The research method we need or deserve? A literature review of the design science research landscape

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Nagle, Tadhg
Doyle, Cathal
Alhassan, Ibrahim M.
Sammon, David
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Association for Information Systems
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Senior Scholars have made a concerted effort to help researchers adopt and top-ranked IS journals publish design science research (DSR). However, DSR continues to underperform, and the support that Senior Scholars have provided to it in editorials and exemplars has created both confusion and clarity. In this study, we report on a descriptive literature review that we conducted to bring empirical context and insight to the many discussions that Senior Scholars have had on presenting, implementing, and contributing to DSR. In particular, we reviewed 111 papers in the AIS Senior Scholars’ basket of eight journals and found significant transparency issues that have led to methodological slurring. We also found that, while DSR has produced research with a strong focus on utility and usefulness, it has done so through generalized problems and solutions and, thus, overlooked the messy complexity of real IS problems and the actual use of proposed solutions. Finally, we found little evidence to support theory obsession in DSR, a topic of concern for the wider IS research community.
Design science research , Literature review , Methodological slurring , Open science , Practical impact , Problem abstraction , Problem solving , Research transparency , Theory obsession
Nagle, T., Doyle, C., Alhassan, I. M. and Sammon, D. (2022) ‘The research method we need or deserve? A literature review of the design science research landscape’, Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 50(1), pp. 358–395. doi: 10.17705/1CAIS.05015.
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