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Underpinning theories: order‐of‐use in information systems research

Tiko Iyamu (Business Computing, School of Information Technology, Polytechnic of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia)

Journal of Systems and Information Technology

ISSN: 1328-7265

Article publication date: 9 August 2013




The paper was intended to demonstrate the use and order of a combined lenses of two theories in IS research. It helps to understand how theories could be adopted in the order of methodological value. The way data are collected, organised and analysed is influenced and shaped by the order of use of the underpinning theories. The importance of the order is to create consistency, predictability, and uniformity of analysis, which have impact on the findings.


Review of literature, and teaching and supervision experiences were used in the approach.


The result of a combined use of both ST and ANT in the same study has been less than expected. The application of theories helps exhume findings. This makes the order‐of‐use of application of the theories significant. Some studies applied ST before ANT, and vice versa. There has never been a model or framework which defines the order‐of‐use of the theories. It could be argued that it depend on the nature and objectives of the study. This paper focuses on order‐of‐use of combined theories in information systems studies. No organisation has total power to determine what the choice(s) of an actor will be in a particular situation. Actor and structure by virtue of their interaction recursively produces and reproduces, on the one hand and on another, the actor and structure enable and at the same time there are constraints.


Both theories can be used as a way of thinking and speaking about the phenomena being studied and also, as a “lens” through which the data is viewed and interpreted.



Iyamu, T. (2013), "Underpinning theories: order‐of‐use in information systems research", Journal of Systems and Information Technology, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 224-238.



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