Presentation on theme: "Is Information Systems a Science? An inquiry into the nature of the Information Systems Discipline By: Chris Burrows & Patrick ODonovan."— Presentation transcript:
Is Information Systems a Science? An inquiry into the nature of the Information Systems Discipline By: Chris Burrows & Patrick ODonovan
Presentation format About the paper Information Systems is NOT a Science Information Systems is a Science Conclusions Questions
About the paper Authors: –Deepak Khazanchi (University of Nebraska) –Bjorn Munkvold ( Agder University College, Norway) Date: – Summer 2000 References: –>70 Publication: –The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems – Summer 2000 (Vol. 31, No.3)
About the paper (2) Subject: –The Information Systems (IS) field is currently undergoing a crisis of identity. –Academics are questioning the need for IS departments in universities / colleges. –Practitioners ignore IS as a distinct field of study. –The article outlines these and other challenges and concludes IS as an emerging science.
Science is the state of knowing-knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through the scientific method. (Merriam-Webster Online, 1998)
Information Systems Research, King 1993, p 283. Field of study Is IS a field of study or just an intellectual convocation that arose from the confluence of interests among many individuals from many fields.
Identity, the core of IS IT department, deployment of IT resource Management Department, use in organisational behaviour or marketing
IS A Techincal System A Social System A Conceptual System
Technology Enabler of IS Technology quickly changing, leaving current thinking behind
What does it include What kinds of phenomena are included in the study of IS? What is the conceptual domain of the IS discipline? What is the potential for finding underlying uniformaties in the IS discpline? What is the status of methodological rigor in IS research?
Members of IS Skeptical of own field Cross discipline
Business Lack of Government understanding Ivory Tower, research is key
Conclusion Too fragmented No real core No real knowledge Lack of faith and understanding
Information Systems: a science Define Information Systems Define Science Examples of its scientific nature Conclusion
Definitions Information Systems: –Interpreted differently by different groups of people: A technical system A social system A conceptual system –This makes it hard to arrive at a precise definition
Definitions Information Systems: –Basic: meaningfully processed data Meaningful = relevant to the user Data = raw symbols or facts
Definitions Information Systems: –More detailed: a collection of interrelated components that work together to collect, process, store and distribute information to support decision-making and control an organisation. Components: hardware, software, procedures, people, databases
Definitions Science: –Key distinguishing characteristics: Any science must have a distinct subject matter or phenomena A science has some means of describing and classifying its subject matter A science utilises the method of science to investigate its subject matter Presupposes the existence of underlying laws, principles and theories
Information Systems: a science Critical assessment of the nature of the IS discipline. –By applying criteria based on a version of the natural science model –Findings: There are fundamental characteristics of the natural sciences that are clearly applicable to the IS field
Information Systems: a science IS Phenomena –Any science must have a distinct subject matter, a set of phenomena which serves as a focal point for investigation –Not all can agree what should be included however there are common elements –IS focal point: information technology
Information Systems: a science Describing and Classifying the IS field –A science has some means of describing and classifying its subject matter –Cushings (1990) states that although IS is a young discipline substantial progress has been made in identifying and classifying its subject matter.
Information Systems: a science Underlying Uniformities in IS Phenomena –The general aim of theory development and knowledge accumulation in IS research is a key argument favouring the status of IS as a science.
Information Systems: a science IS Research Methodology –Social science is not united by the subject matter but by their research methodology –Methods are techniques sufficiently general to be common to all sciences –IS investigators use these techniques depending upon the nature of the IS phenomena being studied.
Information Systems: a science A counter argument: it has no intellectual core, it borrows from many referent disciplines. –What about Physics? Greatly influenced by maths or electronic engineering. –What about Geology? Greatly influenced by Physics and Chemistry
Information Systems: a science Another counter argument: It has a lack of cumulative of knowledge. The IS fields foundations are young and tentative –What about Newtonian Physics: It was similar New scientific knowledge was built on it
Information Systems: a science Conclusion –IS field includes a systematic body of organised knowledge –Studied using diverse but rigorous scientific methods: Methods which are transferable across subjects – Although IS derives its models / theories from other disciplines so do social sciences
Information Systems: a science What if??? –IS community would have lost their identity –Reductionist view of therole of IS in organisations and society as the focus would shift to how technology could support existing practices and business processes –A loss in proactive research