|Lecturer||Dr. Monica Fallon|
|Credit Points||8 ECTS|
|Grading||Theory Presentation (33%), Class Discussion (33%), Discussion Leader (33%)|
|Information for Students||Registration: CDSB Website|
Knowledge creation and dissemination are key objectives of scientific endeavors. However, what constitutes knowledge is a highly contested issue. Certainly, at the core of social science disciplines, knowledge is inseparable from theory. Indeed, to seek theory- guided explanations of real-world phenomenon is what separates scholars from consultants, who seek to change reality without explaining it, and from journalists, who report reality but do not explain it. The pursuit of theory drives us to understand reality—to discover truth—before making recommendations on how to change reality. To pursue theory is to pursue knowledge; to pursue knowledge is to advance humanity. Consequently, many scholars emphasize the centrality of theories for any scientific endeavor—a thought widely reflected in many disciplines from the natural to the social sciences. While attention to theoretical work has been at the heart of the Information Systems (IS) discipline for a long time, the focus on theoretical debates and genuine conceptual contributions has been picking up recently. This is reflected by a number of journal sections and conference tracks dedicated to advancing theory and theorizing in IS research and just as much as in many authors’ experiences during the reviews of their work.
This course invites participants to join the ongoing discourse on theories and theorizing in IS research. It is designed to help participants build and extend their understanding of the nature and role of theory in IS research. Through discussions and analyses of current theoretical developments in the IS discipline and some of its main reference disciplines, participants will engage with theory and advance their skills of crafting their own theoretical contributions and evaluating those of others.
This course will be driven by discussion and as such students are expected to come prepared for each class, having read and thought about all readings. During the kick-off session, each student will volunteer to lead the discussion on the readings for the seven following sessions.
The purpose of the classes is to discuss what students have learned from the readings—both assigned and otherwise. My role as instructor will be to help guide the discussion, ensure that the key points have been identified and understood, and move the discussion forward. All students are expected to actively participate in the discussion on all readings by sharing their own thinking, raising questions, and making connections among the readings of this course and beyond.
Each student will present one theory not covered in the course readings that could be applicable to the students’ own research. The presentations will take place during session eight on May 24th. The presentations will be no more than 15 minutes. The presentations are intended to encourage students to select a theory that is appropriate to explain the phenomenon in their own research. The student should plan to explain the main tenets of the theory, name rival theories, and illustrate reasons why the selected theory is better than rival theories for explaining the phenomenon at hand. The students will distribute the slides among participants and present the slides to the class. The final slides should provide references to the seminal work as well as other references, as needed, to the theory.
The grade will be based on class discussion, leading the discussion of some of the articles, and a single individual project.
|February 22nd||12:00pm – 1:30pm||Kick-Off||L 15, 1–6, Room 714|
|March 1st||12:00pm – 1:30pm||Theory Part 1||L 15, 1–6, Room 714|
|March 8th||12:00pm – 1:30pm||Theory Part 2||L 15, 1–6, Room 714|
|March 15th||12:00pm – 1:30pm||Theorizing Part 1||L 15, 1–6, Room 714|
|March 22nd||12:00pm – 1:30pm||Theorizing Part 2||L 15, 1–6, Room 714|
|March 29th||12:00pm – 1:30pm||Evaluating Theory Contribution||L 15, 1–6, Room 714|
|April 5th||12:00pm – 1:30pm||Theory Contribution in Different Journals||L 15, 1–6, Room 714|
|April 26th||12:00pm – 1:30pm||Theory Contribution Across Methods||L 15, 1–6, Room 714|
|May 24th||12:00pm – 1:30pm||Student Presentations||L 15, 1–6, Room 714|
Session 1: Theory Part 1
Session 2: Theory Part 2
Session 3: Theorizing Part 1
Session 4: Theorizing Part 2
Session 5: Evaluating Theory Contribution
Session 6:Theory Contribution Examples from Different IS Journals
Session 7: Theory Contribution Across Methods (holding journal constant)