IT Research: A Scholarly Perspective

The dynamic and diverse nature of the Information Technology (IT) industry presents an interesting challenge for scholars, as they seek to establish a tradition for IT research. As technologies and methodologies appear, evolve, and fade away, they provide both an opportunity to gain new and increasingly diverse knowledge and a challenge to rise above the fray and incorporate this dynamism into a coherent body of knowledge. Vessey, Ramesh, and Glass (2002) believed that the progression of IT research is dependent upon the ability of scholars to develop fundamental, lasting theoretical frameworks which are both independent of, but still applicable to the current state of the IT industry. Thus, the primary goal for researchers should be to focus on the basic, underlying characteristics of IT that may be incorporated into theory and not with its superficial trappings.

These authors explored the diversity present in IT research by investigating the variety of subject matter that had been published in leading IT related journals. They developed a comprehensive classification system that incorporated the areas of computer science, software engineering, and information systems, as well as associated disciplines consisting of cogitative psychology, social and behavioral sciences, economics, management, and management science. The authors’ goal was to provide researchers with a guide for determining which publication would be the most appropriate medium for their work.

From my interpretation of their article, I feel the authors were advocating that IT research should focus on the development of a solid theoretical foundation without becoming distracted by current technologies. Thus, the issue of relevance becomes more than merely a problem, but instead serves as a test against which one’s research may be critiqued. I suggest that research based upon the latest technological or procedural trend may not stand the test of time and as a result would indeed lose its relevance. Perhaps for one’s research to have a lasting influence on the IT body of knowledge, it should focus not on the transient issues of the day, but instead on core principles. I propose the purpose of IT academic research should be to develop core theories that may then be used to address current issues.

Compared with other academic pursuits, IT research is still relatively new and its body of knowledge is drawn from numerous and diverse fields. One course of future investigation could involve examining the degree to which IT theory has coalesced theories from other disciplines into its own since Vessey et al. (2002) published their article.


Vessey, I., Ramesh, V., & Glass, R. (2002, Fall). Research in information systems: An empirical study of diversity in the discipline and its journals. Journal of Management Information Systems, 19(2), 129-174.

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Emerging Trends and Technologies in IT

For our examination of topics involving computer and information technology (IT) research, we will begin by identifying emerging trends and technologies in the IT industry, areas of interest to those organizations and individuals looking to be at the forefront of innovation.

12 trends no one should miss (Posted 3/20/2013)

Thomas van Manen provides a nice summery regarding the 12 trends identified by Sogeti in their Technology Outlook for 2013. (He also provides a link to the document which is available free in exchange for your email address.) Adopting a “Systems of Engagement” approach, Sogeti identifies the following trends: Mobile Bring Your Own Device, Augmented Reality, Smart TV, Big Data, Cloud Services, Jericho Style Security, Privacy Enhancing Technologies, Quality Assurance Across the Application Lifecycle, Agile Methods, Model Driven Engineering, 3D Printing, and the Internet of Things.

Forrester's Top 15 Emerging Technologies To Watch: Now To 2018 ... (Posted 2/07/2013)

Forrester provides a list of what they consider to be the most disruptive technologies in the next five years. They group these technologies into four main areas: “1) end user computing; 2) sensors and remote computing; 3) process data management; and 4) infrastructure and application platforms.”

Strategic Technology Trends for 2013 (Posted 12/13/2012)

REDFISH Technology provides a list of Gartner’s  top 10 strategic technology trends for 2013, as well as a link to Gartner’s press release providing a summary regarding each one. According to Gartner, these trends are mobile device battles, mobile applications and HTML5, personal cloud, enterprise app stores, the internet of things, hybrid IT and cloud computing, strategic big data, actionable analytics, in memory computing, and integrated ecosystems.

Accenture Identifies Eight Trends Driving The Future of Information (Posted 2/07/2011)

According to Accenture, the eight trends driving the future of information technology are data security, data privacy, analytics, architecture, and user experience. Their press release provides a brief overview of these trends, as well as a link to their free white paper, The Accenture Technology Vision 2011.

Does anyone have any trend(s) they would care to add? I'll start with Gamification, the use of game thinking and mechanics within a non-game setting to solve problems.

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