Generalization in Qualitative IS Research - Approaches and their Application to a Case Study on SOA Development
Keywords:Generalization, Abstraction Mechanisms, Case Study, Qualitative Research, Service-oriented Architectures, Service Identification
AbstractIn qualitative information systems research little methodological support has been provided so far for the generalization of data. Generalizability, however, is a major concern in this field. It has been subject to a number of publications in recent years but commonly accepted frameworks of generalizability and methodological guidance are still missing. In order to address these problems, this paper investigates if and how abstraction mechanisms from the field of conceptual modeling can be used to generalize empirical data. An explorative single case study on the development of service-oriented architectures provides the raw data for an exemplary application. Abstraction mechanisms are used to generalize observations from the case study and to transform them into hypotheses. Finally, another abstraction leads to three models illustrating relationships of certain concepts and abstract categories as a major result of this case study. The paper shows that abstraction mechanisms from the field of conceptual modeling can be used for the generalization of case study data and provides guidance on how to use these mechanisms.
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