Beyond Theoretical and Methodological Pluralism in Interpretive IS Research: The Example of Symbolic Interactionist Ethnography
Over the years, interpretivism has been gradually gaining ground in Information Systems (IS) research. At the heart of this interpretivist movement (which has helped to advance its cause) is a belief in theoretical and methodological pluralism. Against this backdrop, the purpose of this paper is to reflect on how interpretive IS researchers can move beyond theoretical and methodological pluralism to leverage the inherent strengths of the interpretivist paradigm. In this regard, we note that there has been little discussion in IS literature about how interpretive researchers can actively seek to purposefully leverage the respective strengths of the informing theoretical perspective and the chosen strategy of inquiry throughout the research process while being fully cognizant of the ensuing criteria for ensuring trustworthiness of the study. To illustrate the importance of achieving such leverage in interpretive IS research, we use the example of the ethnographic approach being informed by symbolic interactionism. At the same time, we explicate how the analytical edge of the constant comparative technique from grounded theory can enhance this leverage. We contend that this paper's contribution has value as it provides a starting point for interested researchers to apply this approach to other combinations of theoretical perspectives and strategies of inquiry.
Tan, M., & Hall, W. (2007). Beyond Theoretical and Methodological Pluralism in Interpretive IS Research: The Example of Symbolic Interactionist Ethnography. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 19, pp-pp. https://doi.org/10.17705/1CAIS.01926
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