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Department of Informatics Information Management Research Group

CHAIS DC 2024 Keynote

Keynote by Prof. Dr. Robert Winter, University of St.Gallen

Monday, 9th September | 17:30 – 19:00 | University of Zurich (Oerlikon Campus)

“One method doesn’t fit all (objectives and contexts): Towards more nuances in design-oriented IS research”

Being a non-mainstream IS research community and striving for legitimacy and top tier publication options in a field dominated by positivistic, macroscopic behavioral studies, design-oriented IS researchers were pressed in the 2000s to establish methodological guidance. The majority of design science research (DSR) publications justify their research design and research process by instantiating a small set of generic models and guidelines such as the design science research model (Hevner et al. 2004, 20200+ citations), the design science process model (Peffers et al 2007, 11600+ citations) or the design research contribution positioning model (Gregor and Hevner 2013, ca. 4200 citations).

Twenty years later, a growing amount of relevant design-oriented research and many design-oriented top tier IS journal special issues and conference tracks demonstrate that DSR became a legitimate mainstream research approach. Compared to the rich and diverse methodological guidance for, e.g., conducting positivistic, macroscopic behavioral research in IS, however, DSR’s methodological guidance is not very nuanced. For example, the huge diversity of potential IS artefacts (integrating technology, organizational, and human aspects) is often aggregated into only four meta artefact types for which specific design support is provided (March and Smith 1995, ca. 6500 citations). In a similar vein, the complex collaborative process of design-oriented activities is often aggregated into few idealized phases and / or iterations for which specific support is provided.

In this presentation, several methodological enhancements are presented that aim to support more nuances in design-oriented IS research:

  1. A more fine-grained, empirically founded artefact typology to support more efficient design knowledge organization and design guidance;
  2. The differentiation of different levels of abstraction that allow artefacts to be understood and designed as specializations of more generic – or generalizations of more specific – related artefacts;
  3. A design knowledge accumulation / evolution model to better understand and manage complex design processes with regard to design projectability, fitness and confidence;
  4. A hierarchical organization (“echelon”) model that allows not only to manage design-oriented research more effectively, but also so differentiate various types of intermediate artefacts and respective DSR contributions;
  5. A configuration model for DSR research designs;
  6. Patterns and other guidance that supports communicating design-oriented research according to certain contexts and objectives.