Towards a distinctive body of knowledge for information systems experts: coding ISD process knowledge in two IS journals
This paper introduces the idea of coding a practically relevant body of knowledge (BoK) in Information Systems (IS) that could have major benefits for the field. In its main part, the paper focuses on the question if and how an underlying body of action-oriented knowledge for IS experts could be distilled from the IS research literature. For this purpose the paper identifies five knowledge areas as the most important parts for an IS expert's BoK. Two of these are claimed as dis- tinct areas of competence for IS experts: IS application knowledge and IS devel- opment (ISD) process knowledge. The paper focuses particularly on ISD process knowledge because it allows the organizing of practically relevant IS knowledge in an action-oriented way. The paper presents some evidence for the claim that a considerable body of practically relevant IS process knowledge might, indeed, exist, but also notes that it is highly dispersed in the IS literature. It then argues that the IS research community should take stock of this knowledge and organize it in an action-oriented way. Based on results from prior work it proposes a four-level hierarchical coding scheme for this purpose. In order to test the idea of coding action-oriented knowledge for IS experts, the paper reports the results of a coded literature analysis of ISD research articles published from 1996 to 2000 in two leading IS journals - Information Systems Journal and MIS Quarterly. The results suggest that ISD approaches form a useful framework for organizing practically rel- evant IS knowledge.