Advancing Design Science Research with Solution-based Probing

AbstractWe propose solution-based probing as an extension of action design research. The core idea is that researchers bring a prototype solution (probe) into one or more fields and explore to synthesize robust and generalizable design knowledge, along with knowledge of the phenomena and correlations we discover. We believe proposing solutions creates opportunities for researchers to innovate and to document the impact. In addition, solutions can be effective probes for advancing theory, in terms of design theories and in creating exploratory foundations for behavioral and causal theory. We illustrate solution-based probing with four exemplar studies in the areas governance of municipalities, police work in informing citizens, learning in public schools, and naval decision making. We identify critical activities for ideating and initiating solution-based probing and for deriving sustainable solutions and scholarly knowledge from such studies. Finally, we discuss future directions for improving researchers’ ability to conduct high-impact solution-based probing research.

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