Criteria of Progress for Information Systems Design Theories
Information Systems and e-Business Management
According to Kuhn, science and progress are strongly interrelated. In this paper, we define criteria of progress for design theories. A broad analysis of the literature on information systems design science reveals that there is no consensus on the criteria of progress for design theories. We therefore analyze different concepts of progress for natural science theories. Based on well-founded criteria stemming from the philosophy of science and referring to natural science theories, we develop a set of criteria of progress for design theories. In summary, our analysis results in six criteria of progress for design theories: A design theory is partially progressive compared to another if it is ceteris paribus (1) more useful, (2) internally more consistent, (3) externally more consistent, (4) more general, (5) simpler, or (6) more fruitful of further research. Although the measurement of these criteria is not the focus of this paper, the problem of measurement cannot be totally neglected. We therefore discuss different methods for measuring the criteria based on different concepts of truth: the correspondence theory of truth, the coherence theory of truth, and the consensus theory of truth. We finally show the applicability of the criteria with an example.