Paper Number

1995

Paper Type

CRP

Abstract

Making a theoretical contribution (TC) is a common requirement for the top Information Systems (IS) journals. We argue that the role of TC is misunderstood in IS. In IS, TC is a requirement for paper acceptance. However, TC should be required at the level of research programs. In fact, research programs commonly require studies where the contribution is empirical, and TC comes later. Empirical contributions include (i) obtaining stronger empirical tests, (ii) finding anomalies, (iii) examining a long-term effect or result, and (iv) comparing their effect with rival theories. To repair the situation, we first argue for requiring TC at the level of research programs. We then propose that IS community should recognize studies (e.g., i–iv) in which the nature of contribution is empirical, and TC comes later. We further suggest that the problems related HARKing (Hypothesizing After Results are Known) is minimized, not by requiring TC, but subjecting the empirical findings to stronger causal tests.

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Jun 14th, 12:00 AM

When Empirical Contributions are More Important Than Theoretical Contributions

Making a theoretical contribution (TC) is a common requirement for the top Information Systems (IS) journals. We argue that the role of TC is misunderstood in IS. In IS, TC is a requirement for paper acceptance. However, TC should be required at the level of research programs. In fact, research programs commonly require studies where the contribution is empirical, and TC comes later. Empirical contributions include (i) obtaining stronger empirical tests, (ii) finding anomalies, (iii) examining a long-term effect or result, and (iv) comparing their effect with rival theories. To repair the situation, we first argue for requiring TC at the level of research programs. We then propose that IS community should recognize studies (e.g., i–iv) in which the nature of contribution is empirical, and TC comes later. We further suggest that the problems related HARKing (Hypothesizing After Results are Known) is minimized, not by requiring TC, but subjecting the empirical findings to stronger causal tests.

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