Why is the hypothetico-deductive (H-D) method in information systems not an H-D method?
Siponen, Mikko; Klaavuniemi, Tuula (2020). Why is the hypothetico-deductive (H-D) method in information systems not an H-D method?. Information and Organization, 30 (1), 100287. DOI: 10.1016/j.infoandorg.2020.100287
Published inInformation and Organization
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The hypothetico-deductive (H-D) method is reported to be common in information systems (IS). In IS, the H-D method is often presented as a Popperian, Hempelian, or natural science method. However, there are many fundamental differences between what Popper or Hempel actually say and what the alleged H-D method per Hempel or per Popper means in IS. To avoid possible misunderstanding and conceptual confusion about the basic philosophical concepts, we explain some of these differences, which are not mentioned in IS literature describing the H-D model. Due to these distinctive differences, the alleged H-D method per Hempel or per Popper in IS cannot be regarded as the H-D model per Hempel or per Popper. Further, the H-D model is sometimes confused with another model in IS, the deductive-nomological (D-N) model of explanations. Confusing the H-D and D-N methods can also produce stagnation in the fundamental methodological thinking in IS. As one example, the H-D model (per Hempel or per Popper) does not require hypotheses to be based on existing theories or literature. As a result, misunderstanding the H-D model in IS may seriously limit new hypothesis or theory development, as the H-D model in the philosophy of science allows guessing and imagination as the source for hypotheses and theories. We argue that although IS research (1) generally does not follow the H-D method (per Hempel or per Popper), and (2) should not follow the H-D method, (3) we can still learn from the H-D method and criticisms of it. To learn from the H-D method, we outline method of hypothesis (MoH) approaches for further discussion. These MoH approaches are not hypothetico-deductive, but hypothetico-inductive-qualitative or hypothetico-inductive-statistical. The former MoH endeavors to be suitable for qualitative research, while the latter is aimed for statistical research in IS. ...