Seeking middle-range theories in information systems research

Nik Rushdi Hassan, Paul Benjamin Lowry

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

The information systems (IS) research community continues to raise questions about the characteristics and role of theory in IS. Some suggest the preeminence and misplaced emphasis on theory distorts and limits IS research, while others suggest the manner in which theory is borrowed and adapted impedes creative and innovative theorizing. This essay describes an established mode of theorizing that results in middlerange theories, which are abstract enough to allow for generalizations and useful conclusions, but close enough to observed data to be empirically validated. Theorizing in this manner holds the potential to produce novel and exciting theories, far removed from the formulaic, endless rearrangement of variables that are derived from grand theories, typically found in the bulk of IS research. After elaborating on the differences between grand theories and middle-range theories, this essay suggests several guidelines on how to build middle-range theories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Event2015 International Conference on Information Systems: Exploring the Information Frontier, ICIS 2015 - Fort Worth, United States
Duration: Dec 13 2015Dec 16 2015

Other

Other2015 International Conference on Information Systems: Exploring the Information Frontier, ICIS 2015
CountryUnited States
CityFort Worth
Period12/13/1512/16/15

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Keywords

  • Concepts
  • Grand theory
  • Information systems theory
  • Middle-range theory
  • Propositions
  • Theory construction

Cite this

Hassan, N. R., & Lowry, P. B. (2015). Seeking middle-range theories in information systems research. Paper presented at 2015 International Conference on Information Systems: Exploring the Information Frontier, ICIS 2015, Fort Worth, United States.