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About experiments and style: a critique of laboratory research in information systems

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Presents a critical review of the role of laboratory experiments in information systems research. In an attempt to highlight the issues raised by laboratory experiments, presents a thought experiment of such an experiment. The thought experiment indicates the problem of distinguishing between that which is done to complete the task and that which is done to complete the requirements of the experiment. Further develops an understanding of this problem by presenting the work of Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and others. From this discussion, shows that people develop styles for coping in the world that do not allow them to “break up” the world into discrete objects, events, persons, and so forth. Based on this discussion, argues that it is impossible for the observer as well as the observed to know whether their style of coping in the experiment is a style of coping with the world or a style of coping with the requirements and constraints of the experiment. From this discussion, concludes that most laboratory experiments in information systems research have neither internal nor external validity. As such, they should be actively discouraged.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27182/

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