Taxonomies constitute one fundamental type of artefact in design science, describing and classifying existing or future objects of a domain. Taxonomies support researchers and practitioners with analysing and understanding a domain, which in turn is a prerequisite for theory building. Despite the increasing interest in taxonomies (and methodological guidance for building them), there is hardly any guidance for researchers on how to rigorously evaluate taxonomies. Based on a literature analysis, this study sheds light on the question of whether, when, and how researchers currently evaluate taxonomies. We critically synthesize and comprehensively review 306 articles that are concerned with taxonomies. Surprisingly, we find that taxonomies are rarely evaluated in IS research, nor is there any consistency in terms of methods used for evaluations. We describe the methods used by IS researchers to evaluate taxonomies after taxonomy building has been completed. Being the first to systematically analyse taxonomy evaluation, we propose a preliminary version of a framework for taxonomy evaluation which enables researchers to choose among the wide range of taxonomy evaluation methods available. Our study advances an informed and purposeful evaluation of taxonomies and contributes to bridging the gap between abstract design science evaluation strategies and concrete taxonomy evaluation methods.
Szopinski, Daniel; Schoormann, Thorsten; and Kundisch, Dennis, (2019). "BECAUSE YOUR TAXONOMY IS WORTH IT: TOWARDS A FRAMEWORK FOR TAXONOMY EVALUATION". In Proceedings of the 27th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Stockholm & Uppsala, Sweden, June 8-14, 2019. ISBN 978-1-7336325-0-8 Research Papers.