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.