University of Oulu

Netta Iivari, (2018) "Using member checking in interpretive research practice: A hermeneutic analysis of informants’ interpretation of their organizational realities", Information Technology & People, Vol. 31, Issue: 1, pp.111-133.

Using member checking in interpretive research practice : a hermeneutic analysis of informants’ interpretation of their organizational realities

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Author: Iivari, Netta1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-10-12


Purpose: In recent years, there has been a growing desire to more fully integrate informants into the overall research process. In response to this trend, the purpose of this paper is to scrutinize the usage and outcomes of the member checking technique for enabling more participatory interpretive research practices. Information systems (IS) research has utilized this technique, but it has not yet undergone a thorough analysis in this context. Additionally, interpretive IS research is in need of means and tools for engaging with informants during the data analysis and interpretation process.

Design/methodology/approach: The data for this study originated from an inquiry into the position of usability work within its cultural context, and this study has adopted a hermeneutic lens to make sense of the member checking technique, which positions informants as co-analysts and co-interpreters to make sense of both their organizational realities and researchers’ interpretations of those realities.

Findings: The analysis shows that during the research process, the informants reproduced, questioned, and cultivated the researcher-crafted texts that they were given to interpret, both individually and collaboratively. The study shows that member checking contributes to fulfilling the criteria set for interpretive IS research in a variety of ways.

Research limitations/implications: The study contributes to interpretive IS research method practice by offering IS researchers insights into and guidelines on the usage and potential outcomes of the member checking technique.

Originality/value: The examination of the member checking technique through a hermeneutic lens is a novel approach. For IS research, the study explicates the usages and outcomes of member checking in more participatory interpretive research practice. Also novel in this study is that member checking is examined as a collective endeavor.

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Series: Information technology & people
ISSN: 0959-3845
ISSN-E: 1758-5813
ISSN-L: 0959-3845
Volume: 31
Issue: 1
Pages: 111 - 133
DOI: 10.1108/ITP-07-2016-0168
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Copyright information: © Emerald Publishing Limited 2018. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited.