Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems


A vast number of different methodologies for developing computer-based information systems are available. They form a motley spectrum in the sense that they apply to different parts of the development process and to different modes of thinking and acting. At a meta-level relative to methodologies is the discipline that deals with these differences and the applicability of methodologies in different situations. It encompasses theories, ideas and, especially, appreciation approaches, i.e. approaches to understand, evaluate and compare methodologies.

This article is a survey of the appreciation approaches found in the literature. The survey has been conducted as a soft systems enquiry. The appreciation approaches are understood and partly evaluated by mapping them unto a soft systems model that explicate how to answer the fundamental question of: Which methodologies in which situations?

It is argued that the appreciation approaches found are static and general in the sense that the fundamental question is assessed detached from a particular situation. Furthermore, it is argued on the basis of Schon's theory on reflection-in-action and Checkland's soft systems thinking that we need appreciation approaches that facilitate dynamic and situational thinking about the use of methodologies.