At the beginning of their thesis, many students look for a scientific classification of the research. That sounds complicated at first, but after a lot of work it is actually not at all. I would like to present a model for this and also three scientific views.

Method portfolio of business informatics

Each of you will use different quantitative and qualitative methods to answer the research question. Quantitative research is the standardized and structured collection of data. So it represents real-world problems in a numerical representation. Qualitative research collects soft data that needs to be interpreted and therefore can be used dynamically for multiple contexts. Master theses often use both types. This is what is known as a mixed method approach. In a bachelor thesis, one of the two approaches is sufficient for me.

Reading tip: More about both types of research

There are also constructive and behavioral approaches. Constructive research develops solutions to problems (e.g. framework or prototype) and behavioral science examines, as the term says, the behavior of people.

Tip: In business administration and business studies, the majority of theses are behavioral and include a survey or Expert interviews coupled.

Method portfolio of business informatics according to Wilde and Hess 2006 (source below)

Research views

In addition to the method portfolio by Wilde and Hess (2006), a distinction is also made between interpretative, positivistic and real-critical approaches. This is often not relevant for your thesis, but I think it’s good to know. These are defined as follows:

  • Positive table means the restriction to reality for observation and the description of facts (Orlikowski & Baroudi 1991).
  • According to Popper (2005), critical rationalism is the presumption of error. As a result, there is no justifiable knowledge, which is why critical rationalism tries to refute empirical results by re-examining them.
  • “The cognitive interest of interpretative social research is not primarily aimed at what the examined persons want to communicate subjectively, but what is actually expressed with their documented utterances or interactions with regard to social influences and the associated structures of meaning or behavior.” (Kleemann / Krähnke / Matuschek 2009: 17).

In this sense, I believe that the majority of the theses are positivistic. In summary, you do not need to think too much about business administration, economics or BISE. They typically conduct behavioral research using qualitative or quantitative methods and a positivistic view.

Reading tip: Find research design



Wilde, T., & Hess, T. (2006). Range of methods in business informatics: overview and portfolio formation . Munich. Seen 12.10.2018

Orlikowski, WJ, & Baroudi, JJ (1991). Studying Information Technology in Organizations: Research Approaches and Assumptions. Information Systems Research , 2 , 1-28.

Popper, K. (2005). Logic of research (11th edition). Tübingen: Academic publisher.


I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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