PEArL: a systems approach to demonstrating authenticity in information systems design

2015-09-03T14:16:05Z (GMT) by Donna Champion Frank A. Stowell
The process of information systems (IS) design has been dominated by the demands inherent in providing a technical solution to a perceived problem or need. Engineering IS design methods applied in order to satisfy the problem situation tend to have a preoccupation with verifying specifications as being mathemat- ically correct. Difficulties arise when the ideas underpinning verification are extended in an attempt to ‘prove’ the validity of a proposed design for an IS. A pure engineering approach does not facilitate a response to the subjective elements within social situations, which experience has shown to be essential in demonstrating the pertinence of new designs to those concerned. We suggest that, by applying interpretivist systems ideas, it is possible to support concerned individuals in reflecting upon crucial aspects of the inquiry, enabling those individuals to judge the relevance or ‘authenticity’ of the learning, according to their own values and beliefs. The elements of participants, engagement, authority, relationships and learning are suggested as being crucial. These make up the mnemonic PEArL, which is offered as an aide-mémoire for those concerned with IS design.