Conceptual Model to Guide the Configuration of Research Methods

Graphical represenation of the model: 
Model Master Data

This conceptual model is a first instantiation of the meta model. It comes with the claim to be suitable for any kind of scientific research. Colours are used to indicate the meta concepts, the concepts in the model are instantiated from.


The model is intended to guide the configuration of research methods. Among other things, any research method should account for an essential epistemological contribution, a knowledge contribution and justification criteria. The model describes the spectrum of possible configuration options.

The model should allow for being applied to any scientific discipline. It resulted from a project that was aimed at developing a foundation for the configuration of research methods in Information Systems Research - 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 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. In addition to the meta model, it is based on, it includes further assumptions about possible instantiations of generic ontological and epistemological concepts.

The model lacks detailed constraints. It is not intended for applying formal analysis. Also, the concepts in the model, such as 'truth' or 'purpose' are not suited for a comprehensive formalization anyway.

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: 
Is the model complete to cover all relevant aspects of research methods? Is the level of detail the model provides appropriate?
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: 
DSL for modelling (configuration of) research methods
Version of modelling language: 
Justification of modelling language: 
An ERM could have been used, too. However, it would lack concepts to express specific kinds of relationships. Therefore, it seemed more appropriate to define a special purpose language - however, without going for a formal foundation.
Model Layer: 
Type Level
Model Category: 
Research Method
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