Design Science Research Roadmap Model for Information Systems Projects: A Case Study

Design Science Research Roadmap Model for Information Systems Projects: A Case Study

Nadhmi Gazem (Department of Information Systems, University of Technology, Malaysia, Skudai, Malaysia), Azizah Abdul Rahman (Department of Information Systems, University of Technology, Malaysia, Skudai, Malaysia), Faisal Saeed (Department of Information Systems, Taibah University, Medina, Saudi Arabia) and Noorminshah A. Iahad (Department of Information Systems, University of Technology, Malaysia, Skudai, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJITPM.2018070101
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This article contends that design science research (DSR) has emerged as an important approach in information systems (IS) research. The design science research roadmap (DSRR) model describes the process of using the DSR in IS in great detail. Unfortunately, the existing literature does not address the task of demonstrating the use of the DSRR in detail by conducting a real case study. This article aims to examine the implementation of the DSRR with real IS research activities. The construction of a systematic innovation framework to solve problems for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is used as a case study for demonstration purposes. This article shows that the DSRR provides very useful guidance, since it covers almost all the necessary steps to conduct DSR in the information systems field. The illustrations provided with each step of the DSRR in this article will help other researchers, especially novice researchers, to gain a comprehensive understanding of the use of the DSRR model.
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Design Science Research (DSR) is defined by Iivari and Venable (2009) as “a research activity that invents or builds new, innovative artifacts for solving problems or achieving improvements, i.e. DSR creates new means for achieving some general (unsituated) goal, as its major research contributions. Such new and innovative artifacts create new reality, rather than explaining existing reality or helping to make sense of it”. Vaishnavi and Kuechler (2004) explain the process in DSR as learning (creating knowledge) through building (action). The outcome from this process leads to constructing an artifact. The artifact could be constructs (vocabulary and symbols), models (abstractions and representations), methods (algorithms and practices), and instantiations (implemented and prototype systems) (Hevner, March, Park, & Ram, 2004; Peffers, Tuunanen, Rothenberger, & Chatterjee, 2008). In addition, DSR can also provide studies which are naturally related to either positivism or interpretivism research (Jrad, Ahmed, & Sundaram, 2014). As a matter of fact, a particular DSR study may require using the output of the qualitative approach to serve as inputs for the quantitative approach and vice versa (Creswell, 2009; Morgan, 2007).

Since 2004, the DSR methodology has received attention from researchers in the information system field (S. Gregor & Hevner, 2013; Ostrowski & Helfert, 2012). Although there are many models that can be used by researchers to conduct DS research, the level of abstraction of those models is still too high in terms of providing a complete methodology in great detail (Alturki, Gable, & Bandara, 2011; Gacenga, Cater-Steel, Toleman, & Tan, 2012). A recent study has produced a Design Science Research Roadmap (DSRR) to guide researchers across the Design Science (DS) lifecycle (Alturki et al., 2011).

Alturki’s Roadmap offers a combination of most DS methodologies. However, the roadmap steps are not supported with adequate descriptions of the research activities, especially in developing the artifact step (Ostrowski & Helfert, 2011). In addition, Alturki’s Roadmap is more complicated in comparison with other IS design science research models (Gacenga et al., 2012; Hevner et al., 2004; March & Storey, 2008; Peffers et al., 2008; Vaishnavi & Kuechler, 2004). Thus, DSRR has received little attention from other researchers. It also suggested by Alturki et al. (2011) that a naturalistic evaluation of the DSRR needs to be done by future researchers in order to check the fit of the DSRR with their research. Thus, naturalistic evaluation is necessary step in DS research to evaluate the artifact with a real case study (Alturki et al., 2011).

However, despite the above considerations and the fact that the nature of design science research is to carry out research and practice (Cole, Purao, Rossi, & Sein, 2005; Göran Goldkuhl, 2008b), the literature review found an absence of full real case studies of DSRR adoption to confirm the applicability of this model. We believe the reason for this is that the DSRR is a recent work and, thus, implementing Alturki’s Roadmap and presenting its value to other researchers requires more work, effort, and time. In fact, compared with types of research which by their nature focus merely on explanations (positivism) or understanding (interpretivism), conducting IS research using the DS research approach requires more time, because DS research forms a basis for research approaches which intervene into the world and change it, rather than only observing the world (Göran Goldkuhl, 2008a).

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