Not available in 2017/18
MG502      Half Unit
Foundations of Social Research in Information Systems: Paradigms and Traditions

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Jannis Kallinikos NAB3.24


This course is compulsory on the MPhil/ PhD in Information Systems. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Compulsory for MPhil/PhD Informations Systems and Innovation students in their first year. Students from related PhD programmes who are interested in epistemological paradigms may be able to join the course with the teacher's permission.

Course content

The course introduces the foundations of social research and the key issues concerning the status of knowledge and the forms by which it is acquired. The course deals with the principal paradigms/traditions in the philosophy of science and epistemology and the answers they have provided to the basic questions concerning the status of knowledge claims and the forms by which valid knowledge claims can be made. The main focus of the course concerns the ways by which these key epistemological paradigms have been applied in the fields of Information Systems and Organization Studies. The course is structured around the following basic epistemological paradigms: Positivism Critical Realism Constructivism Hermeneutics, Phenomenology Critical Theory Structuralism Postmodernism


2 hours of lectures, 9 hours of lectures and 9 hours of seminars in the MT.

Indicative reading

Archer, M. et al. (eds.), (1998) Critical Realism, Readings. London: Routledge; Dreyfus, H & Rabinow, P. (1982) Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. London: Harvester; Crotty, M. (1998), The Foundations of Social Research: Meaning and Perspective in the Research Process. London: Sage; Lakatos, I. & Musgrave, A. (eds.) (1970) Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Morgan, G. (1983) Beyond Method: Strategies for Social Research. London: Sage; Myers, M.D. & Avison, D. (eds.) (2002) Qualitative Research in Information Systems. London: Sage.


Essay (100%, 7000 words) in the LT.

An essay of between 5,000-7,000 words to be submitted by the end of March.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2016/17: 4

Average class size 2016/17: 5

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication