‘Paradigm wars’ • Paradigms reflect assumptions about knowledge and how it can be obtained – what is valid research? – which research methods are appropriate? • Positivist: reality is objectively given and can be described by measurable properties independent of the researcher – Formal propositions, hypothesis testing, generalising • Interpretivist: we can access reality through social constructions such as language, shared meanings – Rich descriptions of IS in context • Critical: social reality is historically constructed, thus the aim of research is emancipation Case studies • A research approach? (Yin) – “investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context,especially when the boundaries between the phenomenon and context are not clearly evident” (Yin 1994:13) • A method for data collection? (Galliers) • A unit of study & analysis? (Stake) Research themes Literature Insights Theoretical foundations Literature-based scrutiny Knowledge Theory Series of Conceptual frameworks Reflect Plan Analyse Collect data Plan • Plan the data collection: – – – – What cases? In what organisations? Access? Standard forms, interview protocol, equipment, recording data • Plan the analysis – What method of analysis – Forms, structure, software to help Access • To the case (organisation) – Case selection – Observation & document analysis • To the people – Participant selection – Access to their views & actions (interview & observation techniques) • “what it is to be rather than see a member of the organisation” – Participant’s opinions and stories, not analysis – Verify your understanding Collect data • Use the plan as a guide • Things will change in the field • Close interrelationship between collecting data and analysing it Analyse • Coding: concepts in the conceptual framework provide initial codes • ‘any other’ code to include unexpected outcomes • Ties the data analysis to the research themes Reflect • Deliberate and conscious thought about your research – What do these findings mean? – Implications for the conceptual framework? • Reflection either validates or revises and extends the conceptual framework • Keeps the researcher honest: – Look for disconfirming evidence – Look for alternative explanations – Review your research methods References • • • • • • • • • • • IS World at http://www.qual.auckland.ac.nz/ D. Silverman, “Qualitative research: meanings or practice?,” Information Systems Journal, vol. 8, pp. 3-20, 1998. W. J. Orlikowsky and J. J. Baroudi, “Studying information technology in organizations: research approaches and assumptions,” Information Systems Research, vol. 2, pp. 1-28, 1991. K. M. Eisenhardt, “Building theories from case study research,” Academy of Management Review, vol. 14, pp. 532-550, 1989. A. S. Lee, “Integrating positivist and interpretive approaches to organizational research,” Organization Science, vol. 2, pp. 342-365, 1991. R. E. Stake, “Case studies,” in Handbook of Qualitative Research, N. K. Denzin and Y. S. Lincoln, Eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1994, pp. 236-247. A. S. Lee, “A scientific methodology for MIS case studies,” MIS Quarterly, vol. 13, pp. 32-50, 1989. H. K. Klein and M. D. Myers, “A set of principles for conducting and evaluating interpretive field studies in information systems,” MIS Quarterly Special Issue on Intensive Research,, 1998. G. Walsham, “Interpretive case studies in IS research: nature and method,” European Journal of Information Systems, vol. 4, pp. 74-81, 1995. R. K. Yin, Case study research: Design and methods. Beverly Hills, CA.: Sage, 1984. E. G. Guba and Y. S. Lincoln, “Competing paradigms in qualitative research,” in Handbook of qualitative research, N. K. Denzin and Y. S. Lincoln, Eds. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1994.