This paper reports on the use of historical methods in a recent information systems doctoral research project. The paper concentrates on the use of the methodology rather than the findings themselves. The use of historical methods is rare in information systems and this paper outlines the valuable insights it can bring for researchers. Historical methods involve the collection of both primary and secondary sources of data, which are then analysed to establish relationships between cause and effect. The aim of the research project was to study the changing nature of hard information technology based networks and soft people based networks in two regions of New Zealand over a twenty year period. Historical methods enable the researcher to examine the way in which such factors develop over time. The most well known work on historical methods in information systems was carried out by Mason, McKenney & Copeland. Their seven step approach to using historical methods is explained and applied to the research problem. This research builds on their work by introducing three new aspects: firstly historical methods are applied in a regional context; secondly a conceptual framework is used for analysis, and thirdly data collection is carried out using regional newspapers.


Historical Methods, Regional Development, New Zealand


ISBN: [978-1-86435-644-1]; Full paper