Identify the key papers and read them all in the traditional way. If you
are using some of them for your presentation you may want to read these twice
and/or try the ideas on some examples of your own. Other papers you might only
skim (see more detail below).
Locating relevant papers. The most obvious starting point for identifying sources
is an internet search, and/or search in the library. To go beyond the initial
sources, there are various methods that you can use. Look in the bibliography of
those papers you have already got to identify other authors in the field. This will
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ICT30005 Professional Issues in IT – Briefing Paper Assessment Guidelines
only take you backwards, however. To go forward, look for recent publications by
the same authors or other papers on this topic. You can access the www pages of
the authors of key papers, or you can email them. You can skim through relevant
journals or conference proceedings. You may find the Library’s online resources
useful for tracking down papers electronically.
Organising the material. It will not be enough to merely record who said what when.
You must try and relate the common ideas in the papers you have read. What were the
key ideas and when and by whom did they appear? How were they propagated? What
were the dead-ends? What are the rival approaches and the hot issues? An issuebased organization of the survey will be preferred to a merely historical account, i.e. try
to tell a story about the development of the research.
Managing your time. 15-30 hours is not a lot of time and can easily be dissipated in
undirected reading and fruitless searching. You must structure your activities to make
efficient use of your time. Leave plenty of time for writing the review. Do not leave
everything until the week before the deadline.
Taylor, D 2011, The literature review: A few tips on conducting it, University of Toronto,
viewed 19 December 2011, .
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