Configuration of Research Methods in Information Systems
"The Configuration of Research Methods in Information Systems - A preliminary Framework". ***Abstract*** Research in IS is geared to the ideal of behavioristic social sciences. However, in recent years, there has been a plethora of publications, which question whether a neo-positivistic approach is the only proper research method in Information Systems. When it comes to the realisation of future business models and the deployment of future technologies, the development of methods and design artefacts seems to be more suitable. However, such an approach - sometimes referred to as "design science" or "constructive" - implies severe epistemological problems, which are mainly related to the very notion of scientific research. Does a design artefact qualify for a result of scientific research? If so, what is the difference between a scientific design artefact and artefacts produced by consultants or software firms? Within the neo-positivistic paradigm, research results are hypotheses or theories, which are evaluated by testing them against reality using accepted research methods and common concepts of truth - such as the 'correspondence theory of truth'. However, this kind of evaluation is not possible for design-oriented research, unless you want to wait for the many years it would take to apply and test the approach in practice.
Against this background, the presentation will focus on three questions: What are the criteria, a decision between a behavioristic approach and a constructive approach could be based on? How could a research method look like that fits the specific requirements of a constructive approach? How could both approaches to IS research be combined in a synergetic way?
Ulrich Frank holds a chair for Information Systems and Enterprise Modeling
at the Institute for Computer Science and Business Information Systems (ICB) University of Duisburg-Essen
Jun 20, 2005
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