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Abstract

Second generation statistical techniques like Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) are being used more frequently by IS researchers to evaluate theoretical models. The purpose of this study is three-fold. First, we aim to ascertain whether there is a “fit” between IS researchers choice of analytic method and theoretical models when they use second generation techniques. Second, we seek to determine the degree to which IS researchers have internalized knowledge about second generation techniques. Finally, we want to see how these factors have changed over time. Analysis of four leading IS journals between 1990 and 2008 matched the use of second generation techniques to rational reasons for using a specific analytic technique and the degree of knowledge internalization found in 265 published empirical articles. In the early period (1990-2002), we found the use of second generation techniques was not associated with rational choices or reasons for their use. In the later period (2003-2008), we found their use was associated with rational choice and there was a higher degree of knowledge internalization. Our findings suggest that, over time, researchers were able to leverage their internalized knowledge of second generation techniques when testing mediation and moderation models as indicated by the higher ratio of internal to external method citations. The paper concludes with implications for IS research.

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