Writing, Arguing, Contributing - A Cogent Argumentation Framework for Identifying, Specifying, and Evaluating Research Contribution

Sebastian K. Boell, Dirk S. Hovorka


The predominant means by which research becomes visible and accessible to the research community is through publication. Generally, publication requires careful framing of the research in relation to existing knowledge. As a contribution to knowledge cannot be self-evident, authors must persuade, through argumentation, the editors, reviewers, and the research community that their work offers a contribution. In Information Systems, the discussion of argumentation is often limited to the logic dimensions of argumentation, namely deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning. In this paper, we demonstrate that argumentation requires the consideration of three additional dimensions of argumentation: rhetoric, dialectic, and social-institutional. Kuhn’s concept of the disciplinary matrix is introduced as the background toward which a cogent argument is directed and against which contribution is evaluated. We then illustrate the role of argumentation through the example of the seminal paper by Orlikowski and Iacono on the role of IT in Information Systems research. Understanding the importance of argumentation in framing one’s research contribution is critical to authors, editors, and reviewers alike within and beyond Information Systems and its reference disciplines.


argument; argumentation; cogency; research contribution; contribution; Information Systems; Toulmin; Kuhn; publication

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3127/ajis.v23i0.1857

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/au/

Creative Commons License
ISSN: Online: 1326-2238 Hard copy: 1449-8618
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Licence. Uses the Open Journal Systems. Web design by TomW.