A Regent’s Professor of the University System of Georgia and the J. Mack Robinson Distinguished Professor of Information Systems
Georgia State University
September 24, 2010
Speakman Hall 200, 1000am – 1130am
One of the most common beliefs circulated among both IS academics and practitioners is that IS scholarly work, i.e., research, is not being widely disseminated in practice. One explanation offered for this belief is that there is a natural tension between academic scholarship (rigor) and practice (relevance), the two groups not sharing knowledge as much as they might because of failings on the part of academics and academic journals, in particular, to make their work “speak” more to practice.
This presentation argues that if we understand the highly defensible goals of scholars and practitioners, the tension could fade into the background or even disappear. In short, this perception could be badly overstated because of a widespread misunderstanding of what scholarship is trying accomplish as opposed to what practice is trying to accomplish. It could also be overstated because we have never really studied the knowledge transfer issue.
The logic that follows argues that “rigor versus relevance” is the wrong framing; practitioners generally cannot understand nor can they directly use academics’ “methodological rigor.” They may learn IT research findings through other avenues, but NOT thru scholarly journals. Sadly, there has been NO literature germain to the underlying, real issue of whether IS research is relevant.
For a copy of the paper, click here.