As digital computers permeate an increasing number of activities, the term digital is associated with more processes, entities, and objects (e.g., digital economy, digital natives). This trend reflects in Information Systems research, with “digital” appearing before existing research concepts (e.g., digital infrastructure), often substituting for “IT”. In this study, we contribute to the delineation between digital “x” and IT “x” research by investigating the degree of usage of the terms and uncovering the most widespread digital “x” constructs. Using text analysis techniques, we can analyze a broad set of journals and a long time period. Early results, based on 17 years of MIS Quarterly publications, confirm the increasing use of the term digital. Conversely, digitize and digitalize, the two main forms of the term digital, are rarely used and do not show any significant increase in usage over time. While preliminary and not concluding, our results confirm the increasing popularity of the term digital. However, a limited number of digital “x” terms appear to connote novel constructs and the bulk of the research does not address the socio-technical process of digitalization that is central to the IS discipline. We discuss the implications of our early results and provide a research agenda.
Rodriguez, Joaquin and Piccoli, Gabriele, "Uncovering the digital “x” phenomena in the IS field: A text analysis approach" (2018). BLED 2018 Proceedings. 11.