Rossman and Vessey’s Theory Report (Assessment)

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Authors’ Broad Idea

Rossman and Vessey (2008) propose an idea that aims at taking research to a completely new level. In this paper, they introduce an idea that will assist researchers in improving the relevance and reliability of their studies. As a result, the results of the studies will be more practical and applicable to real life situations.

Within the field of Information Systems, practitioners will efficiently use ideas, models, and theories to defend their ideas or theses in studies that they will be conducting. Their idea will assist in the evaluation, control, and improvement of the rigor and relevance of research. This, therefore, will ensure that studies will be more detailed and valid.

To achieve this, researchers need to incorporate the use of applicability checks in their studies. Due to their flexibility and easy application, this idea can be used together with the traditional methods of research (Rossman and Vessey, 2008). It can either be used at the begging of a study or towards the end.

This approach works by analyzing three essential dimensions that are crucial to the researchers efforts to internalize IS results and solutions that can be used to solve the problem at hand (Rossman and Vessey, 2008). From experience, the main essence of research is how it addresses and answers its research questions.

Due to this fact, Rossman idea aims at putting a lot of focus and emphasis on the object of interest in a research study. This will ensure that only relevant data is collected in the course of the study. This will increase the validity of the results of the study hence put more weight on the argument or idea that was being investigated in the study.

Focal Questions of the Study

The relevance of Information System research has been an issue that has raised a lot of controversy in the academic community. This is due to the dilemma that comes about choosing whether to put more emphasis on rigor or relevance while conducting a research study. These two factors are essential to a study as they play a critical role in the applicability and credibility of the findings of a research.

A research is said to be relevant if it applies to a large number of stakeholders on a specific field. With regards to this statement, research in the field of information systems will be relevant if it can meet the needs and requirements of researchers, development organizations, practitioners in the field of information systems, consultants and to a larger extent, the general public (Rossman and Vessey, 2008).

At the same time, researchers have to ensure that their studies have rigor. Rigor is a key requirement for research in the academic field. It ensures that research was conducted by the required standards, rules and guidelines. Due to this fact, therefore, rigorous research will get a lot of credibility in academia, and thus it will stand a high chance of being published in renowned journals, get funds and attain tenure and promotion (Rossman and Vessey, 2008).

However, it has been difficult to come up with a study that is relevant and has rigor at the same time. This is due to the extreme nature of these two requirements. The only way that a researcher can attain one of these factors is by compromising the other.

However, this study has come up with a means that will ensure that research contains rigor and are relevant. This will be achieved through the application of applicability checks. These checks will give practitioners a chance to give feedback on the methods, theories, and ideas that are used in research.

These evaluations will be conducted either at the beginning or the end of a study; hence they will increase the chances of success of a study by ensuring that they are rigor and relevant at the same time. This study, therefore, tries to determine whether an information system research can have rigor and relevance at the same time.

Past Research Findings

To gain a basis for the argument that is presented in the paper and to back up on his theory, the author of this paper used a variety of literature that had been conducted on previous studies in the field of Information System. Information from initial studies is essential on an ongoing investigation of the same area or topic.

This is because they contain a lot of information that can be used to narrow down the scoop of the study and ensure that it only focuses on the relevant factors. As a result, the present study will be conducted much more efficiently and effectively. This, therefore, means that the results and outcome of the current study will be more valid and reliable to the researcher and other interested parties to the study.

In this study, the researchers used information from previous studies to get an overview of the importance of rigor and relevance of research that is conducted in the field of information systems. From their research, they concluded that for research to be relevant, it has to satisfy the needs of other researchers, practitioners, consultants and the public in general (Davenport and Markus, 1999).

At the same time, the research must have rigor. This can only be achieved if it maintains the traditional standards of the academic community. To achieve this, research must be conducted using sound methods and be supported by strong theories and facts (Benbasat and Webber, 1996).

With the information that was gathered from the literature review coupled with the fact that it is impossible to attain rigor and relevance at the same time, the authors developed a theory that supported their study. Their theory stated that it is possible to achieve rigor and relevance at the same time.

With the information from their literature review, they were able to improve on the shortcomings of the theories that were advanced by previous researchers and establish a strong base for his argument. Here, they were keen to state that his proposed method will be used either at the beginning or the end of the study so that it does not interfere with the traditional methods of conducting information system research.

Instead, their method will be used to improve on the traditional practices hence increase the success and validity of information system researches.

Type of Research

This study is practice-oriented research. This is because this study aims at improving the rigor and relevance of research with the use of applicability checks. This practice will assist in improving the credibility of Information System research by ensuring that they meet the needs and requirements of practitioners, other researchers, consultants, development organization and other stakeholders.

This can only be achieved through the practice and application of the proposed method. In this study, applicability checks can be applied in three different perspectives; the institutional perspective, the project governance perspective and the research process perspective. In the institutional perspective, it is the role of the management to ensure that their organization provides a favorable environment to conduct research that is relevant and practical.

This can be achieved by either using the governance approach, the research assessment exercise (RAE) or the clinical approach. Each approach is applicable in a different area of expertise hence ensuring that the study only focuses on relevant factors of the study increasing the validity and success of the study.

The project governance perspective, on the other hand, relies on the effects of business in research through the formation of alliances. Here, companies are used to fund investigations and their operations. Lastly, the research process perspective addresses directly the relevance of the study. This is because the research is under the control of a researcher who works hard to ensure that it meets the set standards of research.

Application of Ideas

The main idea behind this study was the incorporation of applicability checks in Information System research to ensure that they have relevance and rigor. To put this method into practice, the first thing that needs to be done is to determine its requirements for the study that is at hand. This will determine the extent to which the method will be used to bring out the desired results for the study.

This will be useful in the formulation of a solution to the problem that is being investigated. The next step is the selection of a focus group and a nominal group technique to which the applicability check will be administered. These groups are essential as they determine the method that will be used to manage the applicability check. Normally, seven steps are used in the application of the method. They include:

  1. The planning for the applicability check for the study
  2. Selection of an individual who will conduct the check
  3. Familiarizing the participant with the details of the study
  4. Designing and selecting materials that will be used for the study
  5. Selecting a conducive environment where the check will be conducted
  6. Conducting the check
  7. Data analysis and interpretation

Broader Practical Implication of the Study

This study aims at improving the rigor and reliability of Information System research. This will ensure that the results of the study are as per the standards and expectations of the academic community and at the same time meet the needs and requirements of researchers, practitioners, consultants and the public.

To achieve these goals, the study has introduced the concept of applicability checks that aim at increasing the credibility and validity of a research study. This new concept will be beneficial to researchers and participants by exposing them to more research. It will also increase the validity and credibility of future research by offering them a reliable source of information from current research in terms of theory and methods.

Inner Logic of the Argument

Applicability checks are believed to introduce new avenues for research in the field of Information Systems. At the same time, they are expected to improve the relevance and rigor of research. This will ensure that studies will now be more practical and applicable in real situations. Lastly, applicability checks can be generalized into other disciplines, and as a result, they can be used in the research of any profession.


Benbasat, I. and Weber, R. (1996). Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Information Systems Research. Information Systems Research ,7, p. 389-399.

Davenport, T. H. and Markus, L. M. (1999). Rigor and Relevance. MIS Quarterly, 23 (1), p. 19-23.

Rossman, M. and Vessey, I. (2008). Toward improving the relevance of Information Systems research to practice: the role of applicability checks. MIS Quarterly,1 (1), p. 1-22.

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