Even though information systems is a maturing research area, information systems case study reports generally lack extensive method descriptions, validity defense, and are rarely conducted within a multicase research project. This reduces the ability to build theory in information systems research using case study reports. In this chapter we offer guidelines, examples, and improvements for multicase studies. If information system researchers stick to these guidelines, case study reports and papers will get published more often, improving the rapidly maturing research area of information systems.
Multiple Case Study Research
It is our belief that IS research is quickly getting more mature and deserves more attention in the area of methods and practices. In this chapter, we report on our experiences (Jansen & Brinkkemper, 2007; Jansen et al., 2006; van de Weerd, Brinkkemper, Souer, & Versendaal, 2006; van de Weerd, Brinkkemper, & Versendaal, 2007) with multicase studies in the area of Information Systems (IS) research. We believe that case study evidence is fundamental for building theories in this rapidly maturing field (Darke, Shanks, & Broadbent, 1998). Case studies encourage students and researches to train themselves in understanding large complex systems (for system maintenance) and organizations. Furthermore, case studies are generally appreciated by practitioners, and provide a popular method in IS research to disseminate and explain phenomena in the field. These case studies are, however, often reported without much validation. This chapter provides a detailed description of a multicase research project to help researchers to document their research methods, compare their research approach, and provide them with helpful experience reports. We believe such descriptions will improve the overall quality of multicase study research and reports, thus contributing to IS research at large.