Original Research

Practitioner-based research in Information Systems

Udo Averweg, J H Kroetze
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 8, No 2 | a231 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v8i2.231 | © 2012 Udo Averweg, J H Kroetze | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 March 2016 | Published: 31 December 2012

About the author(s)

Udo Averweg, eThekwini Municipality and University of KwaZulu-Natal Information Services, Durban, South Africa
J H Kroetze, School of Computing, University of South Africa, South Africa

Full Text:



A practitioner is a professionally employed person in a selected discipline such as information and communication technologies (ICT). ICT practitioners often operate in the domain of Information Systems (IS), the social science branch of ICT. Practitioner research comprises of research that practitioners undertake with a view to the advancement of their practice. Questions arise in respect of research conducted by ICT practitioners: (1) What is the context of the IS professional when conducting practitioner-based research; and (2) Does practitioner-based research have a theoretical base and does practitioner-based research challenge the traditional dichotomy between positivist and interpretivist research in IS? An investigation and discussion of these questions in the IS discipline is the objective of this article.

In this article, ICT practitioner-based research in organisations is discussed. Some philosophical underpinnings of practitioner-based research are probed and a reflection on practitioner research is given. It is suggested that active ICT practitioners are a necessity in the IS research domain. Their participation requires that the actual context in which IS practices are conducted, should be analysed. To ensure that such IS research is valid, an epistemological base is needed for critical reflection and thoughtful action from which to draw.

Keywords: ICT practitioner, practitioner, practioner-based research, reflective practitioner, transdisciplinarity

Disciplines: computer science, philosophy, ethics, research methodology


ICT practitioner; practitioner; practitioner-based research; reflective practitioner; transdisciplinarity


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