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Research Methods and Philosophy of Science

Wirtschaftsinformatik research (Information Systems research) today is characterized by diverging basic ontological, epistemological and methodological positions and accompanying foundational assumptions. Depending on these basic positions, the distinction of and the comparison between paradigmatic views of science is reflected by discourses in philosophy of science (Frank 2007; Zelewski 2011). The IS field has a long history of discussing its research methods and different schools of thought. Reflections on the philosophy of science are sometimes considered dispensable philosophical exercises distracting from research. Whether perceived as such or not, the ontological and epistemological premises underlying any form of scientific investigation come with fundamental consequences for the conduct of IS research and the evaluation of its contribution to the knowledge of mankind. Not least, the debate related to the supposed need for so-called empirical evaluation of construction-oriented research recommends a recourse to corresponding discourses in philosophy and philosophy of science (Zelewski 2007). This includes reflections on the relation between theory and practice including patterns of transfer and exchange. A continuing discussion of research methods and the underlying basic positions is hence crucial for the future of the field as whole.

Hence, the purpose of this track is to discuss basic ontological, epistemological and methodological positions and schools of thought in the philosophy of science with respect to Wirtschaftsinformatik (Information Systems) research. Our objective is to provide a platform for researchers who seek to critically reflect the boundaries of basic positions, current paradigms and research methods used in IS research. We do not only welcome contributions exploring the functional adequacy and internal consistency of specific methods, but also the equally critical aspects of practical impact, ethical limitations, and societal implications. We also appreciate submission aimed at investigating the organization of scientific collaboration and the dissemination of research results. Furthermore, we welcome submissions on the adoption or integration of methods used in neighboring disciplines such as computer science, management science, sociology, linguistics, and philosophy of language.


  • Reflections on the object of inquiry of Wirtschaftsinformatik (Information Systems) research
  • Research Methods and Reflections on Ontological, Epistemological and Methodological Positions
  • Pluralism of Research Methods and Pluralistic Research Methods
  • Construction-Oriented Research and Design Science Research
  • Hermeneutics
  • (Neo-)Positivism and Behaviorism
  • Evaluation and Selection of Research Methods
  • Ethical and Societal Implications of IS research
  • Approaches to Teaching Research Methods
  • Scientific Identity of the discipline in the light of the discussion about so-called ‘reference Disciplines’
  • Construction and Evaluation of Methods
  • Basic Concepts in the IS discipline (e. g. concept of ‘model’, concept of ‘method’)
  • On the concept of ‘theory’ and theory development

Frank, U. (2007). »Ein Vorschlag zur Konfiguration von Forschungsmethoden in der Wirtschaftsinformatik«. In: Wissenschaftstheoretische Fundierung und wissenschaftliche Orientierung der Wirtschaftsinformatik. Hrsg. von F. Lehner und S. Zelewski. Berlin: GITO, S. 158–185.

Zelewski, S. (2007): »Kann Wissenschaftstheorie behilflich für die Publikationspraxis sein?« In: Wissenschaftstheoretische Fundierung und wissenschaftliche Orientierung der Wirtschaftsinformatik. Hrsg. von F. Lehner und S. Zelewski. Berlin: GITO, S. 71-120.

Zelewski, S. (2011). »Wissenschaftstheorie«. In: Gronau N., Becker J., Kurbel K., Sinz E., Suhl, L.: (Hrsg.) Enzyklopädie der Wirtschaftsinformatik: Online-Lexikon. München: Oldenbourg.

Track Chairs

Prof. Dr. Stefan Strecker
Enterprise Modelling Research Group Chair of Information Systems Development, University of Hagen, Germany
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dr. h.c. Jörg Becker
ERCIS - European Research Center for Information Systems, Institut für Wirtschaftsinformatik, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

Contact Track Chairs

Associate Editors

Sabine Matook, University of Queensland, Australien
Verena Nitsch, Universität der Bundeswehr München
Ingo J. Timm, Universität Trier - Lehrstuhl für Wirtschaftsinformatik I

Track 11 - Session 1

Forschungsmethoden und Wissenschaftstheorie / Research Methods and Philosophy of Science

15.02.2017, 11:00-12:30, Raum: 01-110

Session Chair: Jörg Becker und Stefan Strecker

Alexander Keller: How to Gauge the Relevance of Codes in Qualitative Data Analysis? - A Technique Based on Information Retrieval

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Thomas Friedrich; Sebastian Schlauderer; Julian Weidinger; Maximilian Raab: On the Research Paradigms and Research Methods Employed in the BISE Journal - A Ten-Year Update

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