Structuration Theory in Information Systems Research: Methods and Controversies

Structuration Theory in Information Systems Research: Methods and Controversies

Marshall Scott Poole (Texas A&M University, USA) and Gerardine DeSanctis (Duke University, USA)
Copyright: © 2004 |Pages: 44
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-144-5.ch013
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Abstract

Numerous scholars in the information systems field have formulated variants of structuration theory in order to extend some of its basic constructs to information-technology-related phenomena and contexts. Along with this theoretical formulation has grown an extensive empirical literature. Here we take stock of the empirical research on structuration in IS to consider the requirements and options inherent to rigorous IS research that employs a structuration lens. The conceptual relationships presented in structuration theories of IS imply a set of seven requirements for a full-blown program of empirical study; we outline these requirements. We identify five sets of choices that researchers have as they design specific studies and the options available within these choice sets. We then summarize the empirical work in IS to date in terms of major methods that have been applied—case studies, direct observation, experiments, and surveys. We evaluate the relative strength of these methods in light of the requirements and options outlined earlier. We discuss important methodological controversies and directions and emphasize the potential power of adopting an interlocking, comprehensive set of research approaches when studying structuration in IS.

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