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Research Methods in Information Systems


Frederik Ahlemann
Chair of Information Systems and Strategic IT Management
University of Duisburg-Essen

Jens Pöppelbuß
Chair of Industrial Sales and Service Engineering
Ruhr-University Bochum  

Stefan Stieglitz
Professional Communication in Electronic Media / Social Media
University of Duisburg-Essen

Manuel Wiesche
Chair of Digital Transformation
TU Dortmund University

(details will be shared approx. four weeks ahead of class)

08.02.2022   KickOff   (M. Wiesche + Alle)

24.02.2022   Qualitative Research   (M. Wiesche)

03.03.2022   Data- und Network Analysis   (S. Stieglitz)

14.04.2022   Structural Equation Modeling   (F. Ahlemann)

06.05.2022   Design Science Research   (J. Pöppelbuß)

27.06.2022   TBA   (R. Schütte)

Location: Online or at University of Duisburg-Essen/Ruhr-University Bochum/TU Dortmund University
Audience: UA Ruhr PhD students in the first year of their PhD who are interested in conducting research in the Information Systems (Wirtschaftsinformatik) discipline.
Registration: Please apply with a one-page summary of your profile (work history, experience with research methods, research focus, specific interests)  via email to the secretariat of the Chair of Digital Transformation

Contact Secretariat 

Course content

1. Introduction (Frederik Ahlemann, Manuel Wiesche)

  • fundamentals of science
  • overview of research and research methods in IS
  • initial understanding of science and how a research discipline creates scientific process
  • overview of the information systems field and which forms of scientific knowledge exist in the discipline
  • overview of the publication process and a short introduction into reviewing

2. Qualitative Research (Manuel Wiesche)

  • development of an understanding of qualitative exploratory research methods (incl. case studies & grounded theory methodology)
  • understand when such methods should be applied
  • understand which critical decisions and which challenges arise
  • learn how the methods can be applied to research projects in the Information Systems (IS) field
  • understand the espoused goal of theory development for novel phenomena but also other contexts in which qualitative-exploratory approaches can be helpful
  • key methodological procedures and their applications

3. Data- and Network Analysis (Stefan Stieglitz)

  • insights about different types of data (e.g. structured and unstructured data)
  • learn how to collect, process and analyse data
  • introduction of different methods (e.g. social network analysis, sentiment analysis & topic clustering)
  • use real-world data sets to apply these methods to answer research questions
  • examples will be provided about how to link theories and data analytics in a meaningful way
  • critical reflection of data analytics (ethical implications, data protection & data management)

4. Structural Equation Modeling (Frederik Ahlemann)

  • general approach of structural equation modeling and how it links to theory testing
  • basic elements of a structural equation model & alternative approaches to measurement (reflective versus formative)
  • insights into the basic steps of model development, testing & interpretation of results
  • exploration of fundamental quality criteria for structural & measurement models
  • different approaches to model validation (component based versus covariance-based)
  • application of the learned knowledge via SmartPLS and a small demo dataset

5. Design Science Research (Jens Pöppelbuß)

  • understanding of design science research as a main research paradigm in Information Systems
  • differences to and reasonable integration with/complementation by behavioral research
  • learn about different types of artifacts – including constructs, models, methods, and instantiations (e.g., software and hardware) – and discuss under what circumstances these can be considered valuable knowledge contributions to academia
  • recognized process models & guidelines for conducting design science research
  • importance of & approaches to artifact evaluation
  • concepts of design theory & design principles
  • abstract from specific artifact design projects towards generalizable design knowledge
  • publication schema for design science studies & the anatomy for design theories

Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Campus North to Campus South by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus North and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund University has its own train station ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S".

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dort­mund Airport (DTM) to Dort­mund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dort­mund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of in­ter­na­tio­nal flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.

The departments of TU Dort­mund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

Street navigation from and to the TU Dortmund University:

OpenStreetMap Routing Machine

The document and the graphic represent the motorways and federal highways around the TU Dortmund University in a very simplified way:

Environment map (PDF)

Environment map (graphic)

This interactive map helps you find and navigate between facilities and buildings on campus:

Interactive campus map

This document contains a simple campus map in German and English:

Campus map (PDF)