How critical realism clarifies validity issues in information systems theory-testing research

Stephen P. Smith, Robert B. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Validity is an enduring theme in the information systems (IS) domain. However, because much of that discussion draws, at least nominally, on an Empiricist orientation, formulating issues of validity in a way that is pertinent to a practice-oriented discipline has been difficult. This is particularly true for external validity, which refers to the applicability, or relevance, of research to phenomena in the broader environment of practice, but also for measurement, ecological, and internal validity, all of which are needed to establish rigor in human-centred practical research. We argue that critical realism presents a number of insights that profoundly clarify a discussion of validity in practice-oriented theory-testing research. We reformulate the notions of theory testing and research validity from the critical realist perspective and illustrate new insights gained using a discussion of a controlled experiment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5 - 28
Number of pages24
JournalScandinavian Journal of Information Systems
Volume26
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Critical realism
  • Validity
  • hypothesis-testing
  • theory

Cite this

@article{31e66ff5084440f889a3d695f576c9d2,
title = "How critical realism clarifies validity issues in information systems theory-testing research",
abstract = "Validity is an enduring theme in the information systems (IS) domain. However, because much of that discussion draws, at least nominally, on an Empiricist orientation, formulating issues of validity in a way that is pertinent to a practice-oriented discipline has been difficult. This is particularly true for external validity, which refers to the applicability, or relevance, of research to phenomena in the broader environment of practice, but also for measurement, ecological, and internal validity, all of which are needed to establish rigor in human-centred practical research. We argue that critical realism presents a number of insights that profoundly clarify a discussion of validity in practice-oriented theory-testing research. We reformulate the notions of theory testing and research validity from the critical realist perspective and illustrate new insights gained using a discussion of a controlled experiment.",
keywords = "Critical realism, Validity, hypothesis-testing, theory",
author = "Smith, {Stephen P.} and Johnston, {Robert B.}",
year = "2014",
language = "English",
volume = "26",
pages = "5 -- 28",
journal = "Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems",
issn = "0905-0167",
number = "1",

}

How critical realism clarifies validity issues in information systems theory-testing research. / Smith, Stephen P.; Johnston, Robert B.

In: Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2014, p. 5 - 28.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - How critical realism clarifies validity issues in information systems theory-testing research

AU - Smith, Stephen P.

AU - Johnston, Robert B.

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - Validity is an enduring theme in the information systems (IS) domain. However, because much of that discussion draws, at least nominally, on an Empiricist orientation, formulating issues of validity in a way that is pertinent to a practice-oriented discipline has been difficult. This is particularly true for external validity, which refers to the applicability, or relevance, of research to phenomena in the broader environment of practice, but also for measurement, ecological, and internal validity, all of which are needed to establish rigor in human-centred practical research. We argue that critical realism presents a number of insights that profoundly clarify a discussion of validity in practice-oriented theory-testing research. We reformulate the notions of theory testing and research validity from the critical realist perspective and illustrate new insights gained using a discussion of a controlled experiment.

AB - Validity is an enduring theme in the information systems (IS) domain. However, because much of that discussion draws, at least nominally, on an Empiricist orientation, formulating issues of validity in a way that is pertinent to a practice-oriented discipline has been difficult. This is particularly true for external validity, which refers to the applicability, or relevance, of research to phenomena in the broader environment of practice, but also for measurement, ecological, and internal validity, all of which are needed to establish rigor in human-centred practical research. We argue that critical realism presents a number of insights that profoundly clarify a discussion of validity in practice-oriented theory-testing research. We reformulate the notions of theory testing and research validity from the critical realist perspective and illustrate new insights gained using a discussion of a controlled experiment.

KW - Critical realism

KW - Validity

KW - hypothesis-testing

KW - theory

UR - http://aisel.aisnet.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1257&context=sjis

M3 - Article

VL - 26

SP - 5

EP - 28

JO - Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems

JF - Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems

SN - 0905-0167

IS - 1

ER -