As much as SISP is a process, the research methodology on SISP assessment and measurement is itself a process. According to literature (Zikmund, 1997:34) the nature of a research process can be either exploratory, descriptive or casual research. Comparing definitions of these classifications, it is found that a descriptive as well as an exploratory approach can be adequate for the proposed research. This ‘hybrid’ process will be fundamentally descriptive, supported by an exploratory research needed for questionnaire development.
Exploratory research as defined by Zikmund, (1997:37) is conducted to clarify and define the nature of a problem and descriptive research is established on existing knowledge and some previous understanding of the research problem. The proposed research has no intention to clarify and define ambiguous problems. There is significant academic literature available on SISP subject and the research will be based upon the attributes of knowledge and experience of respondents. However, because accuracy is of paramount importance in descriptive research (Zikmund, 997:38), to establish a detailed questionnaire it is necessary to carry out exploratory research. Moreover, exploratory component of the research will provide qualitative data for greater understanding of a SISP concept, while rigorous analysis in the form of numbers is seen as quantitative component of the research.
As the proposed research is seen as fairly complex, it is apparent that it cannot rely on any single approach. It will try to push boundaries of qualitative research, and look at a holistic, integral approach. As the scope of our profession crosses the borders and boundaries, synthesis of different approaches will be complemented with the best from other professions’ methodologies needed for the optimal approach for today’s demand.
In particular, Information Engineering is investigated as a popular method for bridging the gap between business requirements and IS systems and an Integral SISP Engineering approach is considered for this research.
To assess the SISP implementation maturity various models are investigated (Nolan, 1979; Earl, 1983; Bhabuta, 1988; Hirschheim, Earl, Feeny and Lockett, 1988). A revised ‘stages of growth’ model (Sutherland and Galliers, 2000:32-64) has been found applicable as it takes a holistic view of all IS management issues.
The success of SISP implementation, literature review suggests (Segars, 1998) use one or more of the following four theoretical perspectives: Goal-centred judgement, Comparative judgement, Normative judgement or Improvement judgement. Goal-centred and Improvement judgement are the two chosen approaches for systematic assessing of to what extent are the multiple objectives of SISP fulfilled and how the SISP is adapting to ever changing environments.
Grounded theory methodology may be considered for generating a theory directly from gathered data (Denzin and Lincoln 1998). This research methodology uses a systematic set of procedures to develop an inductively derived, grounded theory about a phenomenon (Strauss and Corbin 1990).
Organisation survey and case studies are found as the most appropriate strategies for data collection. A questionnaire is suggested as a main way of data collection for a theoretical framework. An extensive literature survey will help to define all the variables of interest and to maximise the reliability and validity of the questionnaire. The research of authors as Earl (1993), Segars (1998), Segars and Grover (1998) and others will influence the development of the questionnaire and will safe wasting efforts on trying to rediscover something that is already know (Sekaran, 1992:38).
My opinion about the learning experience of the activity of week 1 is that it was informative. This activity was important for me because it helped me to understand how to select my research topic and how to find and refer to resource materials for the purpose of my research. In future, I will use this learning experience in my course by efficiently selecting my research topic form the discipline of my expertise. During this activity, I was taught about how to carefully select a unique research topic from a certain area of discipline and how to search for resource materials (journals and books) and the types of academic resource materials that would be helpful for my research. I was also taught the process of referencing in the Harvard style and how to cite the references in my research. This activity was important for my research learning process, as it had helped me to understand the process of initial approach to a research. This activity was done so that I could be efficient in selecting a unique research topic and the appropriate resource materials as well as be able to provide correct evidences and citations of the resource materials required for my research.
In my opinion, the activity of week 2 was helpful and practical. This learning experience was valuable to me, as it had helped me to practically apply what I had learned in week1. In my future career, it will help me in carefully selecting and identifying the area of my research as well as the resources that will be required. In this activity, the tutor had given me a sheet in which I had to fill in details like the discipline of my research, the journals required for my research and finally my research topic. Based on this, the supervisor had evaluated my ability to carefully select a research are and topic. He had then given me feedback, guided me on the areas that need to be improved and had cleared my queries. This activity helped me in my research learning process as it allowed me to practically assess the knowledge I had gained in week 1. I had done this activity in order to identify my strengths and weaknesses in selecting a research topic.
In my opinion, this learning activity was particularly important as it involved one of the major and crucial part of research. This learning experience was valuable, as it had helped me to grasp the idea and process of reviewing literatures and journals for my research. This will help me further in my career as it taught me how to objectively review literatures. During the learning activity of week 3, the tutor had shown me three videos that explained the process of exploring and writing literature reviews. The tutor had also given us examples of literature reviews and their styles and mentioned how they can be used in different contexts. This activity has helped me in my business research learning as it helped me to understand the process in which a particular journal or academic resource should be approached while conducting a literature review. I had done this activity to gain knowledge on the process of writing literature reviews that is a crucial element of any research.
The learning experience of week 4 was, in my opinion, informative. This learning experience was valuable as it helped me to understand the ethical paradigm of conducting a research. I will also apply the knowledge of this learning activity generally in life by giving value to the consent of people before proceeding with any work. This learning activity was divided into three tasks. In the first task, the tutor had downloaded the Research Ethics Framework of 2010 by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and showed ad explained it to us. In the second task, the tutor had distributed a sample of people’s consent form and discussed it in details. In the third task, the tutor had distributed a sample of the participant information form and discussed it in details. This activity was important in my business research learning process, as I was able to learn the correct and ethical process of conducting a research. I had done the learning activity as it had helped me learn how to take the consent and information of the participants in an ethical manner while conducting a research.
In my opinion, this learning experience was interactive in nature. This learning experience was valuable to me, as it had helped me to learn how to form research questions and hypothesis. The knowledge that I have gained from this learning experience will help me in my future career in forming my research hypothesis and research questions that are the main elements of any research paper. During this learning activity, the tutor had given us a sample research paper on Strategic Information Systems Planning (SISP) Assessment and Measurement in Australia. We were then divided into groups of 3 or 4 and asked to evaluate the paper closely and form the primary and secondary research questions as well as the research hypothesis. This learning experience was important for my business research learning, as it had helped me to comprehend the ways of forming my research hypothesis and the questions for my research. I had done this activity to learn how to form research questions and hypothesis statement
The learning activities of weeks 6 and 7 were elaborate and detailed. This learning experience was valuable, as it had helped me to learn the process of designing a research and its methodology. This activity has also induced in me the importance of planning and proceeding systematically, which I can later apply in my life. During the activities of weeks 6 and 7, the tutor had distributed among us a document that explained the importance of research design and methodology and the process involved in it. The document was designed in a manner of a literature review, which was very creative and informative. The tutor had also explained to us in details the various points mentioned in the document. This learning experience helped me in my business research learning as it had helped me to understand how to systematically design a research and its methodology. I had taken part in this learning activity, as it had helped me to understand the process of research design and methodology in details.
The activity of week 8 was innovative. This learning experience was valuable, as it had helped me to learn the ways of preparing an objective questionnaire for research purpose. I will be able to apply this knowledge later in my career when I have to collect primary data for my research. During the activity, we were divided into groups of 3 or 4 and asked to evaluate the sample research paper from week 5 and then to form a sample interview questionnaire for data collection. The tutor had carefully examined our questionnaires given feedback on the same. The learning activity was useful for my business research learning, as it had helped me to learn how to prepare a questionnaire objectively. I had done the learning activity as it had helped me in understanding the process of preparing an interview questionnaire.
The learning experience of week 9 was elaborate and informative. It was valuable as it helped me to understand the various types of sampling as well as how to measure their reliability and validity. I will apply this learning experience in the future when I will collect and analyze the validity of my data in any future research I conduct. During this activity, the tutor had shown and explained to us four videos on the types of sampling, measurement of reliability of the data samples, measurement of validity of data samples, and on the ethnographic research of customer behavior. The learning experience helped me in my business research learning, it helped me to understand the importance the validity and reliability of my research data. I had done the activity in order to understand the various sampling types and the process of understanding their validity and reliability.
The learning experience of week 10 was detailed and informative. It was valuable as it helped me to understand the right and wrong ways of interviewing as well the correct method of analyzing data retrieved from an interview. I can apply this knowledge further in my career while conducting a data analysis from an interview for my research. During this activity the tutor had shown and explained to us four videos on focus groups, the right method of conducting a research interview, the wrong method of conducting a research interview and the process of analyzing data from an interview. This learning experience was important for my business research learning process, as it had helped to understand the correct process of conducting and analyzing an interview. I had taken part in the activity as it helped me to learn the process of data analysis and conduction of interviews required for having results for the research.