The Role of Conventional Research Methods in Information Systems Action Research

Publication Type:

IFIP Paper


Information Systems Research, p.335 - 352 (2004)



Action research has for many years been promoted and practiced as one way to conduct empirical research within the Information Systems discipline. While the approach can lead to highly relevant contributions, researchers are warned against the many risks involved in action research. Based on successful cases of Information Systems action research we explore the role played by conventional research methods in developing and presenting research contributions. The cases suggest that action research lends itself strongly toward multi-method approaches and facilitates the creation of multicontribution projects. We identify two approaches to mixing action research and conventional research methods—the planned and the emergent approaches—and we argue that action research can be adopted in ways that are no more risky than other conventional approaches to Information Systems research.