This is a list of references on interpretive research. After a brief introduction which suggests those works which are essential reading for newcomers to the field, the list is organized into two parts: the first part lists some important citations related to the approach in other disciplines (including the source disciplines), the second lists citations related to the approach in Information Systems. You can use the Edit Find command in Netscape to look for a specific citation.
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A very readable introduction to the interpretive perspective is Berger and Luckman's (1967) book. For a more in-depth consideration of the philosophical underpinnings of interpretivism, Palmer's (1969) collection of readings on hermeneutics is excellent. From there, the serious scholar will want to look at Gadamer's (1975) "Truth and Method", which is regarded as a classic in the field, and Bernstein's (1983) work, which is seen as an important landmark in social philosophy.
In the IS field, two books can be regarded as essential reading: Winograd and Flores (1986) work and Walsham's (1993) text. The following are excellent examples of research articles in IS which explicitly use hermeneutics: Boland (1991), Davis, Lee, Nickles, Chatterjee, Hartung and Wu (1992), Lee (1994), and Myers (1994). Klein and Truex's (1995) paper is a good example of the use of semiotics in IS.
Austin, J.L. How to Do Things with Words, Clarendon Press, London, 1962.
An important work in semiotics.
Berger, P. and Luckman, T. The social construction of reality: a treatise in the sociology of knowledge, Penguin Publishers, London, 1967.
An very readable introduction to the interpretive perspective in social science, showing how social reality is socially constructed.
Bernstein, R.J. Beyond Objectivism and Relativism, University of Pennsylvania Press, Pennsylvania, 1983.
This book marks an important landmark in social philosophy and the philosophy of science. Bernstein draws attention to the hermeneutical dimension in all science, drawing on Kuhn's work amongst others.
Bleicher, J. Contemporary Hermeneutics: Hermeneutics as Method, Philosophy and Critique, London and Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980.
This book is a useful overview of the different forms and uses of hermeneutics.
Blumer, H. Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1969.
Blumer's symbolic interactionism is one interpretive approach the analysis of social phenomena.
Chua, W.F. "Radical Developments in Accounting Thought," The Accounting Review (61), 1986, pp. 601-632.
A critique and overview of the development of interpretive research in accounting.
Dyer, W.G. Jr. and Wilkins, A.L. "Better Stories, Not Better Constructs, to Generate Better Theory: A Rejoinder to Eisenhardt," Academy of Management Review (16:3), 1991, pp. 613-619.
A brief rejoinder to Eisenhardt, arguing that "stories" are what makes good social science, not better constructs.
Eisenhardt, K.M. "Building Theories from Case Study Research," Academy of Management Review (14:4), 1989, pp. 532-550.
Eisenhardt's suggestions for building better theories from case study research. This article led to Dyer and Wilkins rejoinder above.
Eisenhardt, K.M. "Better Stories and Better Constructs: The Case for Rigor and Comparative Logic," Academy of Management Review (16:3), 1991, pp. 620-627.
Eisenhardt defends herself against the arguments put forward by Dyer and Wilkins.
Foucault, M. The Archaeology of Knowledge, Tavistock, London, 1972.
Gadamer, H-G. Truth and Method, The Continuing Publishing Corporation, New York, 1975.
This book is a classic in the field of hermeneutics, but could be heavy going for some.
Gadamer, H-G. Philosophical Hermeneutics, California, University of California Press, 1976a.
Gadamer, H-G. "The Historicity of Understanding," in Critical Sociology, Selected Readings, P. Connerton (ed.), Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth, 1976b, pp. 117-133.
For a brief introduction to Gadamer, this excerpt from Gadamer's work in the selection of readings edited by Connerton is excellent. The excerpt is well chosen and in a few pages summarizes some of the key ideas in Gadamer's thought.
Garfinkel, H. Studies in ethnomethodology, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1967.
Geertz, C. The Interpretation of Cultures, Basic Books, New York, 1973.
An important contribution to the interpretive perspective in anthropology.
Giddens, A. The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory of Structure, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1984.
In this book Giddens outlines his theory of structuration.
Grice, H.P. "Logic and Conversation," in Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 3, Cole, P. and Morgan, J. (eds.), Academic Press, New York, 1975, p. 41-58.
Heidegger, M. Being and Time, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1962.
Husserl, E. Logical investigations, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1970.
Husserl, E. Ideas pertaining to a pure phenomenology and to a phenomenological philosophy, Kluwer, Boston, 1982.
Krippendorff, K. Content analysis : An introduction to its methodology. Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, 1980.
Kuhn, T. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Second Edition, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1970.
Kuhn, T. The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977.
As a physicist turned philosopher and historian of science, Kuhn looks at the nature of scientific tradition and change. Kuhn's discusses the importance of hermeneutics in the preface.
Luthans, F. and Davis, T.R.V. "An Idiographic Approach to Organizational Behavior Research: The Use of Single Case Experimental Designs and Direct Measures," Academy of Management Review (7:3), July 1982, pp. 380-391.
Morey, N.C. and Luthans, F. "An Emic Perspective and Ethnoscience Methods for Organizational Research," Academy of Management Review (9:1), January 1984, pp. 27-36.
Mueller-Vollmer, K (ed.) The Hermeneutic Reader, New York: Continuum Publishing, 1988.
This book is a detailed treatment of hermeneutics, including selected articles from prominent hermeneutical scholars. This volume includes essays from the debate between Gadamer and Habermas (a proponent of critical theory).
Nardulli, P.F. The Courtroom Elite: An Organizational Perspective on Criminal Justice, Ballinger Press, Cambridge, MA, 1978.
Palmer, R. Hermeneutics: Interpretation Theory in Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, and Gadamer. Northwestern University Press, Evanston, 1969.
This is a very readable introduction to and overview of many of the key thinkers in interpretation theory.
Rabinow, P. and Sullivan, W.M (eds.). Interpretive Social Science: A Reader, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979.
This book includes interesting articles on hermeneutics and other topics from authors such as Charles Taylor, Paul Ricoeur and Clifford Geertz.
Radnitzky, G. Contemporary Schools of Metascience, Goteborg: Scandinavian University Books, 1970.
Ricoeur, P. The Conflict of Interpretations: Essays in Hermeneutics, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, 1974.
Ricoeur, P. "Hermeneutics: Restoration of Meaning or Reduction of Illusion?" in Critical Sociology, Selected Readings, P. Connerton (ed.), Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth, 1976, pp. 194-203.
For a brief introduction to Ricoeur, this excerpt from Ricoeur's work in the selection of readings edited by Connerton is excellent. The excerpt is well chosen and in a few pages summarizes some of the key ideas in Ricoeur's thought.
Ricoeur, P. Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1981.
Schutz, A. Collected papers, M. Nijhoff, Hingham, MA, 1982.
Searle, J.R. Expression and Meaning, Studies in the Theory of Speech Acts, Cambridge University Press, London, 1979.
Taylor, C. "Hermeneutics and Politics," in Critical Sociology, Selected Readings, P. Connerton (ed.), Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth, 1976, pp. 153-193.
Thompson, J.B. Critical hermeneutics: A study in the thought of Paul Ricoeur and Jurgen Habermas, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1981.
Tice, T.N. and Slavens, T.P. Research Guide to Philosophy, Chicago: American Library Association, 1983.
This book gives a brief overview of hermeneutics and critical theory in just nine pages (pp. 293-301).
Weber, M. The Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism, Unwin University Books, London, 1930.
Weber, M. The methodology of the social sciences, Free Press, Glencoe, Ill, 1949.
Whyte, W.F. Street Corner Society: The social structure of an Italian slum, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1943.
Andersen, P-B. "A Semiotic Approach to Construction and Assessment of Computer Systems," in Information Systems Research: Contemporary Approaches and Emergent Traditions, H-E. Nissen, H.K. Klein, R.A. Hirschheim (eds.), NorthHolland, Amsterdam, 1991, pp. 465514.
Anderson, P-B. and Holmqvist, B. (eds.). The Semiotics of the Workplace, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 1995.
Auramaki, E., Lehtinen, E. and Lyytinen, K. "A Speech-Act-Based Office Modeling Approach," ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems (6:2), April 1988, pp. 126-152.
Baskerville, R., Pentland, B.T. and Walsham, G. "A Workshop on Two Techniques for Qualitative Analysis: Interviewing and Evaluation," Proceedings of the Fifteenth International Conference on Information Systems, 1994, p. 503-4.
Beath, C.M. and Orlikowski, W.J. "The Contradictory Structure of Systems Development Methodologies: Deconstructing the IS-User Relationship in Information Engineering," Information Systems Research (5:4), December 1994, pp. 350-377.
Bentley, R., Rodden, T., Sawyer, P., Sommerville, I., Hughes, J., Randall, R. and Shapiro, D. "Ethnographically-Informed Systems Design for Air Traffic Control", ACM 1992 Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work: Sharing Perspectives, ACM Press, New York, 1992, pp. 123-129.
Boland, R. "The process and product of system design," Management Science (28:9), 1978, pp. 887-898.
Richard Boland was probably the first researcher in information systems to draw attention to the relevance of hermeneutics and phenomenology to IS research. All of his following articles (including this one) are excellent examples of interpretivism in IS research.
Boland, R. "Control, causality and information system requirements," Accounting, Organizations and Society (4:4), 1979, pp. 259272.
Boland, R. "Phenomenology: A Preferred Approach to Research in Information Systems," in Research Methods in Information Systems, E. Mumford, R.A. Hirschheim, G. Fitzgerald, and T. WoodHarper (eds.), NorthHolland, Amsterdam, 1985, pp. 193201.
Boland, R.J. Jr. "Information System Use as a Hermeneutic Process," in Information Systems Research: Contemporary Approaches and Emergent Traditions, H-E. Nissen, H.K. Klein, R.A. Hirschheim (eds.), NorthHolland, Amsterdam, 1991, pp. 439-464..
Boland, R.J. and Day, W.F. "The Experience of System Design: A Hermeneutic of Organizational Action," Scandinavian Journal of Management (5: 2), 1989, pp. 87-104.
Crowe, M., Beeby, R. and Gammack, J. Constructing Systems and Information: A Process View, McGraw-Hill, London, 1996.
The authors argue that information is not merely a property of data but something we ourselves meaningfully construct in making sense of situations. The authors suggest that an underlying philosophy of 'constructivism' better supports designing for adaptivity in changing environments than a realist approach to systems development. This book discusses and extends the interpretivist tradition in IS.
Davies, L. and Myers, M.D. "Scholarship and practice: the contribution of ethnographic research methods to bridging the gap," in Business Process Re-Engineering: Information Systems Opportunities and Challenges, B.C. Glasson, I.T. Hawryszkiewycz, B.A. Underwood and R.A. Weber (eds.), North Holland, Amsterdam, 1994, pp. 223-231.
Davies, L., Newman, M. and Kaplan, B. "A Workshop on Two Techniques for Qualitative Analysis: Interviewing and Evaluation," Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Conference on Information Systems, 1993, p. 399.
Davis, G.B., Lee, A.S., Nickles, K.R., Chatterjee, S., Hartung, R. and Wu, Y., "Diagnosis of an Information System Failure: A Framework and Interpretive Process," Information & Management, Volume 23, Number 5, 1992, pp. 293-318.
Dietz, J.L.G. and Widdershoven, G.A.M. "Speech Acts or Communicative Action?" Proceedings of the Second European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 1991, p. 235-248.
Dietz, J.L.G. and Widdershoven, G.A.M. "A comparison of the linguistic theories of Searle and Habermas as a basis for communication support systems," in Linguistic Instruments in Knowledge Engineering, R. Van der Reit, and R. Meersman, (eds.), North-Holland, New York, 1992, p. 121-130.
Gerson, E.M. and Star, S.L. "Analyzing Due Process in the Workplace," ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems (4:3), July 1986, pp. 257-270.
Harvey, L. and Myers, M.D. "Scholarship and practice: the contribution of ethnographic research methods to bridging the gap", Information Technology & People, (8:3), 1995, pp. 13-27.
This article provides an overview of ethnography in IS research.
Hewitt, C. "Offices are Open Systems," Transactions on Office Information Systems (4:3), 1986, pp. 271-287.
Hirschheim, R. "Information Systems Epistemology: An Historical Perspective," in Information Systems Research: Issues, Methods and Practical Guidelines, R. Galliers (ed.), Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, 1992, pp. 28-60.
Jones, M. and Nandhakumar, J. "Structured Development? A Structurational Analysis of the Development of an Executive Information System" in Human, Organizational, and Social Dimensions of Information Systems Development D. Avison, J.E. Kendall and J.I.DeGross (eds.), North Holland, Amsterdam, 1993, pp. 475-496.
Kaplan, B. and Duchon, D. "Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Information Systems Research: A Case Study," MIS Quarterly (12:4) 1988, pp. 571-587.
Kaplan, B. and Maxwell, J.A. "Qualitative Research Methods for Evaluating Computer Information Systems," in Evaluating Health Care Information Systems: Methods and Applications, J.G. Anderson, C.E. Aydin and S.J. Jay (eds.), Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, 1994, pp. 45-68.
Klein, H.K. and Truex III, D.P. "Discourse Analysis: A Semiotic Approach to the Investigation of Organizational Emergence," in The Semiotics of the Workplace, P.B. Andersen and B. Holmqvist (eds.), Walter De Gruyter, Berlin, 1995.
Klein H. K. and Hirschheim R. "Issues and Approaches to Appraising Technological Change in the Office: A Consequential Perspective," Office: Technology and People, (2), 1983, pp. 1524
Lacity, M.C. and Janson, M.A. "Understanding Qualitative Data: A Framework of Text Analysis Methods," Journal of Management Information Systems (11:2), Fall 1994, pp. 137-155.
Lee, A.S. "A Scientific Methodology for MIS Case Studies," MIS Quarterly (13:1), 1989, pp. 33-52.
Lee, A. S. "Integrating Positivist and Interpretive Approaches to Organizational Research," Organization Science, (2), 1991, pp. 342-365.
Lee, A.S. "Electronic Mail as a Medium for Rich Communication: An Empirical Investigation Using Hermeneutic Interpretation," MIS Quarterly (18:2), June 1994, pp. 143-157.
Lee, A.S., Baskerville, R.L. and Davies, L. "A Workshop on Two Techniques for Qualitative Data Analysis: Action Research and Ethnography," Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference on Information Systems, 1992, p. 305-306.
Lehtinen, E., and Lyytinen, K. "Action based model of information system," Information Systems (2:4), 1986, pp. 299317.
Liebenau, J. Understanding information: An introduction. Macmillan, London, 1990.
Lyytinen, K. and Ngwenyama, O.K. "What does computer support for cooperative work mean? A structurational analysis of computer supported cooperative work," Accounting, Management and Information Technologies (2:1), 1992, pp. 19-37.
Levine, H.G. and Rossmore, D. "Diagnosing the Human Threats to Information Technology Implementation: A Missing Factor in Systems Analysis Illustrated in a Case Study," Journal of Management Information Systems, (10:2), Fall 1993, pp. 55-73.
Lyytinen, K. J. and Ngwenyama, O. K. "What does computer support for cooperative work mean? A structurational analysis of computer supported cooperative work," Accounting, Management and Information Technology (2:1), 1992, pp. 1937.
Madsen, K.H. "Breakthrough by Breakdown," in Information Systems Development for Human Progress in Organizations, H.K. Klein and K. Kumar (eds.), 1989, pp. 41-53.
Murray, F. "Technical rationality and the IS specialist: Power, discourse and identity," Critical Perspectives on Accounting (2) 1991, pp. 5981.
Myers, M.D. "A disaster for everyone to see: an interpretive analysis of a failed IS project," Accounting, Management and Information Technologies (4:4), 1994a, pp. 185-201.
Myers, M. D. "Quality in Qualitative Research in Information Systems", Proceedings of the 5th Australasian Conference on Information Systems, 1994b, pp. 763-766.
Myers, M.D. "Dialectical hermeneutics: a theoretical framework for the implementation of information systems," Information Systems Journal (5:1), 1995, pp. 51-70.
Nandhakumar, J. "Design for Success?: critical success factors in executive information systems development " European Journal of Information Systems 5, 1996, pp. 62-72.
Orlikowski, W.J. "Integrated Information Environment or Matrix of Control? The Contradictory Implications of Information Technology," Accounting, Management and Information Technologies (1:1), 1991, pp. 9-42.
Orlikowski, W.J. "CASE Tools as Organizational Change: Investigating Incremental and Radical Changes in Systems Development," MIS Quarterly (17:3), September 1993, pp. 309-340.
Orlikowski, W.J. "Improvising Organizational Transformation Over Time: A Situated Change Perspective," Information Systems Research (7:1), 1996, pp. 63-92.
Orlikowski, W.J. & Baroudi, J.J. "Studying Information Technology in Organizations: Research Approaches and Assumptions", Information Systems Research (2) 1991, pp. 1-28.
An excellent overview of the underlying epistemological perspectives in IS research.
Orlikowski, W.J., Markus, M.L. and Lee, A.S. "A Workshop on Two Techniques for Qualitative Data Analysis: Analytic Induction and Hermeneutics," Proceedings of the Twelfth International Conference on Information Systems, 1991, p. 390-1.
Orlikowski, W.J. & Robey, D. "Information Technology and the Structuring of Organizations," Information Systems Research (2), 1991, pp. 143-169.
Orlikowski, W.J. and Yates, J. "Genre Repertoire: The Structuring of Communicative Practices in Organizations," Administrative Science Quarterly, 39, 1994, pp. 541-574.
PriesHeje, J. "Three barriers for continuing use of computer-based tools: a grounded theory approach," Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems (4), 1992, pp. 119-136.
Rathswohl, E.J. "Applying Don Idhe's Phenomenology of Instrumentation as a Framework for Designing Research in Information Science," in Information Systems Research: Contemporary Approaches and Emergent Traditions, H-E. Nissen, H.K. Klein, R.A. Hirschheim (eds.), NorthHolland, Amsterdam, 1991, pp. 421-438.
Suchman, L. Plans and Situated Actions: The Problem of Human-Machine Communication, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1987.
Turkle, S. "Constructions and Reconstructions of Self in Virtual Reality: Playing in the MUDs," Mind, Culture and Activity, 1, 1994, pp. 158-17.
Visala, S. "Broadening the empirical framework of Information Systems Research," in Information Systems Research: Contemporary Approaches and Emergent Traditions, H-E. Nissen, H.K. Klein, R.A. Hirschheim (eds.), NorthHolland, Amsterdam, 1991, pp. 347-364.
Walsham, G. Interpreting Information Systems in Organizations, Wiley, Chichester, 1993.
Walsham's book is an excellent introduction to the interpretive perspective on IS phenomena.
Walsham, G. "Interpretive case studies in IS research: nature and method," European Journal of Information Systems (4), 1995, pp. 74-81.
Walsham, G. "The Emergence of Interpretivism in IS Research," Information Systems Research (6:4), 1995, pp. 376-394.
In this article Walsham provides an overview of the historical development of interpretivism in IS research.
Walsham, G. and Waema, T. "Information Systems Strategy and Implementation: A Case Study of a Building Society," ACM Transactions on Information Systems (12:2), April 1994, pp. 150-173.
Winograd, T. & Flores, F. Understanding Computers and Cognition, A New Foundation for Design, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. Inc., New York 1987.
This book discusses the relevance of hermeneutics and other social and philosophical theories to the design of computer systems.
Wynn, E. Office Conversation as an Information Medium, PhD Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, 1979.
Wynn, E. "Taking Practice Seriously", in Design at Work, J. Greenbaum, and M. Kyng (eds.), New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum, 1991.
Zuboff, S. In the Age of the Smart Machine, New York, Basic Books, 1988.
This work was published in MISQ Discovery on May 20, 1997. This is the original archival version. It is currently maintained by Michael D. Myers. Corrections, clarifications, and suggested modifications should be directed to him at email@example.com. Serious problems should be referred to the Editor-in-Chief.