Validity in Design Science Research

Schedule and location

Remote Synchronous classes of up to 2.5 hours (including break) via WebEx following the schedule below.


Topic (details below)   

Start time (EET)

November 2         

Session 1


November 5

Session 2


November 9

Session 3


November 12

Session 4


November 16

Session 5


November 19

Session 6


November 23

Session 7


November 26

Session 8


November 30

Session 9


December 3

Session 10



Registration is open until 25.10.2020.


University Research Professor Jeffrey Parsons Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada


This course will examine the extent to which (and ways in which) concepts of research validity normally associated with behavioral research apply in the planning, execution and evaluation of design science research (DSR) in the information systems field. It is intended to provide students engaging in design science research with the ability to develop projects that produce justified and reliable findings and insights for appropriate academic and practitioner audiences.  

The goal of the research is to provide students with the tools necessary to assess the validity of existing design science research projects and design valid design science research projects. To achieve this goal, students will engage in several activities in preparation for and during this course, including preparing and presenting assigned readings, analyzing the validity of selected DSR cases, and developing a DSR project proposal with emphasis on validity issues. In class we will discuss the assigned readings and cases and constructively critique the DSR project proposals developed by students in the course.

The course format offers an interactive learning experience with the opportunity to develop DSR projects that provide mechanisms to establish research validity and to obtain individualized feedback from the instructor and group feedback from other students in the course.

Preparation and Course Assignments

It is essential that you engage in several preparation activities to successfully attend the course and have your attendance certified and/or graded:

(a) Mandatory preparation assignment 1: Developing a mini DSR project proposal

In order to prepare for the course, we ask you to identify a design science research problem. You will be asked to: (i) analyse the design problem; (ii) sketch a problem solution; and (iii) plan how to demonstrate and/or evaluate your design. Particular focus will be on addressing issues of validity in your proposal. Detailed instructions will be sent to you by e-mail before the course begins. Your project proposals will be presented to the class toward the end of the course

(b) Mandatory preparation assignment 2: Reading assignment and preparation of a short summary

We ask every participant to prepare one reading assignment comprised of the assigned readings for one of the topics in the course (detailed below). We have prepared seven sets of readings for that purpose (Topics 1 through 7 below). You will state your preferences (which topic is your 1st choice, 2nd choice, and 3rd choice) no later than one week before the course. We will then try to find a solution so that every participant is assigned one of his or her preferred packages.

As every topic could be prepared by two participants, you may be chosen as a presenter (15 minutes) or a discussant of your respective topic.

(c) Mandatory preparation assignment 3: Analysis of a DSR case

The final assigned topic for the course (Topic 8 below) is comprised of DSR case studies taken from a recently published book of DSR cases. You are asked to prepare a written assessment of validity issues relevant to the DSR project in the case and the extent to which they are addressed by the researchers. During class, we will discuss the two cases assigned for “Topic 8.” Students may choose one of these cases for their written analysis. Alternatively, and with prior approval of the instructor, students may choose another case from the book Design Science Research. Cases (edited by J. vom Brocke, A. Hevner, and A. Maedche).

Detailed Schedule

Session 1 [Introduction]

  • Welcome and overview
  • Personal and dissertation introduction (3 minutes per participant)
  • Validity in DSR (lecturer-led)

Session 2 [Topic 1: Fundamentals of Design Science Research]

  • Student presentations & Discussion
  • Challenges in doing DSR (open discussion)

Session 3: Initial presentation and discussion of individual DSR project proposal

Session 4: Paper reading assignment Topics 1 and 2 (15 minutes presentation + 15 minutes discussion per topic)

Session 5: Paper reading assignment Topics 3 and 4 (15 minutes presentation + 15 minutes discussion per package)

Session 6: Paper reading assignment Topics 5 and 6 (15 minutes presentation + 15 minutes discussion per package)

Session 7:  Paper reading assignment Topic 7 (15 minutes presentation + 15 minutes discussion)

Session 8: Case assignment discussions (Topic 8)

Session 9: Final presentation of individual DSR project presentations (5 minutes presentation + 5 minutes discussion for each presentation)

Session 10: Wrap-up discussion – open issues.


Topic 1: Fundamentals of DSR

1)    Hevner AR, March ST, Park J and Ram S (2004) Design Science in Information Systems Research. MIS Quarterly 28(1), 75-105.

2)    Peffers K, Tuunanen T, Rothenberger M and Chatterjee S (2007) A Design Science Research Methodology for Information Systems Research. Journal of Management Information Systems 24(3), 45-77.

3)    Rai, A., Burton-Jones, A., H. Chen, A. Gupta, A.R. Hevner, W. Ketter, J. Parsons, H.R. Rao, S. Sarkar, and Y. Yoo (2017). Editor’s Comments: Diversity in Design Science Research. MIS Quarterly, 41(1), iii-xviii.

Topic 2: Fundamentals of Research Validity in Behavioral Research

1)    Brewer, M.B. and W.D. Crano (2000). Research Design and Issues of Validity. In Reis, H.T. and C.M. Judd (Eds.) Handbook of Research Methods in Social and Personality Psychology, Cambridge University Press, pp. 11-26.

2)    M.-C. Boudreau, D. Gefen, and D. W. Straub (2001). Validation in Information Systems Research: A State-of-the-Art Assessment. MIS Quarterly, 25(1), pp. 1–16.

3)    D. Straub, M.-C. Boudreau, and D. Gefen (2004). Validation guidelines for IS positivist research. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 13(24), pp. 380–427.

Topic 3: Design Theory

1)    Walls, J.G., G.R. Widmeyer, and O.A. El Sawy (1992). Building an Information Systems Design Theory for Vigilant EIS. Information Systems Research, 3(1), 36-59.

2)    Jones, D. and S. Gregor (2008). The Anatomy of a Design Theory. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 8(5), 312-335.

Topic 4: Design Principles: Form and Limitations

1)    Gregor, S., L. Chandra Kruse, and S. Seidel (2020). The Anatomy of a Design Principle. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, forthcoming.

2)    Lukyanenko, R. and J. Parsons (2020). Design Theory Indeterminacy: What is it, How Can it be Reduced, and Why Did the Polar Bear Drown? Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 21(5), 1343-1369.

Topic 5: Instantiation Validity

1)    Lukyanenko, R., J. Evermann, and J. Parsons (2014). Instantiation Validity in IS Design Research.  Advancing the Impact of Design Science: Moving from Theory to Practice (DESRIST), Springer, 321-328.

2)    Lukyanenko, R., J. Evermann, and J. Parsons (2015). Guidelines for Establishing Instantiation Validity in IT Artifacts: A Survey of IS Research. New Horizons in Design Science – Broadening the Research Agenda (DESRIST), Springer, 430-438.

3)    Lukyanenko, R., B. Samuel, and J. Parsons (2018). Artifact Sampling: Using Multiple Information Technology Artifacts to Increase Research Rigor. Proceedings of the 51st Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences, 235-244.

Topic 6: Evaluation in DSR

1)    Sonnenberg, C. and J. vom Brocke (2012). Evaluations in the Science of the Artificial - Reconsidering the Build-Evaluate Pattern in Design Science Research. In K. Peffers, M. Rothenberger, and B. Kuechler (Eds.), Design Science Research in Information Systems. Advances in Theory and Practice. Proceedings of the 7th DESRIST Conference, Springer LNCS Vol. 7286, 381-397.

2)    Venable J, J. Pries-Heje J, and R.L. Baskerville (2016). FEDS: A Framework for Evaluation in Design Science Research. European Journal of Information Systems, 25(1), 77-89.

Topic 7: Mapping the DSR Validity Space

1)    Baskerville, R. M. Kaul, and V. C. Storey (2015). Genres of Inquiry in Design-Science Research: Justification and Evaluation of Knowledge Production. MIS Quarterly, 39(3), 541–564.

2)    Baskerville, R., M. Kaul, and V. Storey (2018). Establishing reliability in design science research. Proceedings of the 2017 International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2017), 18pp.

3)    Larsen, K., R. Lukyanenko, R. Mueller, V.C. Storey, D. VanderMeer, J. Parsons, and D. Hovorka (2020). Defining and Applying Research Validities for Design Science Research. International Conference on Design Science Research in Information Systems (DESRIST), forthcoming, 12pp.

Topic 8: Case Studies

1)    Lukyanenko, R. and J. Parsons (2020). Easier Crowdsourcing is Better: Designing Crowdsourcing Systems to Increase Information Quality and User Participation. In J. vom Brocke, A. Hevner, and A. Maedche (Eds.) Design Science Research. Cases, Springer, 2020, 43-72.

2)    Conboy, C., D. Dennehy, and R. Gleasure (2020). A Design Science Approach to Implementing Flow-based Information Systems Development (ISD). In J. vom Brocke, A. Hevner, and A. Maedche (Eds.) Design Science Research. Cases, Springer, 2020, 105-127. 

Credit points

Doctoral students participating in the seminar can obtain 3 credit points. This requires participating on all sessions and completing the assignments.

Registration fee

This seminar is free-of-charge for member organization's staff and their PhD students. For others the participation fee is 400 €. The participation fee includes access to the event and the event materials.