Session 2: Getting to Grips with Research


In the past 50 years, many disciplines have undergone vigorous debates in relation to the validity of research approaches. This session will focus on competing dichotomies in research approaches, geographic polarisation, pluralism v. incommensurate paradigms, ontology, epistemology, methodology and axiology. Folowing this, the issue of methdological fit, i.e. ensuring the internal consistency or good fit between research elements such as research question (the 'what is to be done' question),  prior work (the 'what else has been done' question), research design (the 'how it is to be done' question) and the research contribution (the 'what is it likely to lead to' question). 

Supplied Readings

  • Fitzgerald, B. and Howcroft, D. (1998) Towards Dissolution of the IS Research Debate: From Polarisation to Polarity, Journal of Information Technology, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 313-326.  pdf doc
  • Edmondson, A & McManus, S (2007) Methodological Fit in Management Field Research, Academcy of Management Review, 32(4): 1155-1179. pdf doc

Preparation for Session 2 

  • Read the two supplied readings. 
  • Identify 3 brief ‘carry home’ lessons from Fitzgerald and Howcroft and 3 from Edmondson & McManus.

Discussion questions for Session 2 Getting to Grips with Research

Based on the Fitzgerald & Howcroft paper, identify your position on

  • Ontology
  • Epistemology
  • Methodology
  • Axiology

Are these research paradigms incommensurable?

Based on the Edmondson & McManus paper, is your research area in a mature, nascent or intermediate research maturity state?


Further Readings

  • Braa, K., & Vidgen, R.T., (1999). Interpretation, intervention and reduction in the organizational laboratory: a framework for in-context information systems research. Information and Organization, 9(1): 25-47
  • Mintzberg, H (1979) An emerging strategy of "direct" research, Administrative Science Quarterly, 24, 4, 582-589
  • Sandberg, J and Alvesson, M (2011) Ways of constructing research questions: gap-spotting or problematization? Organization, 18(23).