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ISYS 3015 Research Methods ISYS3015 Analytical Methods for Information systems professionals Week 2 Lecture 1: The Research Process.

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Presentation on theme: "ISYS 3015 Research Methods ISYS3015 Analytical Methods for Information systems professionals Week 2 Lecture 1: The Research Process."— Presentation transcript:

1 ISYS 3015 Research Methods ISYS3015 Analytical Methods for Information systems professionals Week 2 Lecture 1: The Research Process

2 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Topics Review core themes of the course Overview of the research process Introduction to Qualitative Inquiry Further reading and follow-up work

3 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Course Aims Aims of this section of the course - to understand diversity of approaches to research - to appreciate the range of epistemological positions - to explore methods of qualitative research - to relate qualitative research methods to IS practice and to a range of user-centred and participatory IS design approaches

4 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Scientific Research –Logic, reason, systematic evaluation - repeatable Social Science Research –Logic, reason, opinion, evaluation – non-repeatable –People learn by being examined –The effect of consciousness of the probe Management Process –General management, strategic planning, policy development, consultancy

5 ISYS 3015 Research Methods The Planning & Management Process Terms of reference Environmental appraisal Mission statement Consider options Decide strategy Implement Evaluate Feedback

6 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Three Types of Research Descriptive research –finding out Explanatory research – explaining ; identifying causality; theory/model; prediction Evaluative research – evaluation of strategies, policies, programs 7 practices

7 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Competitive Approaches Positivist & Critical Interpretive Research Quantitative & Qualitative Experimental & Non-experimental Inductive & Deductive

8 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Data Issues Primary & Secondary Data Self-reported & Observed data Validity, reliability and generalisability

9 ISYS 3015 Research Methods The Theory – Practice Dualism THEORY – texts about the theory of qualitative research usually describe theoretical origins, explain and debate epistemological matters PRACTICE – texts about the practice of qualitative research describe procedures for generating, analysing, interpreting and writing about qualitative data. Managing field studies etc.

10 ISYS 3015 Research Methods A note of caution Common assumption that practice is about everything theory is not… - theory is about everything that is non-practical and practice is non-theoretical. Theory is “applied to” practice, practice is the domain in which theory is “used” Beware of this over simplification The theory-practice dualism is more complex - Theory guides practice AND practice informs theory Note: we will return to explore this issue when we consider Action Research in Week 7

11 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Four Elements of the Research Process What methods do we propose to use? What methodology governs our choice and use of methods? What theoretical perspective lies behind the methodology in question? What epistemology informs this theoretical perspective?

12 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Methods Research methods are the techniques or procedures we plan to use in our research Research methods are used to gather and analyse data When talking about research methods we talk at a very detailed level The choice of methods is central to the progress and success of our research project and depend on: –Purpose of the research –Location of the research –Position of the researcher –Cost ($, time etc.)

13 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Methodology The research methodology describes our strategy or plan of action This is the research design – shaping our choice of methods and linking that choice to the research outcomes Gives a rationale for our choice of methods and the way we employ those methods

14 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Theoretical Perspective The assumptions we bring to our chosen methodology. The philosophical stance that we are taking in our research By articulating our theoretical perspective we present our view of the human world and ground our assumptions i.e. our way of looking at the world and making sense of it. Examples: –Positivist –Critical –Interpretivist

15 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Our theoretical perspective (way of looking at the world) involves knowledge and embodies a particular understanding of “how we know what we know”. –“Epistemology is concerned with providing a philosophical grounding for deciding what kinds of knowledge are possible and how we can ensure that they are both adequate and legitimate” (Maynard 1994, p10) e.g. –Objectivism –Constructionism (the epistemological stance of many qualitative researchers)

16 ISYS 3015 Research Methods The four elements inform one another Epistemology  Theoretical perspective  Methodology  Methods

17 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Examples of each category

18 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Qualitative vs. Quantitative or Positivist vs. Interpretive/critical Research? Very often the qualitative and quantitative research are set against each other. Polar opposites. However these are really discussions based at the method level, not at the epistemological or theoretical perspectives level (the research paradigm level) At the epistemological level we are distinguishing between objectivist, constructivist, subjectivist research At the theoretical perspective level between positivist and interpretive/critical research

19 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Contrasting positivist and interpretive approaches Positivist Controlled setting for research Subject is an object in the research Research design fixed Researcher ‘outside’ Emphasis on reliability Interpretive Complex, real world setting for research Subject is a participant in the research process Research design evolving Researcher ‘inside’ Emphasis on validity

20 ISYS 3015 Research Methods So, what is qualitative research? Emerged from the social sciences Provides researchers with methodologies and methods for understanding people and their actions within social and organisational settings Usually very contextual, focussed on the understanding of the richness and complexity of the settings within which people live, learn and work

21 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Additional reading A list of readings and useful websites can be found at:

22 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Week 4: The Research Process The individual and the research process

23 ISYS 3015 Research Methods What do you bring to qualitative research? Epistemological beliefs Action theories (Argyris & Schon, 1974) -Espoused theories -Theories in use What are your research strengths and weaknesses?

24 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Experiential learning cycle and reflective practice Concrete experience (feeling) Abstract conceptualisation (thinking) Active experimentation (doing) Reflective observation (watching) transform groupgroup The experiential learning model (Kolb 1984)

25 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Being a part of a research group What are the main issues we need to consider when participating in collaborative or team-based research?

26 ISYS 3015 Research Methods What shapes the research process? There are influences on all aspects of the research process, on: –The research design –The role of the researcher –The collection and analysis of data –The writing up of a research project –The publication of results

27 ISYS 3015 Research Methods The role of the researcher Question for consideration: How does the role of the researcher influence the research process?

28 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Political and ethical issues Question for consideration: What political and ethical issues might influence or shape the way a research project is carried out?

29 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Our research practice Question for consideration: What practical actions can we take to help us understand the various influences on the qualitative research process?

30 ISYS 3015 Research Methods Qualitative data Sources of data include: - participant observation - interviews -documentary analysis Types of data: - semantic analysis (elicited data) – data we acquire in response to questions we ask - observational data – data acquired through observation of the phenomenon of interest (researchers perceptions, video tapes, field notes...) - Emic data – collected and described in categories relevant to the participants - Etic data - collected and described in categories defined by the researcher

31 ISYS 3015 Research Methods IS Research The rigor and relevance of debate Where does the field of information systems have its origins? Does this influence the way research is carried out? What are the main sources of information for IS research? How do we evaluate the information we use to inform our research (what aspects of information should we address?)

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