Beyond Intuition: Towards a Framework for Empirical-Based Design Theory Building in Design Science Research

AbstractOver the past twenty years, Design Science Research (DSR) has received major attention within the IS domain. Besides constructing and evaluating artefacts, researchers put effort into theorizing on IT design and its effects on users. Here, the development and testing of design theories is of major interest. Yet, design theory studies often lack empirical investigations on the identification of appropriate design features. Whereas in general DSR activities incorporate empirical investigations on many levels, the intertwined development of a theoretical model in connection with design features can further profit from empirical investigations by exploring the design realm of a specific context. We therefore propose a qualitative five-step approach suitable for inducing design features and theoretical constructs by engaging experienced stakeholders. We present a case study on the development of a support system for physiotherapeutic treatments, illustrating the proposed approach.

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