Communications of the Association for Information Systems


To understand how to improve the research process for future projects, it is useful to take a retrospective view of a research project. This is especially true for emerging topics in IS where many opportunities are available to shape directions and priorities. This article presents a reflective analysis of a field research project in the area of knowledge management. The article examines the process history and assesses the decisions taken and activities carried out in the early formative stages of a field research project. With a detailed anthropological flavor, the paper describes the ins and outs of the various phases of the research process in a narrative experiential way, and analyzes what was learned. The results should be useful for future researchers. The major lessons learned were: 1. Retrospectively examining the research of others can be useful in learning how to improve one's ability to do research in a particular area, such as field research in information systems. 2. Researchers wishing to develop a long term relationship with a host organization may have to be flexible in their research approaches and methods, even to the extent of sacrificing rigor for providing outcomes of use to the host organization. 3. Pilot studies should be carefully designed and executed to maximize learning for later, more extensive studies.