The complexity of the information systems field often lends itself to classification schemes, or taxonomies, which provide ways to understand the similarities and differences among objects under study. Developing a taxonomy, however, is a complex process that is often done in an ad hoc way. This research-in-progress paper surveys 65 papers in information systems, computer science, and business to identify methods used for taxonomy development. Our analysis of this survey indicates that there is considerable interest in taxonomies, but formal development procedures are not always used. We conclude that such a procedure would be beneficial for the information systems discipline, and we present a problem statement for defining a procedure. We also describe our current research on this problem, which we hope will lead to an approach for the systematic development of taxonomies. As both taxonomies (i.e., models) and taxonomy development procedures (i.e., methods) represent artifacts, this paper serves to illustrate an analysis that provides a foundation for applying the design science research paradigm and to theorize about IT artifacts observed (i.e., instantiations).
Nickerson, Robert C.; Muntermann, Jan; and Varshney, Upkar, "Taxonomy Development in Information Systems: A Literature Survey and Problem Statement" (2010). AMCIS 2010 Proceedings. 125.