Information Systems: To Be, or Not to Be, a Science? Is that the Question?

Robert D. Galliers, Mari-Klara Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debateResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In this commentary, we complement McBride’s (2018) paper by setting the debate in its historical context and building on the “rite of passage” notion that Chughtai and Myers (2017) introduced to denote the process of researchers entering a field of practice. We first summarize McBride’s (2018) main point concerning whether or not IS is a science and pick up on the systemic nature of IS. In doing so, we incorporate how researchers have historically treated the debate and distinguish science per se from the scientific method. We turn then to reflect on the point that this debate apparently refuses to die. We conclude with a forward-thinking section in which we consider the implications of our considering the topic not for the field as a whole but for individual IS researchers. We end with our own modest call for action in terms of focusing on the everyday practices of IS researchers - specifically, the rites of passage or transitions (and lack of them) we (should?) go through in how we practice our research.
In this commentary, we complement McBride’s (2018) paper by setting the debate in its historical context and building on the “rite of passage” notion that Chughtai and Myers (2017) introduced to denote the process of researchers entering a field of practice. We first summarize McBride’s (2018) main point concerning whether or not IS is a science and pick up on the systemic nature of IS. In doing so, we incorporate how researchers have historically treated the debate and distinguish science per se from the scientific method. We turn then to reflect on the point that this debate apparently refuses to die. We conclude with a forward-thinking section in which we consider the implications of our considering the topic not for the field as a whole but for individual IS researchers. We end with our own modest call for action in terms of focusing on the everyday practices of IS researchers - specifically, the rites of passage or transitions (and lack of them) we (should?) go through in how we practice our research.
LanguageEnglish
Article number12
JournalCommunications of the Association for Information Systems
Volume43
Issue number1
Pages197-204
ISSN1529-3181
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

Keywords

  • IS field
  • Practice
  • Rigor
  • Relevance
  • Rite of passage

Cite this

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Information Systems : To Be, or Not to Be, a Science? Is that the Question? / Galliers, Robert D.; Stein, Mari-Klara.

In: Communications of the Association for Information Systems, Vol. 43, No. 1, 12, 2018, p. 197-204.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debateResearchpeer-review

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