Hevner (2007) A Three Cycle View of Design Science Research

Abstract

As a commentary to Juhani Iivari's insightful essay, I briefly analyze design science research as an embodiment of three closely related cycles of activities. The Relevance Cycle inputs requirements from the contextual environment into the research and introduces the research artifacts into environmental field testing. The Rigor Cycle provides grounding theories and methods along with domain experience and expertise from the foundations knowledge base into the research and adds the new knowledge generated by the research to the growing knowledge base. The central Design Cycle supports a tighter loop of research activity for the construction and evaluation of design artifacts and processes. The recognition of these three cycles in a research project clearly positions and differentiates design science from other research paradigms. The commentary concludes with a claim to the pragmatic nature of design science.

Citation Alan R. Hevner (2007). A Three Cycle View of Design Science Research. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, vol. 19 no. 2, pp. 87–92. Article

BibTex entry for this article:

BibTex entry for this article:

@article{hevner2007three,
author = {Hevner, Alan R.},
isbn = {0905-0167},
issn = {09050167},
journal = {Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems},
number = {2},
pages = {87--92},
title = {{A Three Cycle View of Design Science Research}},
volume = {19},
year = {2007}
}

Key ideas

The Relevance Cycle inputs requirements from the contextual environment into the research and introduces the research artifacts into environmental field testing.

The Rigor Cycle provides grounding theories and methods along with domain experience and expertise from the foundations knowledge base into the research and adds the new knowledge generated by the research to the growing knowledge base.

The central Design Cycle supports a tighter loop of research activity for the construction and evaluation of design artifacts and processes.

Juhani Iivari's essay (Iivari 2007) is an important and insightful contribution to a clearer understanding of the key properties of the design science research paradigm—ontology, epistemology, methods, and ethics.

Notes

Design Science Research Cycles

It is vital that we as a research community provide clear and consistent definitions, ontologies, boundaries, guidelines, and deliverables for the design and execution of high quality design science research projects. (p. 87)

Understanding and communicating the design science research process is essential not only to support acceptance among IS professionals but also to establish the credibility of IS design science research among the larger body of design science researchers (p. 87)

I posit that these three cycles must be present and clearly identifiable in a design science research project: (p. 88)

  1. The Relevance Cycle bridges the contextual environment of the research project with the design science activities.
  2. The Rigor Cycle connects the design science activities with the knowledge base of scientific foundations, experience, and expertise that informs the research project.
  3. The central Design Cycle iterates between the core activities of building and evaluating the design artifacts and processes of the research.

Cycle 1: The Relevance Cycle Design

Design science research is motivated by the desire to improve the environment by the introduction of new and innovative artifacts and the processes for building these artifacts (p. 88)

An application domain consists of the people, organizational systems, and technical systems that interact to work toward a goal. (p. 88)

Good design science research often begins by identifying and representing opportunities and problems in an actual application environment. (p. 88)

Cycle 2: The Rigor Cycle

Cycle 3: The Design Cycle

Design as a Pragmatic Science

Tables and figures

Figure 1: Design Science Research Cycles Figure 1 ~ p.88

References in hevner2007three

Keywords:

Design Science Research, design cycle, design science, relevance cycle, rigor cycle

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