Creator of Knowledge
Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Critical Realism as an Underlying Philosophy for IS Research

Critical Realism as an Underlying Philosophy for IS Research
View Sample PDF
Author(s): Philip J. Dobson (Edith Cowan University, Australia)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 5
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch131


View Critical Realism as an Underlying Philosophy for IS Research on the publisher's website for pricing and purchasing information.


Many recent articles from within the information systems (IS) arena present an old-fashioned view of realism. For example, Iivari, Hirschheim, and Klein (1998) saw classical realism as seeing “data as describing objective facts, information systems as consisting of technological structures (‘hardware’), human beings as subject to causal laws (determinism), and organizations as relatively stable structures” (p. 172). Wilson (1999) saw the realist perspective as relying on “the availability of a set of formal constraints which have the characteristics of abstractness, generality, invariance across contexts.” Fitzgerald and Howcroft (1998) presented a realist ontology as one of the foundational elements of positivism in discussing the polarity between hard and soft approaches in IS. Realism is placed alongside positivist, objectivist, etic epistemologies and quantitative, confirmatory, deductive, laboratory-focussed and nomothetic methodologies. Such a traditional view of realism is perhaps justified within the IS arena, as it reflects the historical focus of its use, however, there now needs to be a greater recognition of the newer forms of realism—forms of realism that specifically address all of the positivist leanings emphasised by Fitzgerald and Howcroft (1998). A particular example of this newer form of realism is critical realism. This modern realist approach is primarily founded on the writings of the social sciences philosopher Bhaskar (1978, 1979, 1986, 1989, 1991). The usefulness of such an approach has recently been recognized in the IS arena by Dobson (2001) and Mingers (2002).

Related Content

Christine Kosmopoulos. © 2022. 22 pages.
Melkamu Beyene, Solomon Mekonnen Tekle, Daniel Gelaw Alemneh. © 2022. 21 pages.
Rajkumari Sofia Devi, Ch. Ibohal Singh. © 2022. 21 pages.
Ida Fajar Priyanto. © 2022. 16 pages.
Murtala Ismail Adakawa. © 2022. 27 pages.
Shimelis Getu Assefa. © 2022. 17 pages.
Angela Y. Ford, Daniel Gelaw Alemneh. © 2022. 22 pages.
Body Bottom