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Journal Issue
Volume 3 Issue 2 / Nov 2005  pp93‑148

Editor: Arthur Money

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Developing Information Systems Design Knowledge: A Critical Realist Perspective  pp93‑102

Sven A. Carlsson

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Abstract

Academic Information Systems (IS) research has a serious utilization and relevance problem. To increase IS research utilization and relevance, scholars argue that the mainstream IS research, which is based on the behavioral science paradigm, should be complemented with research based on the design science paradigm. The current IS design science frameworks have a strong focus on the IT artefact, in most cases an exclusive focus on the IT artefact. The frameworks have very little discussion and clarifications regarding underpinning philosophies, but most seem to be based on positivism, traditional realism, or pragmatism. This paper presents an alternative framework for IS design science research. The framework builds on that the aim of IS design science research is to develop practical knowledge for the design and realization of different classes of IS initiatives, where IS are viewed as socio‑technical systems and not just IT artefacts. The underpinning philosophy of the framework is critical realism which has been developed as an alternative to positivism and traditional realism as well as to constructivism (relativism). The framework proposes that the output of IS design science research is practical IS design knowledge in the form of field‑tested and grounded technological rules. The IS design knowledge is developed through an IS design science research cycle. The paper presents how technological rules can be developed as well as the nature of such rules. 

 

Keywords: Information systems, IS design, frameworks, rules

 

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