Methods and Theories in IS Research Seminar

  • Type: Seminar
  • Semester: SS 2018
  • Place:

    Röser Building (Fritz-Erler Strasse 23), 2nd floor, Room 281

  • Time:
  • Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Alexander Mädche

  • Lv-No.: 2540553

Lecture Description

The seminar “Methods and Theories in Information Systems Research” (ManTIS) is designed to provide students with an opportunity to build up basic theoretical and methodological skills needed to conceptualize, conduct, and communicate their own research in Information Systems (IS). In doing so, ManTIS familiarizes students with the essential triad consisting of topic, methods, and theories. Hence, ManTIS is a seminar well suited to help students preparing themselves for an academic thesis in the IS discipline (e.g., Master or Doctoral Thesis).

To produce valid and reliable results it is important to have a sound understanding of theories and methods that explain social phenomena tackling questions of how technology is used and designed by humans in organizations. Theories provide the researcher a sound basis by summarizing current knowledge and allowing for a precise investigation and definition of their topic’s underlying phenomenon. Complementary to this, methods afford the student with the ability to produce reliable results which allow her/him to derive both meaningful and trustworthy conclusions. This way they can make sure that their results are not only interesting, but also scientifically valid.

To support students in their preparation for their master theses, the seminar will introduce the most common methods used in research by looking at examples from the IS discipline. This includes how to carry out a literature review as well as qualitative (e.g., focus groups and interviews) and quantitative (e.g., surveys and laboratory experiments) methods of empirical research. In addition, the concept of design science research as an overall approach to structure the research project will be introduced. The students will apply the seminar’s methods and content to write a proposal for a master thesis on a contemporary topic in IS research. Thereby, the students will receive support from the seminar lecturers and can use the thesis proposal to apply for a master thesis at the IISM.

Learning Objectives

The students get the

  • ability to understand the relevance of methods and theories in meaningful IS research
  • overview of most common methods and theories used in IS research
  • ability to prepare and execute own research project (e.g., master thesis)
  • knowledge of the basic quality criteria for scientific research

Lecture Content

  • Foundations: Topic, Methods and Theories
  • Scientific Writing & Publishing
  • Design Science Research
  • Literature Review
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quantitative Research

Course Schedule

  • Thursday, 03.05.2018, 14:00 - 18:00: Teaching Block A (Foundations and scientific writing) 
  • Thursday, 17.05.2018, 14:00 - 18:00: Teaching Block B (Research methods and proposal topic selection)
  • End of May 2018: Milestone 1 session – Presentation of literature streams and research question of the research proposal
  • Mid of June 2018: Milestone 2 session – Presentation of preliminary conceptualization of the research proposal
  • Mid of July 2018: Milestone 3 session – Presentation of final research proposal
The teaching block sessions are mandatory and will be conducted at the IISM, Fritz-Erler-Straße 23, 2. floor, room 281.
The milestone sessions are carried out individually with the respective supervisor of the topic and should last about 20 - 30 minutes each.

Course Requirements

This course is offered to all Master students enrolled in the Wirtschaftsingeneurwesen or Informationswirtschaft program of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). There are no prerequisites for attending this course.

PhD students are also allowed to attend the course. However, to prevent biases in the grading of students, PhD students are required to act as passive guest student. As there are limited seat for PhD students, please register by writing an email to Stefan Morana.

Course Grading

The grading of the research seminar is based on the submitted research proposal.
The research proposal should compromise 3000 words (excluding references) using the Word template of the IISM.
Students will receive exemplar research proposal to clarify the scope and nature of the research proposal.

Course Materials

Students will be provided with all necessary materials at the beginning of each session. Therefore the material will be uploaded in the ILIAS Portal . Readings are available through the university's electronic library resources. The reading material to be used in this class provides students with both content and background for the topics introduced and discussed in the course. Optional readings are introduced as part of the lecture and provide students with the opportunity to extend their understanding beyond the material discussed in class. These readings are also important references that can be used to justify methodological and theoretical choices in the students’ research projects (e.g., Master thesis). Further details for preparation will be provided to students in class.


For registration, submission of presentation materials, and organizational questions please contact Stefan Morana.