Successfully completing case study research: combining rigour, relevance and pragmatism
The organizational and social issues associated with the development, implementation and use of computer-based information systems have increasingly attracted the attention of information systems researchers. Interest in qualitative research methods such as action research, case study research and ethnography, which focus on understanding social phenomena in their natural setting, has consequently grown. Case study research is the most widely used qualitative research method in information systems research, and is well suited to understanding the interactions between information technology-related innovations and organizational contexts. Although case study research is useful as a means of studying information systems development and use in the field, there can be practical difficulties associated with attempting to undertake case studies as a rigorous and effective method of research. This paper addresses a number of these difficulties and offers some practical guidelines for successfully completing case study research. The paper focuses on the pragmatics of conducting case study research, and draws from the discussion at a panel session conducted by the authors at the 8th Australasian Conference on Information Systems, September 1997 (ACIS 97), from the authors' practical experiences, and from the case study research literature.