Allen Lee

Seven Lessons from the Philosophy, Methodology, and History of Science for Information Systems Research

Date: Nov 20, 2014

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Room: Wells Library, Rm LI043

Abstract: Researchers in information systems can learn from, rather than repeat, the mistakes already committed in the past by other researchers striving to be “scientific.” Lessons learned from the mistakes have already been well investigated, documented, and made available by scholars in the philosophy, methodology, and history of science.  Seven lessons about how to do research, which information researchers can take advantage of, are:  1. Statistical hypothesis testing is not theory testing.  2. Science is deductive, not inductive.  3. Interpretive research is objective.  4. Successful practice does not require theory.  5. Methodological individualism is wrong.  6. Wrong theory can be “good enough” for use in practice.  7. Information systems research has not been truly systems research.

Bio: Dr. Lee has been a full professor at Virginia Commonwealth University since 1998 and, in 2012, was named a Dean’s Scholar Professor.  He has served as associate dean at both VCU and McGill University, as editor-in-chief of MIS Quarterly, and as a founding senior editor of MIS Quarterly Executive.  His publications have typically taken a philosophy-of-science perspective in examining research methodology and designing research methods for the study of information systems. In 2005, he was named a Fellow of the Association for Information Systems. A member of the Circle of Compadres of the Information Systems Doctoral Students Association of the KPMG PhD Project, he was also a founder of the organization Chinese American Professors of Information Systems. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, his master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and his doctoral degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Born and raised in New York City, he is a graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School.