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Combining IS Research Methods: Towards a Pluralist Methodology

This paper puts forward arguments in favor of a pluralist approach to IS research. Rather than advocating a single paradigm, be it interpretive or positivist, or even a plurality of paradigms within the discipline as a whole, it suggests that research results will be richer and more reliable if different research methods, preferably from different (existing) paradigms, are routinely combined together. The paper is organized into three sections after the Introduction. In §2, the main arguments for the desirability of multimethod research are put forward, while §3 discusses its feasibility in theory and practice. §4 outlines two frameworks that are helpful in designing mixed-method research studies. These are illustrated with a critical evaluation of three examples of empirical research.

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