Information Systems - Information Systems Research

Information Systems Research

Information systems research is generally interdisciplinary concerned with the study of the effects of information systems on the behavior of individuals, groups, and organizations. Hevner et al. (2004) categorized research in IS into two scientific paradigms including behavioral science which is to develop and verify theories that explain or predict human or organizational behavior and design science which extends the boundaries of human and organizational capabilities by creating new and innovative artifacts.

Salvatore March and Gerald Smith proposed a framework for researching different aspects of Information Technology including outputs of the research (research outputs) and activities to carry out this research (research activities). They identified research outputs as follows:

  1. Constructs which are concepts that form the vocabulary of a domain. They constitute a conceptualization used to describe problems within the domain and to specify their solutions.
  2. A model which is a set of propositions or statements expressing relationships among constructs.
  3. A method which is a set of steps (an algorithm or guideline) used to perform a task. Methods are based on a set of underlying constructs and a representation (model) of the solution space.
  4. An instantiation is the realization of an artifact in its environment.

Also research activities including:

  1. Build an artifact to perform a specific task.
  2. Evaluate the artifact to determine if any progress has been achieved.
  3. Given an artifact whose performance has been evaluated, it is important to determine why and how the artifact worked or did not work within its environment. Therefore theorize and justify theories about IT artifacts.

Although Information Systems as a discipline has been evolving for over 30 years now, the core focus or identity of IS research is still subject to debate among scholars such as. There are two main views around this debate: a narrow view focusing on the IT artifact as the core subject matter of IS research, and a broad view that focuses on the interplay between social and technical aspects of IT that is embedded into a dynamic evolving context. A third view provided by calling IS scholars to take a balanced attention for both the IT artifact and its context.

Since information systems is an applied field, industry practitioners expect information systems research to generate findings that are immediately applicable in practice. However, that is not always the case. Often information systems researchers explore behavioral issues in much more depth than practitioners would expect them to do. This may render information systems research results difficult to understand, and has led to criticism.

To study an information system itself, rather than its effects, information systems models are used, such as EATPUT.

The international body of Information Systems researchers, the Association for Information Systems (AIS), and its Senior Scholars Forum Subcommittee on Journals (23 April 2007), proposed a 'basket' of journals that the AIS deems as 'excellent', and nominated: Management Information Systems Quarterly (MISQ), Information Systems Research (ISR), Journal of the Association for Information Systems (JAIS), Journal of Management Information Systems (JMIS), European Journal of Information Systems (EJIS), and Information Systems Journal (ISJ).

A number of annual information systems conferences are run in various parts of the world, the majority of which are peer reviewed. The AIS directly runs the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) and the Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), while AIS affiliated conferences include the Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS), European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), the Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems (MCIS), the International Conference on Information Resources Management (Conf-IRM) and the Wuhan International Conference on E-Business (WHICEB). AIS chapter conferences include Australasian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS), Information Systems Research Conference in Scandinavia (IRIS), Conference of the Italian Chapter of AIS (itAIS), Annual Mid-Western AIS Conference (MWAIS) and Annual Conference of the Southern AIS (SAIS).

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