n South African Computer Journal - Some of the philosophical issues underpinning research in information systems - from positivism to critical realism : reviewed article




In response to the South African Computer Journal's editorial of June 2003, this paper reviews some of the philosophical issues underpinning academic research in Information Systems (IS). This is a reflective or theoretical paper, which considers a number of research paradigms and traditions and explores the relevance of Critical Realism as an appropriate philosophical base for IS Research. This paper does not intended to provide a definitive description of these research traditions. Rather it is hoped that the paper will stimulate a discussion about the use of these different paradigms, and in so doing respond to the call for IS researchers to be more aware of the research methodological options available to them. The paper concludes by suggesting that Critical Realism adds to the bouquet of philosophical options available to the IS researcher, and that it is an appropriate approach that transcends the limitations of both positivism and interpretivism.


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