IS 901 - Epistemological Foundations of Information Systems and Operations


Degree Course Center for Doctoral Studies in Business
Lecturer Prof. Dr. Armin Heinzl
Contact hours per week 2
Grading Topic presentation and course participation
Language of instruction English
Room R 214/215, L 15, 1-6
Time See schedule below
Registration wifo1(at) until Sept 6, 2011
Office hours By appointment


This course is designed for doctoral students in information systems and operations/logistics. It provides a basic understanding of philosophy of science and its epistemological foundations. On the one hand, the course will focus on those concepts which derive knowledge from observation and induction. However, since it also takes experiments as well as the new experimentalism into account, it also refers to those disciplines that focus on the evaluation of technological artifacts. Thus, the underlying epistemological foundations are of central interest to all doctoral students that study the structure and behavior of information systems and operations/logistics phenomena. The course will be offered in an interactive style. All doctoral students have to offer at least one presentation and a documentation regarding a specific topic. Assignment of topics will be conducted by the lecturer.


No. Date Content Presenter(s)
1 12.09.2011
13:45 h - 17:00 h
  • Introduction
  • Assignments
  • Literature
2 26.09.2011
13:45 h - 17:00 h
  • Science as knowledge derived from the facts of experience
  • Observation as practical intervention
  • Experiments
  • Deriving theories from facts: induction
3 10.10.2011
13:45 h - 17:00 h
  • Introduction to falsificationism
  • Sophisticated falsificationism, novel predictions, and the growth of science
  • The limitations of falsificationism
4 24.10.2011
13:45 h - 17:00 h
  • Kuhn’s paradigms
  • Lakatos’ research programs
  • Feyerabend’s anarchistic theory of science
  • Methodical changes in method
5 07.11.2011
13:45 h - 17:00 h
  • The Bayesian approach
  • The new experimentalism
  • Why should the world obey laws
  • Realism and anti-realism
6 21.11.2011
13:45 h - 17:00 h
  • Epistemological streams in IS Research
  • Epistemological streams in Operations and Logistics Research
7 19.12.2011
13:45 h - 17:00 h
  • Buffer

Introductory literature

Chalmers, A.F.: What is this thing called science? 3rd edition, Open University Press, Maidenhead 1999.

This book only represents a starting point. Literature for the assignments has to be retrieved by participants.


During the first session, topics will be assigned to doctoral students. Each student will be asked to elaborate a presentation with regard to the assigned topic which goes beyond the introductory literature as well as to moderate a discussion regarding his/her topic on the basis of a recommended scholarly published article. Further details will be provided in the first session.


60 % Topic presentation, 40 % Course participation