Despite growing interest in design science research in information systems, our understanding about what constitutes a design contribution and the range of research activities that can produce design contributions remains limited. We propose the design research activity (DRA) framework for classifying design contributions based on the type of statements researchers use to express knowledge contributions and the researcher role with respect to the artifact. These dimensions combine to produce a DRA framework that contains four quadrants: construction, manipulation, deployment, and elucidation. We use the framework in two ways. First, we classify design contributions that the Journal of the Association for Information Systems (JAIS) published from 2007 to 2019 and show that the journal published a broad range of design research across all four quadrants. Second, we show how one can use our framework to analyze the maturity of design-oriented knowledge in a specific field as reflected in the degree of activity across the different quadrants. The DRA framework contributes by showing that design research encompasses both design science research and design-oriented behavioral research. The framework can help authors and reviewers assess research with design implications and help researchers position and understand design research as a journey through the four quadrants.
Maedche, A., Gregor, S., & Parsons, J. (2021). Mapping Design Contributions in Information Systems Research: The Design Research Activity Framework. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 49, pp-pp. https://doi.org/10.17705/1CAIS.04914
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