Relevance and Rigour, Theory and Practice in Systems
This paper describes work utilising some of the philosophical concepts employed in contemporary epistemology; these concepts have been utilised to develop a framework for understanding the different approaches needed for research and practice in systems analysis and design. The paper concentrates on the differing needs for relevance and rigour in research and practice, and the paper re-conceptualises these concepts using the traditional philosophical distinctions between universals and particulars (this argument is fully explained). The conclusion drawn is that research can be of two forms. Firstly, it can be concerned with developing interesting and (possibly) insightful generalisations, or abstractions, (relevance). Secondly, it can be concerned with developing well-grounded but strongly-bounded particularities (rigour).
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