Qualitative Research Methods in Information Systems

Schedule and location

Monday October 13th - Tuesday October 14th
University of Jyväskylä, Mattilanniemi 2, Agora, room Ag C231 


Registration is full!


This seminar is a part of a longer 5-day course with the same name at University of Jyväskylä, which continues through the week until Friday. If you want to expand your education, you may register for the rest of the course too free of charge. The optional latter three days are administrated by the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems (JYU) and the whole program to the course can be seen here. If you are interested in taking part of the longer course, please mention about this when registering to Inforte.fi seminar Qualitative Research Methods in Information Systems. If you forgot to do this, notice


Professor Michael D. Myers, University of Auckland Business School, New Zealand


Professor Tuure Tuunanen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Detailed Program

Day 1

09:00    Introduction to qualitative research workshop
            Overview of qualitative research
10:30    Tea Break
11:00    Qualitative research design
12:00    Lunch
13:30    Philosophical perspectives:
               • Positivist qualitative research
               • Interpretive qualitative research
               • Critical qualitative research
             Exercise: Analysis of articles assigned before the workshop
15:00    Tea Break
15:30    Ethics
             Exercise: An Ethical Dilemma
16:30   Close

Day 2

9:00     Qualitative research methods:
               • Action Research
               • Case Study Research
             Exercise: Compare Action Research and Case Study Research
10:30    Tea Break
11:00    Qualitative research methods:
               • Ethnographic Research
12:00    Lunch
13:30    Qualitative research methods:
               • Grounded theory
             Exercise: Coding
15:00    Tea Break
15:30    Discussion of student projects
16:30    Close

Credit points

Doctoral students participating in the seminar and/or course can obtain either 2 or 3 credit points. This requires participating on lectures and completing the given pre and post course assignments.
For the 2-day Inforte.fi seminar we will require both pre and post course assignments and participating in lectures (10 hours). This equals 2 ECTS.
For the 5-day course we will require both pre and post course assignments and participating lectures (25 hours). This equals 3 ECTS.

Pre Course Assignment

Students should read Myers, M.D. "Qualitative Research in Information Systems," AISWorld Section on Qualitative Research, www.qual.auckland.ac.nz to become acquainted with the basic concepts of qualitative research in Information Systems.
They should also read the following two articles:
Markus, M.L. "Power, Politics, and MIS Implementation," Communications of the ACM (26) 1983, pp 430-444.
Ravishankar, M.N., Pan, S.L., and Myers, M.D. 'Information technology offshoring in India: a postcolonial perspective'. European Journal of Information Systems, 22, 4, 387-402, 2013.
  • Students will prepare a one-page summary of expectations and goals they hope to achieve by taking this course.
  • Each student will write a brief one paragraph summary of each article.
  • Each student should answer the following questions about each article   
            - Is the article positivist, interpretive or critical? How can you tell?
            - What research method was used?
            - What was the main research topic?
            - How were the data analysed?
            - Was the article a contribution to knowledge? If so, how?
            - Given that the two articles were published some 30 years apart, what do these articles tell us about progress in IS research over this time?
  • Send these deliverables to the teaching assistant (Alain Ebot) via email at least one week before the start of the course.

Post Course Assignment

The post course assignment involves writing a comprehensive review of a published piece of research that uses one or more qualitative research methods. The article should be what you consider to be an exemplar of the use of qualitative research in IS.
The main focus of your review should be on the overall contribution of the article to the field of information systems. The purpose of this assignment is to give you practice in assessing the quality of a qualitative research article and some understanding of the peer review process. An excellent set of suggestions about how to review an academic paper are provided by Allen S. Lee at http://www.people.vcu.edu/~aslee/referee.htm
The details of assignment 1 are as follows:
  • You should review just one research article. You may select the article you wish to review from any recognised journal in information systems such as MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, Journal of Management Information Systems, European Journal of Information Systems etc. 
  • The article should use one or more of the research methods discussed in class i.e. action research, case study research, ethnographic research or grounded theory.
  • Your review should not exceed 3,000 words (approximately 12 double-spaced A4 pages including references).
  • Your review should have the following structure:
            - A cover sheet with your name, title, and student ID
            - An abstract of about 150 words that summarises your review
            - An introduction section
            - One or more main sections
            - A conclusion
            - A list of references in an appropriate format
            - All pages must be numbered
  • Your review should address issues such as: 
            - The philosophical perspective, the theoretical framework, the research method used etc.
            - The topic and the research question(s) being addressed
            - How the data were analyzed
            - The appropriateness of the research method
            - The quality of research method used
            - The validity or plausibility of the results obtained and their usefulness
  • Send the assignment to the teaching assistant within two weeks after the completion of the course.
Dr Michael D. Myers
Professor of Information Systems
University of Auckland Business School
Auckland, New Zealand
Tel: +649 9237468



Teaching Assistant:
Alain Ebot
PhD Student
University of Jyväskylä


Required text:
  • Myers, M.D. 2013. Qualitative Research in Business & Management. 2nd edition. London, Sage Publications.
Recommended reading:
  • Baskerville, R. "Investigating Information Systems with Action Research," Communications of the AIS (2:19) 1999, AIS Library.
  • Benbasat, I., Goldstein, D.K. and Mead, M. "The Case Research Strategy in Studies of Information Systems," MIS Quarterly (11:3) 1987, pp. 369-386.
  • Bouty, I. "Interpersonal and interaction influences on informal resource exchanges between R&D researchers across organizational boundaries," Academy of Management Journal (43:1) 2000, pp 50-65.
  • Dubé, L., and Paré, G. "Rigor in Information Systems Positivist Case Research: Current Practices, Trends, and Recommendations," MIS Quarterly (27:4), 2003, pp 597-636.
  • Klein, H.K., and Myers, M.D. "A Set of Principles for Conducting and Evaluating Interpretive Field Studies in Information Systems," MIS Quarterly (23:1) 1999, pp. 67-93. 
  • Kohli, R., and Kettinger, W.J. "Informating the Clan: Controlling Physicians' Costs and Outcomes," MIS Quarterly (28:3), 2004, pp. 363-394.
  • Larsen, M., and Myers, M.D. "When success turns into failure: a package-driven business process re-engineering project in the financial services industry," Journal of Strategic Information Systems (8:4), 1999, pp. 395-417.
  • Lee, A.S. "Electronic Mail as a Medium for Rich Communication: An Empirical Investigation Using Hermeneutic Interpretation," MIS Quarterly (18:2), 1994, pp 143-157.
  • Markus, M.L. "Power, Politics, and MIS Implementation," Communications of the ACM (26) 1983, pp 430-444.
  • Myers, M.D. "Qualitative Research in Information Systems," AISWorld Section on Qualitative Research, www.qual.auckland.ac.nz
  • Myers, M.D. "Investigating Information Systems with Ethnographic Research," Communication of the AIS (2) 1999, pp 1-20.
  • Myers, M.D., and Klein, H.K. "A Set of Principles for Conducting Critical Research in Information Systems," MIS Quarterly (35:1), 2011, pp. 17-36.
  • Myers, M.D., and Newman, M. "The qualitative interview in IS research: Examining the craft," Information and Organization (17:1) 2007, pp 2-26.
  • Myers, M.D., and Young, L.W. "Hidden Agendas, Power, and Managerial Assumptions in Information Systems Development: An Ethnographic Study," Information Technology & People (10:3) 1997, pp 224-240.
  • Orlikowski, W.J. "CASE Tools as Organizational Change: Investigating Incremental and Radical Changes in Systems Development," MIS Quarterly (17:3) 1993, pp. 309-340.
  • Ravishankar, M.N., Pan, S.L., and Myers, M.D. 'Information technology offshoring in India: a postcolonial perspective'. European Journal of Information Systems, 22, 4, 387-402, 2013.
  • Schultze, U. "A Confessional Account of an Ethnography About Knowledge Work," MIS Quarterly (24:1), 2000, pp 3-41.
  • Sein, M., Henfridsson, O., Purao, S., Rossi, M., and Lindgren, R. "Action Design Research," MIS Quarterly (35:2), 2011, pp. 37-56.
  • Urquhart, C., Lehmann, H, and Myers, M.D. ‘Putting the Theory back into Grounded Theory: Guidelines for Grounded Theory Studies in Information Systems’. Information Systems Journal, 20, 4, 357-381, 2010.
  • Walsham, G., and Sahay, S. "GIS for District-Level Administration in India: Problems and Opportunities," MIS Quarterly (23:1) 1999, pp 39-65.

Registration fee

This seminar is free-of-charge for Inforte.fi member organization's staff and their PhD students. For others the participation fee is 750 €. The participation fee includes access to the event and the event materials. Lunch and dinner are not included.