Systèmes d'Information et Management


The expanding popularity of qualitative research, and more particularly case study re- search, in the field of Information Systems, Organization and Management research, seems to have been accompanied by an increasing divergence in the forms that this re- search takes, and by recurrent criticisms concerning its rigor. This paper develops a heuris- tic framework for guiding the design of a rigorous case study depending on the research’s goal and epistemological framework, as well as for guiding its evaluation. It also highlights the fundamental reasons – namely the epistemological ones – for differences in the guide- lines offered in the literature for conducting high quality case studies. In agreement with numerous authors, we argue for contingent evaluation criteria. We supplement these authors’ works in two ways: (1) we consider various epistemological frameworks that do not appear in the classifications that they use, especially including crit- ical realism and pragmatic constructivism; (2) we propose a set of contingent criteria to be used as a heuristic device for critically and knowledgeably building rigorous case studies within different epistemological traditions.