Doctoral seminar: Qualitative Research Methods in Information Systems
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This seminar will introduce students to concepts and techniques associated with designing and conducting and/or evaluating empirical research of predominantly qualitative character in the IS discipline.

10/6/2014 to 10/7/2014
When: 10/6/2014
Where: University of Lausanne
Campus Dorigny
Lausanne 1015
Presenter: Prof. Dr. Benjamin Müller
Contact: Christine Legner

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Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Benjamin Müller, University of Groningen


The course will introduce students to concepts and techniques associated with designing and conducting and/or evaluating empirical research of predominantly qualitative character. Beyond introducing students to the principal foundations and historic development of qualitative research, the course focuses on issues of research design (especially data collection and data analysis) and interpretation methods.

To illustrate these aspects, the course relies on the field of Information Systems research. Accordingly, selected articles published in this discipline will be used to provide examples, best practices, as well as grounds for in-class discussions. The outline of the course is as follows:


Part I: Foundations

In this section the historical development of qualitative research will be introduced briefly. This will also be used to look at some of the philosophical foundations required to better understand when qualitative methods are appropriate and how the need to be designed accordingly.


Part II: Research Design

Subsequently, the course will discuss the research design of qualitative empirical studies covering both data collection and analysis. Single and multiple case study research designs are considered in the course and the advantages and limitations of alternative designs are examined. Beyond the general research design, specific methods for data collection will be introduced briefly and a reflection on multi-methodological approaches will be provided. A particular emphasis is placed on research ethics of qualitative fieldwork.

Extending these issues, the course will examine different strategies for analyzing qualitative data. In particular, aspects such as validity, reliability cross-checking and triangulation of data obtained through different data collection techniques are discussed. Various approaches to support the process of coding are introduced and contrasted.

Part III: Working with Qualitative Data

At the end, the course will look at reasoning with and theorizing based on qualitative data. Different strategies to write-up the results of qualitative research are discussed and examples are provided.

Throughout the course, participants will analyze and discuss the research design and methodological choices of selected publications in leading IS and management journals.



University of Lausanne, Campus Dorigny



Dr. Benjamin Müller is an Assistant Professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Before joining the University of Groningen, Benjamin worked as an Assistant Professor at the University of Mannheim, Germany, and continues his involvement there as an Associate Researcher of Mannheim’s Institute for Enterprise Systems.

He received his doctorate from the EBS Business School in Wiesbaden, Germany in 2010. Prior to that, he studied Business Administration and Information System at both EBS Business School and at Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA and holds graduate degrees from both institutions. Recently he was a Visiting Scholar at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth as well as at Bentley University in Waltham, MA, USA.

Benjamin’s research is focusing on the interplay of organizational and technological facets of Enterprise Systems. He is particularly interested in the processes of organizational change in Enterprise Systems from an IT business value perspective. Complementary to that, he contributes to the discourse on theory and theorizing in the IS discipline.

To date, Benjamin has (co-)authored over 40 peer-reviewed publications. His work has been published in the Journal of Management Information Systems (JMIS) as well as in proceedings of key international conferences. Benjamin has received the ECIS 2010 Best Paper Award and was a Best Paper nominee at ICIS 2013 and ECIS 2007 as well as a Ciborra Award nominee at ECIS 2007.

Beyond his work at the university, Benjamin is involved in the IS research community. Aside from his service as a reviewer to some of the discipline’s key journals and conferences, Benjamin is, for example, a track chair for the “Advancing Theories and Theorizing in IS Research” track at ECIS. He also serves as a member of the Program Committee for the Working Conference of the International Federations of Information Processing’s workgroup 8.2 in 2012 and 2014. He has co-organized a panel on the methodological challenges of Socio-Materiality at ICIS 2012 and was an invited panelist at AMCIS 2013 and SIG-Phil 2013.

Benjamin has worked as a consultant in the area of IT strategy and IT benchmarking and gathered practical experience with corporations in the US and Europe.

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