The Critical Information Systems Practitioner

Listening to the “Babble of Voices”?
  • Brian Nicholson


The ‘grail — like’ quest for the ultimate super methodology has led the information systems community to witness a veritable “babble of voices” (Schon, 1983) with between 300 (Avison and Fitzgerald, 1988) and 1000 (Jayaratna, 1994) methodologies available. All of these methodologies claim to have advantages over others and jostle for position in an overcrowded, confused marketplace. The ‘voices’ come from many directions each advocating its own philosophy which it attempts to sell as the ultimate’ silver bullet’ or universal approach. What of the bemused practitioner at the receiving end? It has become close to impossible to effectively select an appropriate methodology due to the sheer diversity of offerings from a plethora of different schools of thought. The practitioner must make sense of chaos before he/she can even begin the problem solving effort. The aim of this paper is to examine the available means for selection of information systems methodologies considering the assumptions they make about the problem solver. The methodology selection arena is broadly reviewed and some potential threats to effective practice are discussed. An educational agenda is proposed to enable present and future practitioners to make sense of this “...diverse and ill-defined intellectual enterprise” (Checkland, 1983) of methodology selection.


Problem Solver System Methodology Critical Thinking Skill Soft System Methodology Health Warning 
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 Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Nicholson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of TechnologyAnglia Polytechnic UniversityChelmsfordUK

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