In “Interpretive Case Studies in IS Research,” Walsham (1995) argues that the interpretive approach to conducting case studies is particularly well-suited to studying complex and dynamic phenomena in information systems (IS) research. The author provides an overview of the interpretive approach, which emphasizes the subjective experiences and meanings of individuals and acknowledges the importance of context in shaping these experiences.
Walsham begins by discussing the limitations of the traditional positivist approach to case study research, which tends to oversimplify complex phenomena and neglects the subjective experiences of individuals. In contrast, the interpretive approach recognizes the importance of context and subjective experiences and provides a more nuanced understanding of complex phenomena.
The author provides a detailed description of the interpretive approach to case study research, including its theoretical foundations, research methods, and data analysis techniques. The interpretive approach emphasizes the use of multiple sources of evidence, such as interviews, observations, and documents, to ensure the validity and reliability of findings.
Walsham also emphasizes the importance of reflexivity in the interpretive approach, which involves critically examining the researcher’s assumptions and biases and acknowledging the potential impact of these factors on the research process and findings.
The paper provides several examples of how the interpretive approach has been applied in IS research, including the study of user participation in system development, the use of IT in healthcare, and the development of expert systems.
Overall, Walsham’s article provides a comprehensive overview of the interpretive approach to case study research in the IS field. The author argues that the interpretive approach provides a more nuanced understanding of complex phenomena and acknowledges the importance of context and subjective experiences in shaping these phenomena.