Information Systems is a practice-based discipline. It experiences periodic debates about the rigour and relevance of its research. The tensions between pretensions to be a ‘real’ science (rigour) and the need to contribute to practice (relevance) are intensified at a time of low student enrolment, lack of a clear identity, and uncertainties about the viability of our discipline. This essay argues that decomposing phenomena into narrow topics of research to achieve rigour is damaging to our discipline if we fail to then ‘recompose’ or integrate these back into understanding, lessons and guidelines for application to real-world practices. This argument is illustrated through recent work on the motors that drive changes in technology appropriation. It highlights the importance of plurality of theories and methods in understanding complex real-world phenomena in order to achieve both rigour and relevance.
Carroll, Jennie and Fidock, Justin, "'Re-composing the Elephant': Bringing the Big Picture back into IS Research" (2012). ACIS 2012 Proceedings. 101.