Ethical Considerations for my Project Proposal

In consideration of the ethics lecture today, I want to determine if there are any ethical considerations involved with my current project proposal.

My proposal is: Introduction to quantum key distribution and its implications for enterprise.

The ethics approval process is required for any interaction with other people in relations to my research, such as interviews or surveys.

Currently, I can’t foresee any instances within my research that will incur the need for any serious ethical approval. My main areas that will require ethical integrity will be the research, where I will need to ensure that I reference everything that I use in my report so as to avoid plagiarizing anybody’s work.

One potential area that needs to be determined prior to the start of the research, is whether I interview any NZ businesses that require data encryption, as this will require me to clearly write a proposal of what information is sourced from this interview and the confidentiality of the businesses involved. This is an area that I will need to resolve before I hand in my project proposal.

Ethics

Ethics can be considered as social and moral values.

Based upon the examples that were given, these factors arose:

  • Informed Consent
    Need to make sure that every aspect of the research is made clear to the participants.
  • Disclosure
    Need to ensure that disclosure of information is stipulated prior to the research.
  • Consider the adverse implications of the research.
  • Aim to protect the privacy of the participant.
  • Aim to protect the health and well-being of the participants
    Need to be able to state, and prove, that “No one will be harmed in the research”.
  • Need to consider that people are able to pull out of the research at any time without reason.

 

Need to assess:

  • Who can be harmed?
  • If they can be harmed, how can this be avoided, or reduced?
  • Does the participant know the full details involved?
  • Does the participant have confidentiality, and if so, to what level?
  • What are your biases involved?

 

Ethical approval reasons:

  1. Protection
    It protects the researcher, the participants, the research organization, the supervisor, the participants organization.
  2. Confidence
    It means it is considered valid research, it’s credible, it can improve participation.
  3. Confirmation
    It is pre-checked, peer evaluated, highlights accountability.

 

Principles behind ethics approval process:

  1. Assess/minimize rick
  2. Voluntary participation
  3. Informed consent
  4. Confidentiality

 

Ethical actions stipulated in proposal:

  • Approval organized with ethics comitee
  • Inform what the research is for, what the data is being used for, the anonymity of the research, and what rights are involved for the participants.

Project Proposal: QKD and Enterprise Implications

Upon further deliberation on quantum key distribution (QKD) and the complexity surrounding it, I have begun to consider a slightly different avenue. Rather than attempt to have a mathematically rigorous understanding of QKD, I am thinking that I will attempt to understand it more conceptually than mathematically, and consider it from a business perspective. My reasoning behind this, is that I believe that this will provide me with more applicable knowledge, rather than purely theoretical knowledge.

With this in mind, I need to consider why it would be applicable for enterprises. Without any in-depth thinking, I can understand that keys are very important in the secure transport of data between specific parties and hence,  data needs to encrypted with the potential of decryption by the intended parties only, which is done by keys.

So, I have determined that keys are important in secure data transport, but what are keys exactly? The Techopedia website defines them as, “An encryption key is a random string of bits created explicitly for scrambling and unscrambling data”. [1] This can be understood as a key ciphers and deciphers the data. The issue with keys then, is that the data has the potential of being deciphered by an outside party depending upon the strength of the key.

An assumption can be made that every enterprise contains some form of data or information that needs to be kept secure, which implies that keys are an integral part of an enterprise’s infrastructure. This assumption can be verified through the blurb of the white paper, ‘Key Management in the Multi-Platform Environment’, by Townsend Security. [2]

The conclusion from this, is that the enterprise implications of QKD would be a viable study topic.

 

 

 

References

Project proposal: Considering Quantum Key Distribution.

Upon further research into quantum cryptography, I came across an application from this field; quantum key distribution, which I linked a YouTube video about this in my last post.

This specific area seems intriguing, so I would like to pursue it further in order to verify whether it is a topic that would be suitable for my project proposal.

The course syllabus from the edX ‘Quantum Cryptography’ OpenCourse contains introductory information on quantum key distribution, so it is still a potential source for research information.

A quick search on Google Scholar provides the following articles:

This shows that Google Scholar contains more than enough data for me to gain a comprehensive understanding of quantum key distribution.

 

Influencing Factors in my project decision:
The two main factors that are inhibiting my complete investment into this topic  are time and skill.

The project next semester is worth 2 papers, which relates to ~300 hours of work over the course of 12 weeks. My concern in regards to this topic for my project is the likelihood that I may need to invest far more time than what is required if I am to complete understanding of quantum key distribution. This is not beneficial, as this would negatively impact on my other papers.

The skill level of some concern as, although I do have a degree in applied physics and have learned quantum mechanical principles, it wasn’t my strength, and this will carry over into more time being required to understand the principles of quantum key distribution.

 

Conclusion
My current conclusion is that I will continue to look into quantum key distribution for my project proposal. This will provide me with a more in-depth analysis of the work involved if I were to research quantum key distribution for my project next semester.

Project Proposal: Considering Quantum Cryptography

During my last lecture in this class, as I was looking into potential areas of interest for my project, I came across quantum cryptography. This intrigued me as I have a some background in quantum physics as I took the papers during my applied physics degree, and I’m interested in learning more about cryptography.

However, before I fully invest into creating a project proposal around quantum cryptography, I need to consider a few factors:

  1. How much background knowledge of classical cryptography do I need to understand before I can fully understand quantum cryptography?
  2. What is the complexity level of the mathematics involved in understanding quantum cryptography?
  3. What is the complexity of the quantum physics involved in understanding quantum cryptography?
  4. How confident am I in being able to learn and understand the mathematical nomenclature, and the conceptual understanding behind quantum cryptography?

 

 

1.) How much background knowledge of classical cryptography do I need to understand before I can fully understand quantum cryptography?
The book chapter, ‘Introduction to Quantum Cryptography’ by Xiaoqing Tan, from ‘Theory and Practice of Cryptography and Network Protocols and Technologies’, mentions classical methods such as ‘one-time-pad’, private and public key cryptosystems, RSA cryptosystem, DSA, and ECDSA in its introduction. I currently have only ever heard of public and private keys in relation to cryptography, the rest are unfamiliar to me. This implies that I would likely need to do a bit of research to build up a classical cryptography foundation before attempting to do any extensive study on quantum cryptography.

 

2.) What is the complexity of the quantum physics involved in understanding quantum cryptography?
Within the second section of ‘Introduction to Quantum Cryptography’ by Xiaoqing Tan, which is called ‘Quantum cryptography fundamentals’, the mathematical formulae are written in bra-ket notation, and are describing Hilbert spaces. This level of mathematical computation is something of which I’ve only had a very brief exposure. Section 2.3 of the chapter delves into eigenstates, time-independent Hamiltonians, and unitary operators. All of which, I’ve had only minimal exposure. This chapter indicates the mathematical level required to understand quantum cryptography, and is probably at a level above my current capabilities.

 

3.) What is the complexity of the quantum physics involved in understanding quantum cryptography?
The article ‘Basic Quantum Cryptography’, by Gerald Scharitzer (Vienna Institute of Technology) makes mention of binary quantum states, wave particle duality, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, and the no cloning theorem. I have a basic understanding of these quantum concepts, so it shouldn’t be too much of a struggle to grasp their application in quantum cryptography.

 

4.) How confident am I in being able to learn and understand the mathematical nomenclature, and the conceptual understanding behind quantum cryptography?
Just from these two articles on quantum cryptography, I can see that were I to commit to this as my research project, it would involve of lot of prior learning in cryptography,  plenty of practice at quantum mechanics, and relearning the bra-ket mathematical notation. Currently, the conceptualization of quantum cryptography doesn’t seem very difficult, but the mathematical comprehension seems more complicated than what I’m used to.

My current plan is to keep this project idea on hold for the moment and check other avenues such as cryptocurrency. I will however, potentially look at ‘Introduction to Quantum Mechanics’, by David Griffiths, and revise on my quantum mechanical knowledge.

 

References

Project Proposal: Determining my interests

Topic Points and Reasons Why

  • The IT Subject that I have most enjoyed is …cloud computing, I also enjoy coding
    -I’ve enjoyed cloud computing because of how it creates inter-connectivity of a topic for multiple clients.
    -I enjoy coding as I love languages, and so I enjoy how programming is a mix between puzzle solving and language.
     
  • The IT Subject that I have least enjoyed is … Probably database design, but even that is pretty intriguing
    The reason I think this is the case, is likely because it is a course that fitted into my tech timetable rather than one that I was interested in studying.
  • The IT subject I am most interested in is … Security
    I’m not entirely sure as to why I’m most interested in this, I haven’t done any study in this field. I think it is probably because it sounds like it would be interesting, and I can understand the importance of it.
  • The IT subject I never want to do again is …I feel that I haven’t tried enough to have any specific thing
    There isn’t any one aspect of the IT study that I’ve done that I’ve felt any strong antipathy for it. My least favorite aspect in this course has been the amount of blogging required, but this is more because I’m unfamiliar with presenting my work and my ideas in this format. The more I do it, the more I understand the reasoning behind it.
  • I chose to study IT because I … enjoyed it and I know that it has high employment success
    During my last study, I took a first year paper in computer programming and discovered that I really enjoyed it. I decided to stay committed to what I was studying but kept IT in mind. Then, last year, after not finding any jobs that suited my degree, I decided to take up study once again, this time in the IT sector.
  • If I couldn’t study IT I would study …probably business management
    This is an interesting question for me, as I have studied something other than IT, and it wasn’t business management. However, during my year of work last year, and during my study this year, I have begun to recognize the importance of effective business management within a company. This is why I would potentially study business management if IT wasn’t an option.
  • When I was a kid I wanted to be a … Doctor
    I’ve always liked the sciences, and I find the anatomy and physiology of the human body incredibly fascinating. I used to want to be a doctor to help fix people, but as I grew older, I realized that I didn’t want to spend all of my time in a hospital.
  • One IT thing that I would like to know more about is … Security, but I haven’t tried this yet -It simply sounds exciting
    Again, this area of IT seems to fascinate me, so it is something that I would definitely like to know a bit more about.

Reading Exercise: What information can be attained from a research paper?

The purpose of this exercise is to take an academic paper and read in detail in order to determine specific information from it.

In my case, I will choose the paper that I found in my previous exercise, called ‘Information technology capability and firm performance: contradictory findings and their possible causes

The Abstract:

  • Does the abstract inform us of the research topic?
    • The statement, “…the positive link between information technology capability and firm performance,” at the start of the abstract implies that this is the research topic being reported.
  • Does the abstract inform us of what the authors have done?
    • Their statement, “we attempted to reexamine the link between IT capability and firm performance with data from the 2000s.” provides clear information of their method in which they researched their topic.
  • Does the abstract inform us of the author’s conclusion?
    • The statement. “the results of our current analysis showed no significant link between IT capability and firm performance.” is informative of their conclusions.

The Specific Research Question:

The specific research question posed in this paper is “whether superior IT capability can render a firm significant competitive advantage.”

The discussion section of this paper phrases the questions in a different manner: “Does the relationship between IT capability and business performance still hold true [based on studies by Bharadwaj (2000) and Santhanam and Hartono (2003)] after a decade of rapid and persistent changes in IT, such as wide adoption of Web technologies and enterprise application?”

The Methods Employed for the Research:

As this study was a reexamination of a trend suggested by previous studies, the method used here involved replicating, extending, and updating the studies with more data. (IT capability and firm performance, Discussion, page 311). Their method in testing their hypotheses, was “Bharadwaj’s ‘matched sample comparison group’ method to empirically test the proposed hypotheses.” They used matching samples method to minimize the influence that difference in industry and firm size can have on the variance of performance. (IT capability and firm performance, Method: Sample Selections, page 310). In order to determine that their samples did not include “significant difference in firm size”, a mean test (t-test) was utilized in comparing commonly associated firm size characteristics.

They employed the use of a “single control firm for each IT leader firm” and made “direct comparisons between IT leaders and control firms of similar size”. Their justification of only using one rather than many was the size of their sample, and their concern of validity if they had used a wide range of firm sizes as benchmark. (…Method: Sample Selections, page 310).

This study also used the “same variables as Bharadwaj to measure business performance.”

As their samples ended up being non-normally distributed, they used the ‘Wilcoxin signed-rank test’ to test their hypothesis. Their justification for this statistical method over a standard t-test, was that “the Wilcoxin signed-rank test is effective in removing the variance in performance influenced by the difference in industry.”

They also used the regression analysis procedure to test some of their hypotheses, which was the same method as that used in the study by Santhanam and Hartono. (…Method: Statistical Tests, page 311).

Credibility of the Paper:

The influences for the credibility of this paper, aside from the format, are the educational facilities stated below the respective authors’ names.

This article also contains about one and a half pages of references, which gives the information more weight of validity, which implies credibility.

Finally, the article is published in MIS Quarterly, which is “a peer reviewed scholarly journal” (MIS Quarterly, copyright 2017)

Opinion of Conclusion:

From what I understood of what had been written, their conclusion is a valid interpretation from their data analysis. The conclusion that they gave was that they “did not find any discernible evidence for the relationship between IT capability and business performance.” and “our evidence indicates that such a link no longer exists.”  Within their documentation they have suggested potential reasons for why their conclusion contradicts the previous conclusions, which implies to me that their conclusion is based solely upon the empirical data results, but they are willing to consider the rationale behind such results. (…Discussion, page 316)

Two Items Learned from Paper:

  1. Since the 2000′ s, the increased similarity, and decrease in cost of available IT products has created a system whereby most companies are able to purchase an affordable IT system. (…Discussion: Comparison of Performance, page 321). This is interesting to me, as I’m not old enough to have had an awareness of a time when IT was not readily available for business firms. I find it interesting how the commodity of IT systems has changed the expression of competition within business firms.
  2. The IW500, which selects companies that are leading in the field of business technology innovation, has evolved its selection criteria to match the constantly changing IT field. The IW500 is considered as a “reliable barometer” for determining the IT capability of firms’. (…Method: Sample Selection, page 309). This is interesting to me, as I have never heard of the IW500 before, and because this paper brings into question the validity of the IW500 for long term (longitudinal) studies due to its criteria constantly adjusting to match the “changing business and technological developments”. (…Method: Sample Selection, page 309)

My Understanding of Paper:

My understanding of the paper is as follows:

In summary, the paper describes an ideology that is commonly believed by researchers in Information Systems, and sets out to prove whether the foundation of that belief; the positive correlation between IT capability and firm performance still exists. Their research method involved using data sourced from the IW500 for the years of 2001-2004, and comparing it with data sourced from IW500 in two previous studies. The data was refined to avoid unnecessary input that would lead to misinformation from the statistical analysis that was applied to their data. The results of which, were measured against a set of hypotheses that were constructed in response to the background research of the question. The resulting conclusion was that there is no obvious link between IT capability and firm performance. This conclusion was then discussed, with potential flaws such as the validity of the IW500 as an information source, and the strength of IT capability as an indication of firm performance coming into question.

My personal understanding of some of the technical jargon such as ‘amortization’ and ‘binary variable’ did cause me some confusion but did not detract from the overall understanding of purpose of the research.

 

References

Chae, H. C., Koh, C. E., & Prybutok, V. R. (2014). Information Technology Capability and Firm Performance: Contradictory Findings and Their Possible Causes. Mis Quarterly, 38(1), 305-326. Accessed May 7, 2017.

(n.d.) About MIS Quarterly. http://www.misq.org/about/. accessed May 7, 2017.

Finding Research Papers: Google Scholar and ProQuest

In this lecture we have been covering two scholarly search engines; Google Scholar and ProQuest.

In both engines, I have typed in the following key words: computer network security.

Below is the result from Google Scholar:
GoogleScholar

In this we can see quite a few items of relevant information.

  • The title, which provides an idea of information provided in paper.
  • The subtitle of each result contains the publication date, and the site of publication.
    • These help with determining relevance and credibility.
  • The text below each result contains an excerpt of the abstract.
    • This helps determine accuracy of paper in relation to search topic.
  • The subtext contains a citation number, related versions, a citation option, and a save option.
    • Citation number provides a sense of security of the reliability of the publication.
    • Related versions provide other versions that may be of more use than the one displayed.
    • Google Scholar contains a ‘cite’ option, which can be very useful when looking into various search areas.
    • Google Scholar also contains a ‘save’ option to add the search result’s link to a file that can be accessed at a later time.
  • The left-hand sidebar contains article refinement options
    • These options can be modified in order to clarify and refine search constraints.
  • The right-hand sidebar contains hyperlinks that contain an available version of their respective search result.

 

Below is the result from ProQuest
ProQuest

Within this website:

  • ProQuest also contains the title of the search result, with the publisher’s name and date as the subtitle.
    • This information is important in determining its validity and credibility.
  • Rather than contain an excerpt of the abstract, ProQuest provides snippets of the abstract, which contain the key words.
    • This provides an idea of the premise of the searched words within the paper.
  • The subtext below the search result provides a link to the abstract and the full text.
    • Providing a link to the abstract enables the paper to be briefly viewed without committing to the entire document.
  • The left-hand sidebar contains refinement options.
    • The refinement bar is rigorous, which provides more accurate search results.
  • The search results can be selected to be cited, emailed, printed, or saved.
    • The multi-choice selection availability provides an ease of organization for the desired search results.

 

In my opinion, both search engines are useful and reliable. It appears to me that the ProQuest website contains links that may be more credible than the ones on Google Scholar, but it also contains a narrower range of information. I will likely be using Google Scholar as my go-to scholarly search engine. However, I will consider ProQuest if I want to look at a popular paper that would otherwise require payment for viewing, as the NMIT license for ProQuest may provide accessibility.

 

Academic Articles: An Exercise

In consideration of my blog on ‘Searching for Credible Evidence‘, which of my links were academic articles?

The rest were either books, non-academic articles, and media.

 

Now that I have a greater understanding of what constitutes an academic article, can I find two more articles, this time related to IT or computing?

 

Now for the two articles, can I find the following information?

  • Title and author(s) of the article
  • APA reference (give it your best shot!) (try using the ‘cite’ option on Google Scholar)
  • how you found the article and what keywords you used
  • what kind of article it is, ( journal paper, conference paper, masters thesis…..)
  • all the reasons that you think it is an academic article
  • how well it fits the ‘structure of an academic article’  that I described in my previous post
  • how many references it has
  • how many citations it has (if you can find out)
  • for articles that you found online,  the url of the article
  • say whether you are interested in properly reading the article or not (and give some reasons!)

 

Article 1

  • Information Technology capability and firm performance: Contradictory findings and their possible causes, -Ho-Chang Chae, Chang E, Koh, and Victor R. Prybutok
  • Chae, H. C., Koh, C. E., & Prybutok, V. R. (2014). Information Technology Capability and Firm Performance: Contradictory Findings and Their Possible Causes. Mis Quarterly, 38(1), 305-326. (Sourced from Google Scholar Citation option)
  • Article was found on Google Scholar, using the key words “Information Technology”
  • Journal Paper
  • Contains abstract, standard scientific article formatting, and references
  • 44 references
  • 116 Citations
  • http://aisel.aisnet.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3168&context=misq
  • It could be interesting to read if I had a greater understanding of economics

 

Article 2

  • A survey of mobile cloud computing: architecture, applications, and approaches
  • Dinh, H. T., Lee, C., Niyato, D., & Wang, P. (2013). A survey of mobile cloud computing: architecture, applications, and approaches. Wireless communications and mobile computing, 13(18), 1587-1611.
  • Article was found on Google Scholar using the key word “computing”
  • Journal Paper
  • Found on Google Scholar, contains an abstract and references
  • References unknown without seeing full text
  • 232 citations
  • http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcm.1203/full
  • It sounds like it could be an interesting read, and may provide me with some knowledge of mobile cloud computing that would build upon what I am currently learning in Net 702