Electronic Markets

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 285–293 | Cite as

Novice-based data collection methods for the study of IOIS: practice probes and learning communities

  • Kai Reimers
  • Robert B. Johnston
  • Xunhua Guo
  • Stefan Klein
  • Bin Xie
  • Mingzhi Li
Special Theme


In response to the increasing influence of practice theory perspectives for studying organisational and inter-organisational information systems, we demonstrate that an important dilemma from this perspective for data collection methods is between authentic access to practices and the ability to thematize knowledge of practices. We propose a promising new approach to this dilemma that uses the learning experiences of novice practitioners to collect data as they are progressively enrolled in the practice, and describe two instantiations of this new approach, practice probes and learning communities.


Inter-organisational information systems (IOIS) Research methods Data collection Practice theory Communities of practice Embodied knowledge 

JEL classification




This research has been supported by the German National Science Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, grant number 1328/3-1), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers 70890081, 70972029, 71110107027, 70831003, 71273151), and the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission (grant number Z07020600290793).


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Copyright information

© Institute of Information Management, University of St. Gallen 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kai Reimers
    • 1
  • Robert B. Johnston
    • 2
  • Xunhua Guo
    • 3
  • Stefan Klein
    • 4
  • Bin Xie
    • 3
  • Mingzhi Li
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Business and Economics, RWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.School of Business, University College DublinDublin 4Ireland
  3. 3.School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  4. 4.Department of Information Systems, University of MuensterMuensterGermany

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