Performing research validity: A “mangle of practice” approach

Robert B. Johnston, Kai Reimers, Stefan Klein

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch


    Mainstream discussions of research validity (truth, significance, objectivity) draw heavily on a certain “representational idiom” of science [1] that assumes a knowledge–reality correspondence. However, for research on practices, rather than nature, such a knowledge-reality distinction is neither feasible nor desirable, as it is at odds with the very notion of a “practice”. Drawing on Pickering’s alternative “performative idiom” for science, and extending it to participatory forms of social research, we propose alternative validity claims for practice-oriented research. Using the example of information infrastructuring practices, we show that the three aspects of validity thus reinterpreted become quite closely related to each other and also to the process of information infrastructuring itself. In so doing, we demonstrate the importance of extending the notion of “material agency” to embrace the dual agencies of the practice studied and the researcher’s own disciplinary practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationBeyond Interpretivism? New Encounters with Technology and Organization
    Subtitle of host publicationIFIP WG 8.2 Working Conference on Information Systems and Organizations, IS&O 2016, Dublin, Ireland, December 9–10, 2016, Proceedings
    EditorsLucas Introna, Wanda Orlikowski, Donncha Kavanagh, Susan Scott, Séamas Kelly
    Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Electronic) 9783319497334
    ISBN (Print)9783319497327
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventIFIP Working Conference on Information Systems and Organizations 2016 - Dublin, Ireland
    Duration: 9 Dec 201610 Dec 2016 (Proceedings)

    Publication series

    NameIFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology
    PublisherSpringer New York LLC
    ISSN (Print)1868-4238
    ISSN (Electronic)1868-422X


    ConferenceIFIP Working Conference on Information Systems and Organizations 2016
    Abbreviated titleIS&O 2016
    OtherThis event will run immediately before the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2016), which will also be held in Dublin from 11 - 14 December 2016.
    Internet address


    • Infrastructuring
    • Mangle of practice
    • Objectivity
    • Performativity
    • Relevance
    • Rigour
    • Significance
    • Truth
    • Validity

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