CONISAR Proceedings 2017

Austin, Texas

Conference Highlights

2017 CONISAR Proceedings - Abstract Presentation

Towards a better understanding of the justification of choice of methods to be mixed in the same intervention during Action Design Research

Doncho Petkov
Eastern Connecticut State University

Olga Petkova
Central Connecticut State University

Design Science in Information Systems was elevated in importance since 2004 through the work of Hevner and others. A culmination of the synthesis of elements from Action Research and Design Science was the 2011 proposal for Action Design Research (ADR) by Sein and co-authors. It provided a process for executing design science research within the action research paradigm. It did not address however the choice of methods to include in an Action Design Research intervention and that is the motivation behind this research in progress. The purpose of this work is to contribute towards a more rigorous attitude to mixing methods in ADR. The contribution of the paper is in the outline of guidelines for the selection of methods towards the formulation of multi-methodology approaches in ADR. Historically were raised three major issues when mixing methods from different methodologies with various paradigmatic backgrounds in the same intervention: - Paradigm incommensurability, caused by the possibility to apply whole methodologies from different paradigms in a problem situation or to mix methods from different methodologies. - The guiding process for the systemic intervention and - What is the justification for selecting methods in a particular problem? Mixing methods in the same research project is necessary sometimes due to the complexity of a problem. It happens often in the context of Action Design Research. However sometimes that is done without full consideration of the three issues pointed above which diminishes the value of the results claimed and that is the motivation behind this research in progress. Paradigm incommensurability was addressed in a 2006 paper by the authors at the annual conference of the International Society for the Systems Sciences. The second aspect listed above was the subject of four papers by the authors: a 2007 paper in Decision Support Systems reflecting on how different mixes of methods were applied in three different systemic interventions and a 2008 paper in Organizational Transformation and Social Change on the process of systemic intervention, a 2013 paper with S. Alter and T. Andrew and a 2015 paper at European Conference in IS in Germany on a systemic framework to enhance client participation in IS development (with J. Wing and T. Andrew). There are no published guidelines on the third issue about selecting the mix of methods in an ADR intervention. We use as a starting point in our analysis what is known on the topic from the field of Systems Thinking. It relates to the ideas on supporting Multiple Perspectives through the three worlds of Habermas and the principles of Critical Systems Practice, a meta-theory proposed by M.C. Jackson. We are analyzing the practicality of the existing ways for justifying of mixing methods in a systemic intervention and provide reflections on the topic based on our practical experience. The results of this work are of practical value to practitioners and researchers in Information Systems Action Design Research.

Hevner, A.R., March, S.T., Park, J. and Ram, S. 2004. Design science in information systems research. MIS Quarterly, 28(1): 75-105. Jackson, M.C. 2003. Systems thinking: creative holism for managers. John Wiley, Chichester, UK. Petkov, D.I., Petkova, O., Nepal, T. and Andrew, T. 2006. Paradigm issues in critical systems thinking and their interpretation in three developmental systemic interventions. Complexity, democracy and sustainability. Proceedings of the 50th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, Sonoma, CA, 9-14th July 2006. The International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS). Petkov, D., Petkova, O., Andrew T. and Nepal T. (2007). Mixing Multiple Criteria Decision Making with Soft Systems Thinking Techniques for Decision Support in Complex Situations, Decision Support Systems (Elsevier Science Publishers), Vol. 43, 1615-1629. Petkov, D., Petkova, O., Andrew, T. and Nepal, T. 2008. On the process of combining soft systems methodologies and other approaches in systemic interventions. Journal of Organisational Transformation and Social Change, 5(3). Petkov, D., Alter, S., Petkova, O. and Andrew, T. 2013. On the suitability of Soft Systems Methodology and the Work System Method in some software project contexts. International Journal of Information Technologies and Systems Approach (IJITSA), 6(2): 22-34. Sein, M.K., Henfridsson, O., Purao, S., Rossi, M. and Lindgren, R. 2011. Action Design Research. MIS Quarterly, 35(1): 37-56. Wing, J.W., Andrew, T.N. and Petkov, D. 2015. A systemic framework for improving clients' understanding of software requirements. ECIS 2015 Research-in-Progress Papers, Paper 10.

Recommended Citation: Petkov, D., Petkova, O., (2017). Towards a better understanding of the justification of choice of methods to be mixed in the same intervention during Action Design Research. Proceedings of the Conference on Information Systems Applied Research, v.10 n.4578, Austin, Texas