In the first article, Maass et al. develop a framework that distinguishes between data-driven and theory-driven research. The authors propose that information systems can help reconcile these two seemingly disparate pathways through finding the intersection between the two, and hence provide scholars and researchers with new opportunities to conduct impactful research. They also articulate the different challenges that such a scholarly endeavor might entail and proceed with advising the best ways they can be tackled. In doing so, the authors identify 4 major challenges: (a) reconciling competing approaches to creating or defining domain theories using big data, (b) selecting data and analytic techniques to conduct theory testing, (c) solving problems that are unsolvable from a single perspective, (d) sharing data across research teams and projects. The respective resolutions (as well as examples) are then discussed and then related to information systems research, which can in turn assume an intermediary, responsive, or proactive role. All in all, the writers propose a framework that aims at facilitating the interaction between the two previously mentioned research streams i.e. data-driven and theory-driven research.
The second paper by Sarker et al. suggests that the sociotechnical perspective can be regarded as a fundamental pillar, around which the information systems discipline revolves. The sociotechnical viewpoint is believed to contribute to the IS field’s distinctiveness. This very foundation seems to be increasingly neglected by IS scholars as indicated by papers appearing in top IS journals (MISQ and ISR) from 2000 to 2016. The authors categorize the different conceptualizations of the relationship between the social and technical aspects into 6 types. They also look at the objectives that the papers have focused on. They then present some solutions to resolve the issue depicted above and posit the viability of the filed depends on adopting them by future scholars.