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ISR: Information Systems Theory

Information on the Thesis

Type of Final Thesis: Bachelor, Master
Supervisor: Tobias Dehling
Research Group: Critical Information Infrastructures

Archive Number: 4.284
Status of Thesis: Open

Further Information

Theories are the cornerstone and ultimate goal of any scientific undertaking since they capture and preserve the human knowledge. Theories clarify concepts and their relationships and can be used to explain or predict states and events or to prescribe courses of purposeful action. Theory development is a challenging task requiring thoughtful and parsimonious elaboration of a line of argument that contributes to resolving problems of scientific and practical relevance. Information systems theory is either derived from extant theory or abstracted from empirical evidence. However, the correctness of theories can never be proven, and they remain only useful until they are falsified or replaced by better theory. Although subject to research for centuries, many research problems related to theories remain unresolved, especially, within the socio-technical domain of information systems. We are especially interested in theses developing, challenging, or refining theory in the information systems domain and in theses aiming to craft methods and tools that aid researchers in theory development.


Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Inductive theory development in qualitative, empirical studies of information systems
  • Empirical and conceptual work related to information systems design theory
  • Assessments and comparisons of extant information systems theories
  • Contextualization of extant theory in the domain of information systems

This is an umbrella topic since work with a strong focus on theory will only work with a strong personal interest. The suitability of a topic you propose will be discussed during a first meeting.

Introductory literature:

Arendt RJ, Sarooghi H, Burkemper A (2015) Effectuation as Ineffectual? Applying the 3E Theory-Assessment Framework to a Proposed New Theory of Entrepreneurship. Academy of Management Review 40(4):630–651.

Bacharach SB (1989) Organizational Theories: Some Criteria for Evaluation. Academy of Management Review 14(4):496–515.

Burton-Jones A, McLean ER, Monod E (2015) Theoretical Perspectives in IS Research: From Variance and Process to Conceptual Latitude and Conceptual Fit. European Journal of Information Systems 24(6):664–679.

Corley KG, Gioia DA (2011) Building Theory about Theory Building: What Constitutes a Theoretical Contribution? Academy of Management Review 36(1):12–32.

Dubin R (1978) Theory Building (Collier Macmillan Publishers, London, UK).

Gregor S (2006) The Nature of Theory in Information Systems. MIS Quarterly 30(3):611–642.

Gregor S, Jones D (2007) The Anatomy of a Design Theory. Journal of the Association for Information Systems 8(5):312–335.

Ragins BR (2012) Editor’s Comments: Reflections on the Craft of Clear Writing. Academy of Management Review 37(4):493–501.