Information Systems is an applied discipline, and as such, it seems reasonable to conclude that the main purpose for undertaking research is ultimately to improve the practice (actions) and / or understanding of practitioners of IS in organisations. If this premise is accepted, then it can be asserted that IS researchers should focus on applied research, on improving knowledge and on making a difference in the real world, and in this way, to avoid a chasm developing between academic research and organisational practice with respect to IS. IS researchers have for some time now been exhorted to consider action research as a suitable candidate research approach amongst the repertoire of methodologies embraced by the discipline (West et al. 1995). Action research, after all, boasts many features which would tend to suggest it is ideally suited to study aspects of the planning, development and implementation of information systems within their human, organisational environments. However, action research is not without its critics, and there are concerns that it is too similar to consultancy and that it lacks scientific rigour for it to be regarded as a serious candidate to guide rigorous research in this discipline. The authors reject this notion, but would support the need for researchers to ensure that their action research studies are indeed rigorous. To help achieve this end, a framework to ensure rigour in action research studies is presented.
Proceedings of the Fifth Americas Conference on Information Systems (ACMIS 1999), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States, 13-15 August 1999