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Abstract

This paper offers a rigorous step-by-step methodology for developing theories and contains specific and detailed guidelines for IS researchers to follow in carrying out positivist case studies. The methodology is largely inspired by the work of Yin [2003], Eisenhardt [1989], Miles and Huberman [1994] and several others who are strong proponents of and have wide experience in this research approach. It also relies on previous key contributions to the positivist case research method in IS [Benbasat et al., 1987; Lee, 1989; Dubé and Paré, 2003]. We illustrate how this methodology can be applied in our field to help find new perspectives and empirical insights. In addition, the desired qualities associated with several of the proposed concepts and the techniques and tools included in the methodology are presented. We believe that the two detailed case studies presented in this paper represent highly rigorous, yet different applications of the positivist case research method and, hence, we strongly encourage IS researchers to follow their respective approaches.

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