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Abstract

We develop a model to analyze the body of knowledge of the information systems (IS) field where research accumulates through the interplay of different modes: discovery, prescriptive, and evaluation. The paper proposes five signature contributions: 1) descriptions of discovery and exploration, 2) elaborations of IS-based means and means-ends propositions, 3) discussions of IS-based designs, 4) explanations of the impacts and impact mechanisms of IS, and 5) discussions of organizational theories of IS-phenomena. We argue that each of these contributions plays an important role in the accumulation of the body of knowledge. In particular, we call for a balance in approaches producing these different contributions. Results from analyzing two samples of published interorganizational information systems (IOS) research in high-tier information systems journal outlets from 1982-2010 supports the applicability of the framework as a useful way to categorize the research stream. In line with prior suggestions, we also found an increased tendency towards explanatory organizational theories in that less work has focused on discovering new practices, developing means, and evaluating their uses. Recent interest in academically rigorous design science research offers a welcome addition to the body of IS research that could broaden its base and enrich its content and contributions.

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