Meta model of Models for Guiding the Configuration of Research Methods

Graphical represenation of the model: 
Model Master Data

This is a rudimentary meta model of the concepts to be taken into account for designing research methods. They should apply to any scientific discipline.


This is not a formal model that could be used to determine the set of possible instantiations. It is only intended to provide a guideline for instantiations that allow for a more elaborate description of options to design a research project in a particular discipline. In order to describe a research method, it is required to know core concepts - both on an epistemological and an ontological level - and they way the may be used. It is the purpose of this meta model to define these core concepts and their relationships in order to guide the specification of consistent research methods.

On an international level, research in Information Systems is dominated by a behaviourist approach. The work that produced this meta model is based on the assumption that due to the diversity of research subjects and goals, a mono-paradigmatic approach to research is not sufficient. Instead, it suggests an approach that allows the configuration of research methods - see Frank, U.: Towards a Pluralistic Conception of Research Methods in Information Systems Research. ICB Research Report, Nr. 7, 2006
Stakeholders and prospective users: 

Researchers in Information Systems Research - including Information Systems and Wirtschaftsinformatik

This meta model is based on ontological and epistemological assumptions, which are related to various schools in philosophy of science. It is also based on the assumption that there is a common conception of science that fits all scientific disciplines.
No formal transformation has been defined yet - and this is not the purpose of the model anyway.
Relevant design decisions and discussion of possible alternatives: 
The most important design decision was to find appropriate abstractions of various concepts of truth, knowledge contributions and justification processes.
Open questions: 
While this model is rather generic, there is still the question whether it is complete, i. e. whether it allows for covering all relevant aspects for the configuration of a research method.
Name of model owner: 
Ulrich Frank
Affiliation of model owner: 

Institute for Computer Science and Business Information Systems, University of Duisburg-Essen

Date and time of creation: 
Modelling language: 
kind of ERM
Version of modelling language: 
Justification of modelling language: 
familiarity with ERM, focus on static concepts only
Modelling Tool(s) used: 
Model Layer: 
Meta Level
Model Category: 
Research Methodology
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