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Design science research with focus groups – a pragmatic meta-model

Telmo Antonio Henriques (DCTI, ISCTE-Instituto Universitario de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal)
Henrique O’Neill (Business School, ISCTE-Instituto Universitario de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 3 May 2021

Issue publication date: 1 March 2023




The purpose of this research paper is to present a pragmatic and systematic approach to conduct and document Design Science Research (DSR) activities with Focus Groups (FGs), exploring its continuous usage and providing traceability between problem, requirements, solutions and artefacts.


The approach is to conduct the research and produce the meta-model for DSR with FG, a DSR approach was adopted using a conceptual model for Action Design Research already available. The artefact is the result from a specific literature review to define requirements, a careful design and a refinement stage where it was widely used and tested in real IS implementation projects.


Rigorous and committed stakeholder engagement is a critical success factor in complex projects. The main outcome of this research is a specific meta-model for DSR with FG that delivers new insights and practical guidelines for academics and professionals conducting and documenting real-world research and development initiatives deep-rooted in stakeholders' participation.

Research limitations/implications

The meta-model has been endorsed as a practical and useful artefact by the stakeholders participating in the IS projects where it was adopted. However, to fully demonstrate its capabilities and to become more robust, the model has to be further used and tested in other application situations and environments.


The usage of FGs in DSR has already been proposed as an effective way, either to study artefacts, to propose improvements in its design or to acknowledge the utility of those artefacts in field use. The paper provides a sound contribution to this line of research by presenting a meta-model that integrates process and data, as well as a set of practical templates and forms that may be used by researchers and practitioners to conduct their projects.



Henriques, T.A. and O’Neill, H. (2023), "Design science research with focus groups – a pragmatic meta-model", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 119-140.



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