Information Systems Frontiers

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 637–651 | Cite as

Theory-generating design science research

  • Roman Beck
  • Sven WeberEmail author
  • Robert Wayne Gregory


A frequently mentioned challenge in design science research (DSR) is the generation of novel theory above and beyond information technology artefacts. This article analyzes the DSR process and extends established frameworks for theory generation to exemplify improvements to theory generation through methods of grounded theory development. On a conceptual base, we developed a theory-generating DSR approach which integrates methods of grounded theory development with established DSR methodology. This combination enables a design theorist to generate theoretical knowledge that extends the applicable knowledge base. We do not elaborate this combination on a meta-level, but rather provide a process model for researchers in form of an extension of a well-known DSR model to combine both methods in a pluralistic research design. With this suggested research approach, scholars can draw theoretical insights from analytical abstractions and can improve the development of IT artefacts in a structured way to avoid failure or repair loops.


Design science research Behavioural science research Grounded theory method Pluralistic research method 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Information SystemsGoethe University FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany
  2. 2.University of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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