Knowing What We Know: Theory, Meta-analysis, and Review

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    Graphical Research Models in the Information Systems Discipline
    ( 2020-01-07) Figl, Kathrin ; Kiessling, Samuel ; Miniukovich, Aliaksei
    Graphical models facilitate communicating hypothesized or tested relationships between variables and are welcome in information systems publications. However, insufficient knowledge exists about design conventions for such models, lowering their communicative effectiveness. This paper investigates how graphical research models are used in the information systems literature. Theoretically, the article bears upon the perspective of prototypicality and cognitively effective design of conceptual modeling notations. Based on an analysis of 134 research models from 589 articles in information systems journals, we tentatively demonstrate prototypical features of visual research models and outline many unique graphical variations. We develop a set of hypotheses on how prototypicality influences preferences for research models and their comprehensibility and describe how we intend to test these hypotheses empirically. A broader goal of this research is to develop an effective modeling notation for research models to support researchers in constructing unambiguous visual models for their research.
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    Mechanistic Explanations and Deliberate Misrepresentations
    ( 2020-01-07) Siponen, Mikko ; Klaavuniemi, Tuula ; Nathan, Marco
    The philosophy of mechanisms has developed rapidly during the last 30 years. As mechanisms-based explanations (MBEs) are often seen as an alternative to nomological, law-based explanations, MBEs could be relevant in IS. We begin by offering a short history of mechanistic philosophy and set out to clarify the contemporary landscape. We then suggest that mechanistic models provide an alternative to variance and process models in IS. Finally, we highlight how MBEs typically contain deliberate misrepresentations. Although MBEs have recently been advocated as critical realist (CR) accounts in IS, idealizations (deliberate misrepresentations) seem to violate some fundamental tenets of CR and research method principles for CR. Idealizations in MBEs, therefore, may risk being regarded as flawed in IS. If it turns out that CR cannot account for idealizations, naturalism can, and it does so without extra-philosophical baggage.
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    Digital Ecosystems as a Unit of Scientific Analysis. A Sociological Investigation
    ( 2020-01-07) Bygstad, Bendik ; Dulsrud, Arne
    The growth of digital ecosystems such as Google, Apple and Uber has led to radical changes in economic activity, work and consumption. It has also challenged established economic, social and organization theory, which has clear limitations in understanding these phenomena. The discourses on these topics are conducted in various arenas, which are not linked, and conceptualise digital ecosystems differently. What kind of theoretical object is this? The purpose of this study is to present an institutional and comparative analysis of the research on platforms and digital ecosystems. We identify four research streams; political, economic, technological and individual. We analyse each stream regarding the key insights, and identify the most important knowledge sources. Then we assess the relevance of classical and modern sociology for understanding digital ecosystems.
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    Using Natural Language Processing Techniques to Tackle the Construct Identity Problem in Information Systems Research
    ( 2020-01-07) Ludwig, Siegfried ; Funk, Burkhardt ; Mueller, Benjamin
    The growing number of constructs in behavioral research presents a problem to theory integration, since constructs cannot clearly be discriminated from each other. Recently there have been efforts to employ natural language processing techniques to tackle the construct identity problem. This paper compares the performance of the novel word-embedding model GloVe and different document projection methods with a latent semantic analysis (LSA) used in recent literature. The results show that making use of an advantage in document projection that LSA has over GloVe, performance can be improved. Even against this advantage of LSA, GloVe reaches comparable performance, and adjusted word embedding models can make up for this advantage. The proposed approach therefore presents a promising pathway for theory integration in behavioral research.
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    Knowing What We Know about IT and Business Value: Cause for Concern about Endogeneity Problems and Potential Solutions
    ( 2020-01-07) Markus, M Lynne ; Rowe, Frantz
    Do IT investments deliver business value? This long-standing question of IS interest is a causal question. Answers to this question are often sought through the use of econometric methods, which require careful attention to the issue of endogeneity for valid causal inference. Yet, concerns about endogeneity problems in econometric research persist despite the many quantitative techniques available for addressing them. Recent publications in strategic management and accounting have offered a few non-quantitative solutions, such as better writing and reviewing norms, better theory selection, and use of descriptive quantitative and qualitative methods. Not considered in these prescriptions is a relatively little-known category of explicitly causal case study research methods that originated in sociology and political science. This paper describes these methods, shows how they address endogeneity problems, and explores how they might complement statistical methods in the study of IT business value.
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    How is Information Systems Research Justified? An Analysis of Justifications Given by Authors
    ( 2020-01-07) Spindeldreher, Kai ; Schlagwein, Daniel ; Schoder, Detlef
    This study analyses how Information Systems (IS) research is justified by authors. We assess how authors justify their research endeavors based on published IS research papers. We use justification theory [11], which along with later work, identifies seven different value systems (i.e., orders of worth) as co-existing in society, as a conceptual foundation. We qualitatively and quantitatively analyze the justifications in published IS research papers. We provide a breakdown of the justifications used in IS research. Our findings show that the importance and relevance of IS research is predominantly justified in reference to three orders of worth (market, industrial and civic values) at the neglect of the four other orders of worth (domestic, inspiration, fame, green) that equally exist in society. We provide suggestions to stimulate a broader consideration of research topics in relation to these other orders of worth and hence alternative sources of justification for authors.
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    Introduction to the Minitrack on Knowing What We Know: Theory, Meta-analysis, and Review
    ( 2020-01-07) Mueller, Benjamin ; Hovorka, Dirk ; Larsen, Kai