Theorizing in Design Science Research: Inductive versus Deductive Approaches


This paper explores which theorizing strategies can be employed in DSR to make a theoretical contribution by examining two illustrative case examples. First, we find that abduction, deduction, and induction all play a role in DSR. Second, we suggest that design theorists can choose among a range of theorizing strategies (i.e., inductive theorizing, deductive theorizing, and hybrid approaches) that differ in their degree to which they make use of abduction, deduction, and induction as well as their iterative sequencing over time in repeated theorizing cycles. Third, we reveal from the discussion of two prominent IS design theories that empirical and conceptual methods for theorizing play an important role in both the build and evaluate phases of the DSR cycle. Finally, we recommend theorists in future DSR projects that pursue the goal to develop design theory to think explicitly about their theorizing approach and select and use research methods accordingly.

ICIS 2011 Proceedings
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