Research Methodologies

Laboratory Experiment

Empirical and quantitative research done in a controlled environment.

Field Experiments

Research done in a less controlled natural environment, must be quantitative and include research principles such as random selection.

Gersick, C. J. G. (1988). Time and transition in work teams: Toward a new model of group development. Academy of Management Journal, 31(1), 9-41.

Field Studies

Research done not in a laboratory but in the natural environment; it may be observational only, it may include experimental interaction with the subjects in the field.

Case Studies

A case study is a particular method of qualitative research. Rather than using large samples and following a rigid protocol to examine a limited number of variables, case study methods involve an in-depth, longitudinal examination of a single instance or event: a case.

Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review, 14(4), 532-550.

Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Making fast strategic decisions in high-velocity environments. Academy of Management Journal, 32(3), 543-576.

Ethnographic research

Ethnography refers to the genre of writing or research that presents qualitative description of human social phenomena, based on fieldwork. Ethnography presents the results of a holistic research method founded on the idea that a system's properties cannot necessarily be accurately understood independently of each other. The genre has both formal and historical connections to travel writing and colonial office reports. Several academic traditions, in particular the constructivist and relativist paradigms, claim ethnographic research as a valid research method. It can also include case suites, interviews, long-term studies of sites.

Gopal, A., & Prasad, P. (2000). Understanding GDSS in symbolic context: Shifting the focus from technology to interaction. MIS Quarterly, 24(3), 509-546.

Action Research

In action research, the researcher wants to try out a theory with practitioners in real situations, gain feedback from this experience, modify the theory as a result of this feedback and try it again. Action research consists of many iteration. Each iteration of the action research process adds to the theory so it is more likely to be appropriate for a variety of situations.

Historical methodology

The historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write history. The question of the nature, and indeed the possibility, of sound historical method is raised in the philosophy of history, as a question of epistemology. The examination of societies of social unites over time and in comparison with one another. Ideographic.


This is a research methodology that relies on gathering research data via interviews and surveys instruments.

Design Science

Creates and evaluates IT artifacts intended to solve identified organizational problems. Design science is inherently a problem solving process. DS seeks to create innovations that define the idea, practices, technical capabilities, and products through which the analysis, design, implementation, management, and use of IS can be effectively and efficiently accomplished. DS can use a combination of other research methodologies to achieve the research aim.

Mathematical Models

Abstract model using mathematics to describe system behavior; include independent variables, constants; may be derivable through proof; has a quantitative outcome that is verifiable via a proof or via experiments.


Enhances purely mathematical models when elementary functions alone cannot describe the solution. Generates samples of data from running multiple simulation, usually includes variables too numerous to put into one mathematical model or that cannot be derived via a mathematical proof and is generally not experimentally verifiable in the full-scale natural environment.


Research to discover solutions to problems. Developing a prototype, testing the prototype with measurable results.

Game-Role Playing

As-if experiments in which the subject is asked to behave as if he or she were a particular person in a particular situation. It requires a human subject playing a role or simulating a behavior. It may be conducted in a laboratory or interactively in the field.

System Development

This research methodology can be thought of as “proof by demonstration.” It consists of five stages; concept design, constructing the architecture of the system; prototyping; product development; technology transfer.

Pluralistic Methodology

Using multiple research methodologies.

Research Fields


Siegel, D., & Dray, S. (2005). Avoiding the next schism: Ethnography and usability. Interactions, 12(2), 58-61.

Gould, J. D., Boies, S. J., & Lewis, C. (1991). Making usable, useful, productivity-enhancing computer applications. Communications of the ACM, 34(1), 74 - 85.

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