Life with a Thesis #8: Design Science in IS Research

One part of succeed in my life is I have a good mentor and I always have at least one in every place I go. This time is not different. I’m doing my thesis and I have a good supervisor. She gave me a bunch of papers for which I’ve never thought of looking. They are good papers which I would like to share with my classmates who are working in the same area of research.


The papers give an idea of how to do research in information systems. The following information was taken from


[1] Hevner et al. 2004. MIS Quarterly. Design Science in Information Systems Research.

[2] Peffers et al. 2006. DESRIST 2006. The Design Science Research Process: A Model for Producing and Presenting Information Systems Research


In work of Hevner et al. 2004. It talked about two indispensable and inseparable paradigms that were used when conducting IS research: behavioral science and design science.


The behavioral science paradigm has its roots in natural science research methods. It seeks to develop and verify theories that explain or predict human or organizational behavior. While the design-science paradigm has its roots in engineering and the sciences of the artificial. It seeks to extend the boundaries of human and organizational capabilities by creating new and innovative artifacts which are broadly defined as constructs (language for defining and communicating problems and solutions), models (using constructs to represent a real world situation), methods (guidance on how to solve problems), and instantiations (showing that constructs, models, or methods can be implemented in a working system.)


Behavioral science addresses research through the development and justification of theories that explain or predict phenomena related to the identified business needs (the problem domain) which are defined from people, business (organizations), and technologies inside an organization. Design science addresses research through the building and evaluation of artifacts designed to meet the identified business needs. The goal of behavioral science research is truth. The goal of design science research is utility. Truth informs design and utility informs theory.


Then in work of Peffers et al. 2006. It provided a process for design science research in IS. An approach that was used in the paper to represent the process is also interesting. It’s the same technique called reification that is used in RDF. It is a technique to repeatedly represent itself. A nominal process goes like this:


Problem identification & motivation. Define problem. Show importance.

Objectives of a solution. What would a better artifact accomplish?

Design & development. Artifact

Demonstration. Find suitable context. Use artifact to solve problem.

Evaluation. Observe how effective, efficient. Iterate back to design.

Communication. Scholarly publications. Professional publications.


By following this model, there are four possible entry points.

Entry point 1: problem centered approach. Enter at step 1.

Entry point 2: objective centered solution. Enter at step 2.

Entry point 3: design & development centered approach. Enter at step 3.

Entry point 4: observing a solution. Enter at step 4.


This is not adaptable to IS research but could be use with any domain of a purposeful problem solving. First we need to understand the nature of problem to clearly define it. Then we need a process to create a solution to solve the problem. After that we need to evaluate how effective or efficient of the solution is. Design of solution and evaluation is an iterative process. After we have a solution, we need to test and evaluate, then back to improve the solution and retest and re-evaluate. Hence, we should not be able to be jobless.



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