Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Online experiments have become an important methodology in the study of human behavior. While social scientists have been quick to capitalize on the benefits of online experiments, information systems (IS) researchers seem to be among the laggards in taking advantage of this emerging paradigm, despite having the research motivations and technological capabilities to be among the leaders. A major reason for this gap is probably the secondary role traditionally attributed in IS research to experimental methods, as repeatedly demonstrated in methodological reviews of work published in major IS publication outlets. The purpose of this editorial is to encourage IS researchers interested in online behavior to adopt online experiments as a primary methodology, which may substitute for traditional lab experiments and complement nonexperimental methods. This purpose is pursued by analyzing why IS research has lagged behind neighboring disciplines in adopting experimental methods, what IS research can benefit from utilizing online experiments, and how IS research can reap these benefits. The prescriptive analysis is structured around key considerations that should be taken into account in using online experiments to study online behavior.





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