Existing distinctions among macro and micro approaches have been jeopardising the advances of Information Systems (IS) research. Both approaches have been criticized for explaining one level while neglecting the other; thereby, the current situation necessitates the application of multilevel research for revealing the deficiencies. Instead of studying single level (macro or micro), multilevel research entails more than one level of conceptualization and analysis, simultaneously. As the notion of multilevel is borrowed from reference disciplines, there tends to be confusions and inconsistencies within the IS discipline, which hinders the adoption of multilevel research. This paper speaks for the potential value of multilevel research, by investigating the current application status of multilevel research within the IS domain. A content analysis of multilevel research articles from major IS conferences and journals is presented. Analysis results suggest that IS scholars have applied multilevel research to produce high quality work ranging from a variety of topics. However, researchers have not yet been consistently defining “multilevel”, leading to idiosyncratic meanings of multilevel research, most often, in authors’ own interpretations. We argue that a rigorous definition of “multilevel research” needs to be explicated for consistencies in research community.
Zhang, Meng and Bandara, Wasana, "State of Multilevel Research Perspective in the Information Systems Discipline" (2012). ACIS 2012 Proceedings. 38.