Cultivating Recalcitrance in Information Systems Research

Carsten Sørensen, Edgar A. Whitley, Shirin Madon, Dasha Klyachko, Ian Hosein, Justine Johnstone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


There is an ongoing debate about how to improve the quality of empirical research efforts in information systems. One of the persistent issues within the debate concerns the relative importance of social and technical aspects of an information system and how to study these different elements. Contemporary research within science and technology studies suggests that social science inquiries can learnfrom empirical enquiries within the natural sciences through the notion of recalcitrance in experimental subjects. The aim of this article is to conduct an initial exploration of the usefolness of these ideas in the context of empirical information systems research. The following three research methods are subjected to a first theoretical analysis: (1) longitudinal, interpretive case study; (2) quantitative case study; and (3) laboratory experiments. For each of the three methods, an example is studied together with reflections from the researchers conducting the particular study. It is concluded that although this does not represent a solution to all methodological problems, adopting the perspective of cultivating recalcitrance and designing research methods toinclude objectors provides an additional perspective, which can enrich and deepen the empirical work as well as further qualify the methodology discourse between researchers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRealigning Research and Practice in Information Systems Dev. : The Social and Organizational Perspective
EditorsNancy L. Russo, Brian Fitzgerald, Janice I. DeGross
Number of pages20
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
Publication date2001
ISBN (Print)9780792374206, 9781475763669
ISBN (Electronic)9780387354897
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes
EventIFIP TC8/WG 8.2 Working Conference on Realigning Research and Practice in Information Systems Development: The Social and Organizational Perspective - Boise, United States
Duration: 27 Jul 200129 Jul 2001


ConferenceIFIP TC8/WG 8.2 Working Conference on Realigning Research and Practice in Information Systems Development
Country/TerritoryUnited States
SponsorBoise State University, University College of Cork, Ireland, Northern Illinois University
SeriesIFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology


  • Technology study
  • London School
  • Information system research
  • Group decision support system
  • Longitudinal case study

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