Suprateek Sarker, McIntire School of Commerce / University of Virginia (Charlottesville, Virginia)
The Practice of Qualitative Research in the IS Discipline: An Evolutionary View and Some Implications for Authors and Evaluators. Qualitative Research in the Information Systems discipline has come a long way, from being dismis-sed as “exploratory research” or “pre-research,” not worthy of being featured in leading “scientific” journals in the discipline, to a state where such research is seen as legitimate and even welcome within much of the mainstream IS research community. Despite these very positive developments in line with the value of plu
has embraced, and the gradual inclusion of qualitative work in high-profile mainstream outlets, noted academics have expressed concerns about the “disproportionately low number of qualitative articles in top journals,” and attri-buted this pattern to (among other reasons) “perceptions of negative bias against qualitative approaches from edi-tors and reviewers in leading journals” (Conboy et al. 2012, p. 113). To help make sense of the situation, in this paper, we offer a critical commentary on the arena of qualitative research in the Information Systems discipline, reflecting on why reviewer or editorial evaluations of qualitative manuscripts, with respect to methodological issues, are often perceived as being “prejudiced” (Markus 1997). By viewing the adoption of qualitative research in the IS discipline as an evolutionary process, and by highlighting key differences among the various types of qualitative inquiry, a number of implications for both authors and evaluators of qualitative manuscripts become visible.