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Design research communication : guidance for researchers, authors, and students



Design Science Research (DSR) is a pragmatic, utility-oriented, scientific approach to solving relevant Information Technology (IT) and Information Systems (IS) related organisational problems. It represents one of two essential paradigms in IS research, and its research output is not descriptive but prescriptive. It instructs about how gen-eral problems of the same class can be solved. Research projects in DSR (i.e., design research projects) involve many stakeholders from research and practice. They are iterative, lengthy, and complex, combining the roams of theory (ensuring rigour by using existing knowledge) and practice (ensuring relevance by actively integrating the stakeholders of the problem in the research process). At the same time, such re-search contributes both to research (through the identification of prescriptive means-end relationships) and to practice (providing instructions to solve practical organisa-tional problems). This very brief summary of DSR already makes one thing evident: Design research project communication is essential for this kind of research. Poor communication leads to inefficient exchange with practice, rejected research articles, slow accumula-tion of knowledge, or low practical impact of IS research. Another aspect that is re-vealed is that these projects are likely to be complicated to communicate (causes in-clude, e.g., lengthiness, multi-stakeholder involvement, practitioner and academic audiences, addressing problem classes rather than problem instances). This problem has been recognised in various instances (e.g., writing of design research articles for academic journals), but existing support on how to communicate is ineffective, as many perceive the communication of design research projects to be a problem. This dissertation addresses that. Employing DSR as the overarching research methodology, the presented research in this dissertation provides a solution that guides design researchers in general commu-nication of their projects (DSR communication framework), in writing design re-search articles (a process with prescriptive instructions for each step), and in present-ing DSR research designs (a checklist for effective DSR research design presentation, e.g., in the context of a research methods course). These artefacts (DSR contribu-tions) are both built and evaluated based on empirical studies. This research thus of-fers a solution to the research problem. It furthermore puts a new topic of research on the map: DSR communication.

Marcel Cahenzli

19 Sep 2022