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Journal Article

Grounded in Practice: Using Interpretive Research to Build Theory  pp81-92

Bruce H. Rowlands

© Sep 2005 Volume 3 Issue 1, Editor: Arthur Money, pp1 - 92

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Abstract

This paper provides guidance for carrying out research using an interpretive framework to build theory of IS practice. The purpose of the paper is to provide an example of (a) factors influencing the choice of interpretive methods, (b) developing a theoretical framework, (c) particulars of data collection and analysis, and (d) an application of evaluative criteria applicable to interpretive research. This paper is different in that the focus is on describing the research process, conceptual issues and the research methods used rather than the findings. This format is important given that there is no accepted general model for communicating interpretive research, and few guidelines exist for conducting the inductive process central to interpretive research.

 

Keywords: interpretive perspective, case study, grounded theory, qualitative research

 

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Journal Article

Interpretivism and the Pursuit of Research Legitimisation: An Integrated Approach to Single Case Design  pp123-132

Felicity Kelliher

© Nov 2005 Volume 3 Issue 2, Editor: Arthur Money, pp93 - 148

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Abstract

While interpretive research is recognised for its value in providing contextual depth, results are often criticised in terms of validity, reliability and generalizability, referred to collectively as research legitimisation. This paper explores the criticisms levied on interpretive case studies and presents a research design that seeks to address these criticisms. The paper describes the research template developed by the author and applies it to a longitudinal case study carried out on a micro firm in the Republic of Ireland. Following some detailed evaluation and analysis the author concludes that legitimisation of an interpretative case study is improved when an integrative approach involving the combination of specific research techniques to relevant and appropriate standards is adopted.

 

Keywords: interpretive case study, qualitative research, legitimisation

 

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Journal Article

Learning from a Doctoral Research Project: Structure and Content of a Research Proposal  pp11-20

Javed Iqbal

© Jul 2007 Volume 5 Issue 1, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 36

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Abstract

Students have to present a formal research proposal at the time of admission or at the end of their first year study in the case of a doctorate. Many of them feel uncomfortable in preparing such proposals due to lack of experience or knowledge. This paper describes the way a research proposal may be prepared for doctoral projects in social sciences. The paper provides a road map to write a suitable proposal acceptable to their supervisors or examination committee. The proposal is based on a case study undertaken by the author and addresses key issues in preparing a postgraduate proposal including researcher's professional background, selection of topic, research question, research objectives, and importance of the study, scope, methodology, conceptual framework and potential outcome. These themes have been grouped under four parts: the context, the content, the process and the product.

 

Keywords: research proposal, social sciences, postgraduate study, case study

 

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Journal Article

The use of Grounded Theory and of ArenasSocial Worlds Theory in Discourse Studies: A Case Study on the Discursive Adaptation of Information Systems  pp105-116

Ana C. Vasconcelos

© Jul 2007 Volume 5 Issue 2, ECRM 2007, Editor: Ann Brown, pp37 - 124

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Abstract

This paper exemplifies the combined use of Grounded Theory and of the ArenasSocial Worlds Theory in a study of the discursive interaction amongst middle managers at a UK University administration and academic computing services. This study aimed at exploring the role of discursive interaction and negotiation in the organisational adaptation of information systems, by defining the premises upon which discourses were constructed and deployed on the basis of particular worldviews and how in turn they informed back different worldviews. It presents key lessons learned from this approach in relationship to the roles of codification, of relationships bewtween conceptual categories and between between theoretical influences and empirical work, as well as those emerging from the lived experience of research analysts.

 

Keywords: grounded theory, arenassocial worlds theory, discourse analysis, case study, information systems adaptation

 

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Journal Article

The Factors that Influence Adoption and Usage Decision in SMEs: Evaluating Interpretive Case Study Research in Information Systems  pp13-24

Japhet Lawrence

© Sep 2010 Volume 8 Issue 1, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 62

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Abstract

The conventions for evaluating information systems case studies conducted according to the natural science model of social science are now widely accepted, as a valid research strategy within the Information System research community. While these criteria are useful in evaluating case study research conducted according to the natural science model of social science, however, they are inappropriate for interpretive research. The nature and purpose of interpretive research differs from positivist research. Although, there are no agreed criteria for evaluating research of this kind, nonetheless, there must be some criteria by which the quality of interpretive research can be evaluated. This paper evaluates a case study research conducted under the interpretive philosophy. The paper discusses the criteria proposed by Myers (1997) for evaluating interpretive research in information systems.

 

Keywords: Interpretive research, case study, IS evaluation, internet, SME

 

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Journal Article

The use of the case study method in theory testing: the example of steel trading and electronic markets  pp57-65

Jessica Claudia Iacono, Ann Brown, Clive Holtham

© Jan 2011 Volume 9 Issue 1, ECRM 2010 Special issue Part 2/Jan 2011, Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary and Jose Esteves, pp1 - 87

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Abstract

Many of the research questions of interest to IS academics and practitioners concern the success or failure of change initiatives involving the introduction of new systems and practices, when the phenomenon interacts with the context, and the focus is on organisational rather than technical issues. These are exactly the types of research questions for which a case study method is well suited. This paper assesses the use of the case study method to test hypotheses and build theory while investigating the phenomenon of steel e‑marketplaces. The paper draws upon the lead author’s experience when working on her doctoral thesis ‘Factors Affecting the Viability of Electronic Marketplaces: an Empirical Investigation into International Steel Trading’. Although the case research strategy has mostly been utilised for exploration and hypothesis generation, the case method is appropriate to all phases of research. In this study the research objectives were identified as theory description and theory testing, and the case strategy was used to describe and test the hypotheses. The lead author undertakes a cross‑case analysis of multiple IT‑powered initiatives in order to develop theoretical propositions to be tested through subsequent research. This paper discusses how issues and concerns inherent in this method were dealt with, and assesses the quality of the findings.

 

Keywords: case study research, positivist research, building theory from case studies

 

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Journal Article

Design Science Research: The Case of the IT Capability Maturity Framework (IT CMF)  pp109-118

Marian Carcary

© Sep 2011 Volume 9 Issue 2, ECRM 2011 Special issue, Editor: Ann Brown, pp87 - 197

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Abstract

Design science (DS) is a problem solving paradigm that involves building and evaluating innovative artifacts in a rigorous manner to solve complex, real world problems, make research contributions that extend the boundaries of what is already known, and communicate the results to appropriate audiences. The importance of this paradigm in the Information Systems (IS) field has been recognised since the early 1990’s with the publication of seminal articles by for example Nunamaker et al (1991), Walls et al (1992) and March and Smith (1995). However, over the past 15 years, DS research in IS has been sparse. In more recent times this has begun to change, with an increasing number of research contributions considering DS research. DS research in IS is important as the dominant behavioural science paradigm is not sufficient for addressing the types of problems that call for human creativity and innovative and novel solutions. One widely debated problem in the IS field that calls for such novel solutions centres on how organisations manage, deliver and optimise value from their IT investments. This paper presents a DS research project in the IS field that aims to improve organisational ability in managing and optimizing value realised from IT investments through increasing maturity in critical areas. This research involves development of an IT Capability Maturity Framework (IT CMF). The IT CMF project is centered at the Innovation Value Institute (IVI) at the National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM). The IVI is a joint venture between NUIM, Intel and the Boston Consulting Group and seeks to drive innovation in the management and use of IT in order to optimise business value. The IT CMF represents an emerging blueprint of key IT capability processes, and at a high level consists of four integrated IT management strategies or macro processes: managing IT like a business, managing the IT budget, managing the IT capability, and managing IT for business value. The IT CMF represents a blueprint for incrementally improving these four macro processes across five maturity levels: initial, basic, intermediate, advanced, and optimized. These four macro processes are further broken into 32 critical processes (CPs), which are the key activities that an IT organisation needs to manage in order to deliver IT solutions and measure the business value generated. The content development and review for the IT CMF is performed by the IVI development community, which comprises academic researchers, industry based practitioner‑researchers and consultants based in over 55 global companies. This paper discusses its development in terms of key DS principles and presents reflections on the challenges and value associated with adopting a DS approach. The paper adds to the growing body of DS literature in the IS field, and enables other researchers and practitioners to judge the rigor with which the IT CMF artifact was created and evaluated, and its utility in practical application.

 

Keywords: design science, IT CMF, IS, case study, maturity models

 

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Journal Article

Researching Sustainable Development of the Rural Poor in India  pp185-194

Nicola Swan

© Sep 2011 Volume 9 Issue 2, ECRM 2011 Special issue, Editor: Ann Brown, pp87 - 197

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Abstract

This paper examines the methodology undertaken by one PhD researcher in a rural Indian context. The research built an in‑depth understanding of how to deliver an improvement in the sustainable development of local rural Indian villages. The sustainable development projects are developed and implemented by Non‑Governmental Organisations (NGOs) but are part funded through the corporate responsibility programme of a multi national Bank. The research focused on the processes used in the projects, how they were implemented and the outcomes achieved. The research is unusual in management research, in that it takes a stakeholder perspective rather than the more customary corporate perspective. Consequently the focus is on understanding the processes, implementation and outcomes from the perspective of three groups of stakeholders. The three groups are the Bank, the NGOs and the villagers who are the end recipients of the projects. This paper does not explore the outcomes of this research but rather describes the research methodology undertaken to effectively execute the research. The research methodology chosen was that of case study with an interpretivist stance. Whilst case study can be an umbrella term for multiple data collection tools, there was a focus on collecting data via discussion and observation, in line with the interpretivist paradigm. To achieve the required level of discussion and observation was facilitated by undertaking an ethnographically‑styled approach. This ethnographic‑styled approach included the researcher spending time living in the Indian villages with respondents to understand the outcomes of the sustainable development projects which had been undertaken from their perspective. The data gathering processes include structured, semi‑structured and in‑depth interviews across the three primary stakeholder groups of respondents. Other data gathering included observation, documentation, artefacts, video and photographs. In summary this paper provides an insight into a method for undertaking research in a local rural developing country context. It particularly focuses on taking a stakeholder perspective to corporate interventions in a community, rather than the more usual company focused approach. It further contributes to the development of appropriate methodology for contexts where the researcher is from a different cultural and linguistic background to the respondents.

 

Keywords: interpretivist case study, language barriers in research, video research, research in a developing country, ethnographic-styled approach

 

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