Critical realism holds promise for IS researchers who wish to treat technology as a material artifact, work within an explanatory framework, and take into account the role of context. It is widely acknowledged, however, that critical realism itself does not provide a methodological basis for conducting empirical studies. We therefore seek to provide methodological guidance in the conduct of critical-realist based research. Our thesis is that the most appropriate method for conducting critical realist research depends on the strength (relevance or appropriateness) of the domain-specific theory that the researcher can bring to bear on the issue. We present three types of methods for critical realist research, structured, structurable, and unstructured, which correspond to the availability of strong, related, and weak domainspecific theory, respectively.
Raduescu, Corina and Vessey, Iris, "Methodology in Critical Realist Research: The Mediating Role of Domain Specific Theory" (2009). AMCIS 2009 Proceedings. 433.