Learning from First-Generation Qualitative Approaches in the IS Discipline: An Evolutionary View and Some Implications for Authors and Evaluators (Part 2/2)

Suprateek Sarker, Xiao Xiao, Tanya Beaulieu, Allen S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


Qualitative research in the information systems (IS) discipline has come a long way, from being dismissed as “exploratory research” or “preresearch,” not worthy of being featured in “scientific” and authoritative journals in the discipline, to a state where such research is seen as legitimate and even welcome within much of the mainstream IS research community. Recent editorials have expressed concerns regarding the research community’s lack of awareness about the diverse nature of qualitative research and the apparent confusion regarding how these diverse approaches are different. In this two-part editorial, Part 1 focused on analyzing first-generation qualitative research approaches based on four key elements (theory, data, analysis, and claims), and discussed how each of these elements might vary depending on the type (i.e., genre) of the qualitative study. In Part 2, we examine qualitative studies published over the past 17 years in four leading journals for evidence related to the genres identified in Part 1 of this editorial. Specifically, our goal was to assess the recognition of various genres in the published papers, and to determine whether there was sufficient internal consistency for a given genre within each paper. Based on the results of the assessment, we offer lessons for authors, reviewers, and editors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Systems
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)909-923
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Research methodology
  • Qualitative research
  • Research genres
  • Case study research
  • Positivism
  • Interpretivism
  • Grounded theory
  • Hermeneutics
  • Ethnography
  • Information systems discipline
  • Methodology references

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