What Do We Really Mean by Rigor in Information Systems Research?

Date
2022-01-04
Authors
Soliman, Wael
Siponen, Mikko
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Abstract
The term “rigor” entered the information systems (IS) vernacular nearly four decades ago to reflect an ideal that would help transform IS into a coherent research field. Today, rigor is often both claimed and demanded by IS authors as evidence for the worthiness of research. However, it seems that we, as an IS community, lack both a shared understanding of what this ideal represents or what qualifies as attaining this ideal. In this paper, we analyze the usage of the term “rigor” in four leading IS journals, aiming to grasp some of its meanings within the IS community. The findings reveal that “rigor” in IS has multiple meanings, denotes a variety of referents, and is used for various purposes. Yet, even if the exact meaning of rigor is unclear or ambiguous, many IS researchers are dissatisfied with the current level of rigor and demand more. In contrast, we argue that our research endeavors could benefit from relaxing, rather than intensifying, the need for rigor.
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Informing Research: Where to Now?, methodological rigor, rigor, rigorous research, scientific rigor, theoretical rigor
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