Causal framework through retroduction and retrodiction

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McAvoy, John
Butler, Tom
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Association for Information Systems
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While the discussion in the IS research community has moved from describing critical realism as simply a compromise philosophy between positivists and interpretivists to its acceptance in its own right, it is still lacking in a choice of methods or processes for the IS researcher to utilise. This paper presents a proposed method that can be used by IS researchers following the critical realist paradigm. The suitability of a critical realist approach to IS research is discussed, and the importance of the combined ontological and epistemological elements described. The relevance of the search for causal mechanisms is shown and the benefits of the processes of retroduction and retrodiction in this search. A ‘causal framework’ is proposed as an artefact in the IS critical researcher’s “toolkit” and an example provided to show how it can be used. A three step process is described which uses causal frameworks the guide the analysis.
Critical realism , Retroduction , Retrodiction , Causal framework
McAvoy, J. and Butler, T. (2017) 'Causal framework through retroduction and retrodiction', Proceedings of the 25th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2017), Guimarães, Portugal, 5-10 June, pp. 1314-1326. Available at: (Accessed 28 January 2019)
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