The digital turn in interpretive research: opportunities and limitations

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Studying Internet-based social and organizational phenomena presents a challenge to the Information Systems field as well as the wider social sciences and humanity community. In the social science and humanity fields, there is currently a debate regarding the possibilities of using digital methods and how far they can reveal issues about culture and society. This paper aims to provide an IS engagement in this debate. Specifically, it questions how and to what extent digital methods could be used and what role they could play in interpretive research. From an ontological and epistemological view, we propose that digital methods could provide a research ‘Oligoptica’ that can uniquely connect the macro and micro levels of the phenomenon to provide an in-depth understanding of the connected whole however inevitably limited. We argue that an interpretive digital research method could open up further research questions that could be otherwise obscured however it might not be always capable solely to find answers to them. We argue that the IS field is equipped to engage in debates about the development and use of digital methods and this study is hoped to provide a step on this engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication21st Americas Conference on Information Systems
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2015


  • Interpretive research
  • digital research methods
  • on-line research
  • digitally-native methods
  • social network analysis

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