BIS 2000 pp 109-120 | Cite as

Empirical Research in Information Systems

  • George J. Bakehouse
Conference paper


The first section of this paper provides a view of the relationship between research and reality. Central to this debate is the notion of two separate and sometimes competing approaches to solve real life problems, theory and practise. The last three or so decades has witnessed the development of numerous methodologies which vary across a wide spectrum from the “very hard” to the “very soft” most claiming to have practical benefits in the real world. An area of Systems Science that has grown quickly amongst all the confusion is that of Information Systems, a new and highly dynamic subject area where academics and practitioners often fail to agree at any level about things as fundamental as the meanings of ‘information’ and ‘system’. There is ample evidence to show that in the world of Business Information Systems, technologists do not understand the world of business and vice-versa. The final section of this paper describes an ongoing action research program that spans several sectors of commerce and industry. The methods, tools and techniques adopted in this study are drawn from numerous paradigms and disciplines; many have been specifically adapted for the research program. These tools and techniques range from participant observation, SWOT analysis, information problem classification, phenotypes of erroneous action, human error modelling through to psychometric testing accompanied by “standard” information systems tools. Central to the research program is the concept of building links between research and reality via empirical research.


National Health Service Human Error Information Problem Soft System Methodology General System Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Verlag London Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • George J. Bakehouse
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Information SystemsThe University of the West of EnglandBristolEngland UK

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