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Abstract

This paper reports from a systems development research tradition in which emphasis is put on relating research activities to practice and on establishing fruitful collaboration between groups of researchers and practitioners. The paper describes and evaluates a specific research project in which a large group ofresearchers and practitioners worked together to understand, support, and improve systems development practice over a period of three years. The case is used to reflect on the research goals, approaches, and results involved in this tradition for researching systems development practice. A combined approach-based on action research, experiments and conventional practice studies-is suggested as one practical way to strike a useful balance between relevance and rigor in practice research. The paper is concluded with a more general discussion of the relation between research and practice together with advice on how to design collaborative research efforts.

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