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Pragmatism - Philosophy of Science (lecture slides)

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Slides from my lecture on Pragmatism in the Philosophy of Science course for students in the Information Management masters program at Aarhus University (Denmark). The class covers essentials of the pragmatism paradigm and discusses two research approaches within this paradigm -- design science research and action research.

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Pragmatism - Philosophy of Science (lecture slides)

  1. 1. SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE 25 NOVEMBER 2015 PRAGMATISM IS Philosophy of Science and Research 25 November 2015
  2. 2. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 2 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE SERGEJS GROSKOVS MSc IT / MSc Management / BSc Economics 12+ years in business development and research EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION
  3. 3. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 3 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE AGENDA  Part 1: Pragmatic approach  Part 2: Design science research & Action research  Part 3: Student presentations
  4. 4. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 4 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE LEARNING OUTCOMES You will have:  received an overview and insight into the pragmatism paradigm  experimented with design science research and action research  analyzed and presented journal papers within the pragmatism paradigm
  5. 5. SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE 25 NOVEMBER 2015 PART 1: PRAGMATIC APPROACH
  6. 6. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 6 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE  Positivist approach  Interpretive approach  Pragmatic approach  Critical approach APPROACHES TO RESEARCH IN THE INFORMATION SYSTEMS DOMAIN
  7. 7. Picture: Himmelfarb et al 2002: 1526 (artist: G. Renee Guzlas)
  8. 8. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 9 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE THE AIM OF PRAGMATIC RESEARCH NOT:  To discover objective reality (elephant) and explain the laws governing it  To understand and interpret subjective meanings of what blind men think about reality BUT:  To generate useful knowledge for practice (e.g. how to ride an elephant to a destination)
  9. 9. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 10 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE PARADIGMS IN IS RESEARCH Research Approach Paradigm (epistemology) Design Research Pragmatism “What works” Ethnographies Research Methods (e.g.) Case Studies Action ResearchGrounded Theory (adapted from Fernández 2003: chapter 2, 3; Mills et al. 2006; Patton 2002: 124-129; Straub et al. 2005; Vaishnavi and Kuechler, 2004/5; Walsham 2006)
  10. 10. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 11 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE RATIONALISTS Descartes (1596-1650) & Leibniz (1724-1804) EMPIRICISTS Locke (1632-1704) & Hume (1711-1776) (Neuman 2011: 70, Van de Ven 2007: 41-43)
  11. 11. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 12 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE RATIONALISTS Descartes (1596-1650) & Leibniz (1724-1804) EMPIRICISTS Locke (1632-1704) & Hume (1711-1776) (Neuman 2011: 70, Van de Ven 2007: 41-43)
  12. 12. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 13 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE RATIONALISTS Descartes (1596-1650) & Leibniz (1724-1804) EMPIRICISTS Locke (1632-1704) & Hume (1711-1776) (Neuman 2011: 70, Van de Ven 2007: 41-43) TRANSCENDENTAL IDEALISM Kant (1724-1804) PRAGMATISM
  13. 13. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 14 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE ABDUCTION Abduction is an inference to the best explanation. It starts from a set of facts and infers the most likely hypothesis to explain the phenomenon. (Van de Ven 2007: 298)
  14. 14. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 15 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE ABDUCTION One way to distinguishing logics of enquiry is to see induction and deduction as involving linear processes, the former being bottom up and the latter top down, and… abduction as involving much more complex processes that can be thought of as a rising spiral involving numerous iterations. (Blaikie 2007: 3) Picture: living.dk
  15. 15. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 16 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE PRAGMATISM: SUMMARY Pragmatism includes philosophers, who take either objective or subjective views of ontology, but all adopt a subjective epistemology that emphasizes the relation between knowledge and action-knowledge is “truthful” to the extent that it is successful in guiding action. (Van de Ven 2007: 40) Two main directions:  relativism – Dewey and Rorty  realism – Peirce, James, and Rescher (Van de Ven 2007: 39)
  16. 16. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 17 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE PRAGMATISM: SUMMARY  According to James, the truthfulness of a theory is evident through its success as an instrument that is loyal to past experience but also is able to transcend it to generate new facts and to hold so long as it is believed to be “profitable for our lives”. (Van de Ven 2007: 56)  Pragmatism is multifaceted and seems to vary according to each pragmatist. (Van de Ven 2007: 54)  Natural science has a traditional focus on truth whereas design science based on pragmatism focuses more on (situated) utility. (adapted from Vaishnavi and Kuechler 2004)
  17. 17. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 18 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE PRAGMATISM: SUMMARY  Pragmatism developed as an alternative to the historical debates between rationalism and empiricism.  Pragmatism attempts to reconcile the abstractness of rationalism with the particularism of empiricism.  Pragmatism is characterized by the relation of theory and praxis.  The varieties of pragmatisms share a common understanding of truth as the success in guiding action and prediction.  Pragmatism embraced abduction as the mode of scientific discovery.
  18. 18. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 19 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE PHILOSOPHICAL ASSUMPTIONS OF THREE RESEARCH PERSPECTIVES POSITIVIST INTERPRETIVE PRAGMATIST Ontology A single reality. Knowable. Probabilistic Multiple realities, socially constructed Subjective: Similar to postmodernism. Objective: Reality places limitations and constraints on our actions Epistemology Objective. Dispassionate. Detached observer of truth Subjective, i.e. values and knowledge emerge from the researcher-participant interaction Knowing through making. Subjective and dependent on practical consequences Methodology Observation. Quantitative. Statistical Participation. Qualitative. Hermeneutic, dialectical. Developmental: Measure artifactual impacts on the composite system Human nature Determinism (although different degrees) Voluntarism (although different degrees) Middle ground and situated (depends on relativism or realism understanding) (Vaishnavi and Kuechler 2004)
  19. 19. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 20 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE PRAGMATISM VS INTERPRETIVISM Remarks:  “Dewey (1931) describes pragmatism to be based on both realist and idealist metaphysics” (Goldkuhl 2012: 141)  Understanding and interpretation (hermeneutics) (Goldkuhl 2012: 142)    
  20. 20. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 21 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE PRAGMATISM VS OTHERS: EXAMPLE 1 (Martela 2015: 12)
  21. 21. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 22 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE PRAGMATISM VS OTHERS: EXAMPLE 2 Remarks:  “Critical realism incorporating pragmatic action” (Coghlan & Brannick 2012: 42)  ”Epistemic reflexivity looks at exposing interests and enabling emancipation through self-reflexivity” (ibid.) (Coghlan & Brannick 2012: 41)    
  22. 22. SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE 25 NOVEMBER 2015 EXERCISE Use the group report assignment from the course “IS Development and Implementation in a Business Context” (final report) and discuss with your neighbor:  Which paradigm you will be using in the assignment?  What research design you will be using?  Quantitative, qualitative, design research, or mixed?  Which research methods?
  23. 23. Positivistic approach Interpretive approach Critical approach Pragmatic approach Quantitative research Qualitative research Design research Mixed research
  24. 24. SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE 25 NOVEMBER 2015 PART 2: DESIGN SCIENCE RESEARCH & ACTION RESEARCH
  25. 25. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 26 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE DESIGN SCIENCE VS ACTION RESEARCH  Cycles and collaboration in AR Artifact in design science research (Coghlan and Brannick 2010: 10)
  26. 26. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 27 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE DESIGN SCIENCE RESEARCH
  27. 27. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 28 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE …design, stripped to its essence, can be defined as the human capacity to shape and make our environment in ways without precedent in nature, to serve our needs and give meaning to our lives. John Heskett (2002: 7). Toothpicks & Logos: Design in Everyday Life. Oxford University Press
  28. 28. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 29 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE Design disciplines have a long history of building their knowledge base through making – the construction of artifacts and the evaluation of artifact performance following construction. A GENERAL MODEL FOR GENERATING AND ACCUMULATING KNOWLEDGE (Vaishnavi and Kuechler 2004)
  29. 29. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 30 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE WHAT ARE THEY DOING? Design • creating something new that does not exist in nature Design research • research into or about design Design science research • research using design as a research method or technique (Vaishnavi and Kuechler 2004) Picture: drs2012bangkok.org
  30. 30. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 31 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE HEVNER’S THREE-CYCLE FRAMEWORK (Hevner 2007: 88)
  31. 31. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 32 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE DESIGN SCIENCE RESEARCH FRAMEWORK (Hevner et al. 2004: 80)
  32. 32. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 33 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE DESIGN SCIENCE RESEARCH GUIDELINES (Hevner et al. 2004)
  33. 33. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 34 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE ACTIVITIES & OUTPUTS IN DESIGN SCIENCE RESEARCH ACTIVITIES RESEARCH OUTPUTS Build Evaluate Theorize Justify Constructs or concepts form the vocabulary of a domain (e.g. entities, attributes, relationships, identifiers, constraints) Model is a set of propositions or statements expressing relationships among constructs (e.g. entity-relationship model) Method is a set of steps, an algorithm or guideline used to perform a task (e.g. normalization of relational databases) Instantiation is the realization of an artifact in its environment (e.g. physical implementation of a specific database) (Adapted from March and Smith 1995)
  34. 34. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 35 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE CHALLENGES FOR DESIGN SCIENCE  There is an inadequate theoretical base. The field is still very young lacking the cumulative theory development found in other engineering and social-science disciplines.  Insufficient sets of constructs, models, methods, and tools exist for accurately representing the business/technology environment.  The existing knowledge base is often insufficient for design purposes and designers must rely on intuition, experience, and trial-and-error methods.  Design-science research is perishable. Rapid advances in technology can invalidate design-science research results before they are implemented effectively in the business environment.  Rigorous evaluation methods are extremely difficult to apply in design-science research. (Hevner et al. 2004: 99)
  35. 35. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 36 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE ACTION RESEARCH
  36. 36. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 37 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE CHARACTERISTICS OF ACTION RESEARCH  Research in action, rather than research about action  Not detached observation, but participation and enacting change  Collaborative democratic partnership  Together with members of the system, not clinically uninvolved  Research concurrent with action  Making more effective actions and simultaneously building up knowledge  Sequence of events and an approach to problem solving  Iterative cycles and scientific method of fact-finding and experimentation (Coghlan & Brannick 2012: 4-5)
  37. 37. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 38 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE ACTION RESEARCH CYCLES (Coghlan & Brannick 2012: 4-5)
  38. 38. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 39 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE ACTION RESEARCH CYCLES (Coghlan & Brannick 2012: 9-10) What is the issue? What shall we do about it? We do it What is the result of our intervention?
  39. 39. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 40 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE ACTION RESEARCH CYCLES (Coghlan & Brannick 2012: 9-10) What is the issue? What shall we do about it? We do it What is the result of our intervention? What is the result of our intervention?
  40. 40. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 41 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE ACTION RESEARCH CYCLES (Coghlan & Brannick 2012: 9-10) What is the issue? What shall we do about it?What is the result of our intervention? What is the result of our intervention? We do it
  41. 41. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 42 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE SIMULTANEOUS ACTION RESEARCH CYCLES (Coghlan & Brannick 2012: 10-11)
  42. 42. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 43 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE REALITY OF ACTION RESEARCH (Coghlan & Brannick 2012: 69)
  43. 43. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 44 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE QUALITY & RIGOR IN ACTION RESEARCH A good action research project contains three elements:  What happened?  A good story  How do you make sense of what happened?  A rigorous reflection on that story  So what?  An extrapolation of usable knowledge or theory from the reflection on the story (Coghlan & Brannick 2012: 15-16)
  44. 44. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 45 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE ACTION RESEARCH + DESIGN SCIENCE (Sein 2011: 41)
  45. 45. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 46 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE PARADIGM? APPROACH? Venture Tower game for partnerships  Created based on a problem identified during an interview with a startup CEO  Designed and developed by a group of design students based on Jenga  Tested with two different groups of business people  Participants generously shared their reflections on doing business (cultures, planning, risk, mgmt styles, delegation, profit, funding, growth etc.) (Groskovs 2011)
  46. 46. SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE 25 NOVEMBER 2015 EXERCISE Use the group report assignment from the course “IS Development and Implementation in a Business Context” (final report) and discuss with your neighbor:  How you might use –  Design science research approach?  Action research approach?
  47. 47. SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE 25 NOVEMBER 2015 FINAL QUESTIONS  Aim of pragmatic research?  Action research vs Design science research?
  48. 48. SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE 25 NOVEMBER 2015 PART 3: STUDENT PRESENTATIONS
  49. 49. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 50 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE GUIDELINES FOR PAPER PRESENTATIONS  Content and structure  Main contributions  Paradigmatic point of departure (ontology, epistemology, human nature, methodology)  Research methodology  Use of theory  Discussion of findings  Implications  How to make practical use of the paper
  50. 50. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 51 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE  Presentation 2 – Group 7 Presentation 1 – Group 6 STUDENT PRESENTATIONS
  51. 51. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 52 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE REFERENCES  Blaikie, N. (2007). Approaches to social enquiry: Advancing knowledge.  Burrell, G. and Morgan, G. (1979). Sociological Paradigms and Organisational Analysis. Elements of the Sociology of Corporate Life. London, Heinemann Educational.  Coghlan, D. and Brannick, T. (2012). Doing action research in your own organization. London, Sage Publications.  Fernández, W. D. (2003). Metateams in Major Information Technology Projects - A Grounded Theory on Conflict, Trust, Communication, and Cost. School of Information Systems. Brisbane, Queensland University of Technology. PhD.  Groskovs, S. (2011) Design Talks Business: The Venture Tower Game. Proceedings of the SIDeR’11 Conference, DTU.  Goldkuhl, G. (2012). Pragmatism vs interpretivism in qualitative information systems research. European Journal of Information Systems, 21(2), 135-146. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/ejis.2011.54  Hevner, A. (2007). "The Three Cycle View of Design Science Research." Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems 19(2): 87.  Hevner, A. R. et al. (2004). "Design Science in Information Systems Research." MIS Quarterly 28(1): 75-105.  Martela, F. (2015). Fallible Inquiry with Ethical Ends-in-View: A Pragmatist Philosophy of Science for Organizational Research. Organization Studies 36(4), 537–563.
  52. 52. 25 NOVEMBER 2015 53 SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE REFERENCES  Mills, J., A. Bonner and K. Francis (2006). "The development of constructivist grounded theory." International Journal of Qualitative Methods 5(1): 1- 10.  Neuman, W. L. (2006). Social Research Methods: Quantitative and Qualitative Methods (Sixth Edition ed.). Boston: Pearson Education Inc.  Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods. Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications Inc.  Sein, M. K., Henfridsson, O., Purao, S., Rossi, M., & Lindgren, R. (2011). Action Design Research. MIS Quarterly, 35(1), 37-56.  Straub, D., Gefen, D. and Boudreau, M.-C. (2005). Quantitative Research. Research in information systems: a handbook for research supervisors and their students. D. E. Avison and J. Pries-Heje. Oxford, Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann: 221-238.  Vaishnavi, V. and W. Kuechler. (2004, last updated November 11, 2012). "Design Research in Information Systems." http://desrist.org/design- research-in-information-systems/.  Van de Ven, A. (2007). Engaged scholarship: A guide for organizational and social research, Oxford University Press, USA.  Walsham, G. (2006). "Doing Interpretive Research." European Journal of Information Systems 15(3): 320-330.
  53. 53. SERGEJS GROSKOVS EXTERNAL LECTURER & PHD CANDIDATE 25 NOVEMBER 2015 THANK YOU Significant part of the content for this presentation was kindly provided by Per Svejvig

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