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Abstract

As the Information Systems (IS) field enters its fourth decade of evolution, the time is right to provide a historiographical examination of this discipline. Methodological and thematic trends are gauged through a quarterly analysis of 2098 IS articles published in eight leading journals and the ICIS Proceedings in the 12-year period between 1985-1996. The results of this study show that significant changes occurred in research strategies and themes employed by IS researchers. Even though a large proportion of IS studies are still non-empirical, we see significant upward trend in the proportion of empirical studies. The reliance on reference disciplines increased significantly over the years. Similarly, we see significantly increasing trends in organizational, environmental and educational themes. In contrast, technical issues show decreasing trends. The paper calls for collective efforts to unify knowledge necessary for progress of IS as a scientific field of inquiry.

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