IT practitioners work in a frantic business world, facing new and complex socio-technical arrangements. Their knowledge, mainly gained through previous experiences, is often an imperfect tool as the changing environment challenges previous assumptions or common wisdom. In this context, IS research has been accused, rightly or wrongly, of being irrelevant to practitioners. This paper, however, builds on the belief that IS research can help practitioners better understand and adapt to emerging situations. Contrary to the view seeing rigour and relevance as a dichotomy, it is maintained that IS researchers have a third choice; namely, to be both relevant and rigorous. The paper proposes ways in which IS research can contribute to easing the practitioners’ burden of adapting to changes by providing timely, relevant, and rigorous research. It is argued that synergy between relevance and rigour is possible and that Grounded Theory methodology in combination with Case Analysis provides a good framework for rigorous and relevant research of emerging phenomena in information systems.
Fernandez, Walter D.; Lehmann, Hans; and Underwood, Alan, "Rigor and Relevance in Studies of IS Innovation: A Grounded Theory Methodology Approach" (2002). ECIS 2002 Proceedings. 134.