Reconsidering the Role of Research Method Guidelines for Qualitative, Mixed-methods, and Design Science Research

AbstractGuidelines for different qualitative research genres have been proposed in information systems (IS). As these guidelines are outlined for conducting and evaluating good research, studies may be denied publication simply because they do not follow a prescribed methodology. This can result in “checkbox” compliance, where the guidelines become more important than the study. We argue that guidelines can only be used to evaluate what good research is if there is evidence that they lead to certain good research outcomes. Currently, the guidelines do not present such evidence. Instead, when it is presented, the evidence is often an authority argument or evidence of popularity with usability examples. We further postulate that such evidence linking guidelines and outcomes cannot be presented. Therefore, it may be time for the IS research community to acknowledge that many research method principles we regard as authoritative may ultimately be based on speculation and opinion, and thus, they should be taken less seriously as absolute guidelines in the review process.

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