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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 Issue

Volume 9 Issue 1, ECRM 2010 Special issue Part 2/Jan 2011 / Jan 2011  pp1‑87

Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary, Jose Esteves

View Contents Download PDF (free)

Editorial

These papers dealt with the problems facing management researchers in a variety of ways. The keynote paper by Eileen Trauth discusses the issues that gender research raise for business. Three papers offer advice on qualitative data analysis, of which the paper by Carcary deals with methods of collection using IT, Ryan and Ogilvie identify an unusual data source and the third (Reiter et al) deals with the problem of choosing the appropriate research method. The two papers on research methodology address entirely different types of issue. The paper by Knowles and Michielsens gives all a fascinating insight into research methods that top journals apparently prefer. Iacono et al demonstrate how effective case study methods can be in developing theory. The two final papers address the subject of teaching research methods but again offer widely different views.

 

Keywords: autodriving, building theory from case studies, CAQDAS, case study research, categorisation, coding, critical theory, diversity, epistemology, feminism, gender and IT, gender differences, grounded theory, individual differences, interpretive research, interpretivist research, interviews, iterative process, marking rubrics, memos, N-vivo, phenomenology, photoelicitation, positivist research, primary data, projective prompts, qualitative, qualitative data analysis, qualitative research, quantitative, RAE 2008, REF 2013, research audit trail, research in large classes, research mentors, research method selection, research methodology, research methods, research outcomes, research training, social inclusion, teaching quantitative research, theory, theory of gender , Web 2, women and IT workforce,

 

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