ACCT 7910, Spring 2003

System and Quantitative Research Methods in IS


Course Description:

The objective of the course is to motivate IS and Business students to be engaged in or appreciate good system and quantitative IS research that shouldn’t be isolated from behavioral research!


In this course, students will learn about the characteristics, important issues, pros and cons and some applications of such quantitative research methodologies as Markov Chain, Dynamic Programming, Queuing Modeling and Simulation methodologies. The course is also concerned with research on information system design and evaluation. One of the strategies to learn about how to perform and understand quantitative research methodologies is role-playing (author or discussant) in reviewing readings. The readings exemplify applications of system and quantitative IS research methods. The applications we will examine include distributed system design, workflow, process and knowledge management and search and switching cost.


Tentative Grading and Course Requirements:

                                                                                    Grade %

Assigned Reading Presentation                              30%    

Class Discussion                                                        20%    

Independent Research Project

Proposal (15%)

            Literature review report (20%)

            Class presentation (25%)

            Final report (40%)

            Subtotal                                                           35%

Final Take Home Exam                                         15%    


Presentation on Assigned Reading(s): Each student must select an assigned reading topic among those identified in the class schedule and make a 100 – 120 min presentation based on the assigned readings for the chosen topic.  The presentation should focus on the following research components:

The presenter should assume that the presentation is made by the author(s) to the audience at the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS). In addition, the presenter has the responsibility to pose questions and lead discussions about the reading(s). The presentation needs to utilize Power-point slides that will be submitted to TA by the presentation date for inclusion in the class website.


Class Discussion on Assigned Reading(s): a total of 20-minute discussions presented by a discussant will follow presentations in each topic. The discussion will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the research papers with respect to the various research components identified above and offer suggestions for improvements and future directions. The discussant will assume that the presentation is made to the author(s) and the audience at the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS). The discussant will also lead the class to participate in discussions. Each student needs to be ready and active in discussing the readings or topics throughout and following class lectures and readings presentations.


Class Participation: All students need to participate in discussions on the readings during or following the presenter’s and the discussant’s presentations on assigned readings, and on the instructor’s and guests’ lectures.


Independent Research Project: Each student must perform an independent quantitative research study that includes the following research components -

  1. Research motivation, objective, focus and questions
  2. Related work and literature review
  3. Applicable and the proposed problem modeling approaches
  4. Problem analysis and solution models
  5. Applicable and the proposed solution generation approaches
  6. Applicable and the proposed evaluation approaches
  7. Contributions
  8. Limitations
  9. Future directions
The following aspects are pluses but are optional-
  1. Solution generation method
  2. Applications and findings
  3. Evaluations


The project requirements include:

·        A proposal (500 to 1000 words) to outline the projected research components 1, 3. 5, 6, 7 and 8 (Due on Feb. 25).

·        An interim report (about 2500 words) that includes the completed research components 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 and outlines the projected research components 4, 7, 8 and 9. References need to be listed and cited (Due on March 25).

·        A final report (about 5000 words) to include the completed research components 1-9 and any completed optional research components 10-12. References need to be listed and cited (Due on April 29).

·        Project presentation to verbally present the components included in the final report in a 45 minutes presentation and 10 minutes Q&A (Due on April 29).


Final Take-home Exam: The final exam will be a 2-day (from 11 am on day 1 to 5 pm on day 2) take home exam. The questions will include questions related to the assigned readings and discussions (50%) and one open-ended research question (50%). The answer (1000 words at the minimum) to the open research question needs to include problem analysis, research questions of focus, problem modeling approach, solution generation approach and the evaluation approach. The students can consult readings and hard-copy or digital references but not live human beings through physically or virtually on the exam. The schedule for the final exam will be decided by March 4.


Class Schedule (Each class meeting except for the meeting on April 29 meets for 3 hours including a short break.):




Assigned Readings

Student or Guest Presenters (Tentative)



Views of IS research, research method and research process

ISR-1, 2, 3, 4




Evolution and alignments of information systems and business models: functions, architecture, processes and issues

IS-1, 2, 3, 4 and 5




Examples of quantitative IS research methods and research for distributed systems

DS-1, 2 and 3




Examples of system research methods and research for intelligent and knowledge management systems

SR-1, 2 and 3

Dr. Paul Hu,

Lin Lin



Data mining basics

DM-1, Ch. 6, 7, and 8

Yen-Hsien, Dai

Wei Gao


Data integration

DI-1, 2 and 3





Data mining for management and ecommerce

DMME-1, 2 and 3


Xiao Fang


Project and product selection

PPRS-1, 2 and 3




Workflow and process management

MPM-1, 2, 3, and 4


Wei Gao


Search cost/vendor management

SC-1, 2, 3 and 4


Lin Lin


Current e.bis research





Independent research presentations (6 hour meeting)





Start of Final







Views of Information Systems Research and Methods (ISR)

Assigned Readings


1.      P. Berthon, L. Pitt, M. Ewing and C. L. Carr, “Potential Research Space in MIS: A Framework for Envisioning and Evaluating Research Replication, Extension, and Generation,” Information Systems Research, Vol. 13, No. 4, December 2002, pp. 416 - 427.

2.      J. Mingers, “Combining IS Research Methods: Towards a Pluralist Methodology,” Information Systems Research, Vol. 12, No. 3, September 2001, pp. 240 – 259.

3.      W. J. Orlikowski and C. S. Iacono, “ Research Commentary: Desperately Seeking the “IT” in IT Research – A Call to Theorizing the IT Artifact,” Information Systems Research, Vol. 12, No. 2, June 2001, pp. 121 – 134.

4.      J. F. Nunamaker, M. Chen and T. Purdin, “Systems Development in Information Systems Research,” Journal of Management Information Systems, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 89 – 106.


Supplemental Readings


1.      I. Benbasat and R. Weber, “Research Commentary: Rethinking Diversity” in Information Systems Research,” Information Systems Research, Vol. 7, No. 4, December 1996, pp. 389 – 399.

2.      G. Walsham, “The Emergency of Interpretivism in IS Research,” Information Systems Research, Vol. 6, No. 4, December 1995, pp. 376 – .

3.      W. J. Orlikowski and J. J. Baroudi, “Studying Information Technology in Organizations,” Research Approaches and Assumptions,” Information Systems Research, Vol. 2, No.1, March 1991, pp. 1– 27.


Evolution and Alignment of Business Models and Information Systems (IS)

Assigned Readings


1.      T. W. Malone, R. I. Benjamin, and J. Yates, “Electronic Markets and Electronic Hierarchies: Effects of Information Technology on Market Structure and Corporate Strategies,” Communication of the ACM, Vol. 30, No. 6, June 1987, pp. 484 - 497.

2.      Y. Bakos, “The Emerging Role of Electronic Marketplace on the Internet,” Communication of the ACM, Vol. 41, No. 8, August 1998, pp. 35 –42.

3.      Y. Bakos, “The Emerging Landscape for Retail E-Commerce,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 15, No. 1, Winter 2001, pp. 69-80.

4.      S. March, A. Hevnor, and S. Ram, “Research Commentary: An Agenda for IT Research in Heterogeneous and Distributed Environments,” Information Systems Research, Vol. 11, No. 4, Dec. 2000, pp. 327 – 341.

5.      K. Lyytinen and Y. Yoo, “Research Commentary: The Next Wave of Nomadic Computing,” Information Systems Research, Vol. 13, No. 4, Dec. 2002, pp. 377 – 388.


Supplemental Readings

1.      N. Nayak, K. Bhaskaran, and R. Das, “Virtual enterprises: building blocks for dynamic e-business,” Australian Computer Science Communications, Proceedings of the workshop on Information technology for virtual enterprises, January 2001, pp. 80 – 87.

2.      J. Sairamesh, I. Stanoi, C. S. Li, and B. Topol, “Wireless trading in B2B markets: concepts, architecture, and experiences,” Proceedings of the first international workshop on Mobile commerce, July 2001, pp. 7 - 13.

3.      J. J. Jang, “An approach to designing reusable service frameworks via virtual service machine,” ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes, Proceedings of the 2001 symposium on Software reusability: putting software reuse in context, May 2001, pp. 58 – 66. 

4.      A. Barlelt and W. Lamersdorf, “A Multi-Criteria Taxonomy of Business Models in Electronic Commerce.” Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 2001.


Distributed Systems (DS)

Assigned Readings


1.      O. R. Liu Sheng,  “Analysis of Optimal File Migration Policies in Distributed Computer Systems,” Management Science, Vol. 38, No. 4, April 1992, pp. 459 - 482.

2.      U. Sumita and O. R. Liu Sheng, “Analysis of Query Processing in Distributed Database Systems with Fully Replicated Files.” International Journal of Performance Evaluation, Vol. 8, 1988, pp. 223 - 238.

3.      X. Fang, O.R. Liu Sheng, W. Gao and B. Iyer. “A Data-Mining-Based Prefetching Approach to Caching For Network Storage Systems, invited paper, INFORMS Journal on Computing, 1st submission - Oct. 2002.


Supplemental Readings

1.      W. L. Winston, Operations Research: Applications and Algorithms, 3rd ed., Duxbury Press, 1994.

2.      Any references on Markov decision models, dynamic programming, applied queuing and simulation.

3.      M. T. Ozsu and P. Valduriez, Principles of Distributed Database Systems, Prentice Hall, 1991, Ch. 5.

4.      Xiao Fang, Olivia R. Liu Sheng, W. Gao and B. Iyer. “Netshark: A Caching Based Geographically Distributed Network Storage System.” Proceedings of Workshop on Information Technology Systems, New Orleans, Dec. 2001. (Nominated for the Best Paper Award)


System Research (SR)

Assigned Readings


1.      C. Wei, P. Hu and O. R. Liu Sheng, “A Knowledge-based System for Patient Image Pre-fetching in Heterogeneous Database Environments: Modeling, Design and Evaluation,” IEEE Transactions on Information Technology on Biomedicine, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 33-45, March 2001.

2.      O. R. Liu Sheng, C. Wei, P. J. Hu, and N. Chang “Automated Learning of Patient Image Retrieval Knowledge: Neural Networks versus Inductive Decision Tree.” Decision Support Systems, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 105-124, Dec. 2000.

3.      Zeng, D., Sheng, O., and Wilson, B. (2000). “The Design and Experimentation of Agent-based Procurement Systems.” Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Telecommunications and Electronic Commerce, Dallas, TX, Nov. 2000.

4.      Lin Lin, Olivia R. Liu Sheng, Paul J.H. Hu.Adaptive Medical Knowledge Management: An Integrated Rule-Based and Bayesian Network Approach.” Proceedings of Workshop on Information Technology Systems, Barcelona, Spain, December 2002.


Supplemental Readings – TBD


Data Mining Basics (DM)

Assigned Readings


1.      J. Han and M. Kamber, Data Mining: Concepts and Techniques, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2001.


Data Integration (DI)

Assigned Readings


1.      C. H. Goh, S. Bressan, S. Madnick, and M. Siegel, “Context Interchange: New Features and Formalisms for the Intelligent Integration of Information,” ACM Transactions on Information Systems, Vol. 17, No. 3, July 1999, pp. 270 – 293.

2.      M. W. Bright, A. R. Hurson, and S. Pakzad, “Automated Resolution of Semantic Heterogeneity in Multidatabase,” ACM Transactions on Database Systems, Vol. 19, No. 2, June 1994, pp. 212- 253.

3.      W. S. Li and C. Clifton, “SEMINT: A Tool for Identifying Attribute Correspondences in Heterogeneous Databases using Neural Networks,” Data and Knowledge Engineering, Vol. 33, 2000, pp. 49 –84.


Supplemental Readings


1.      Firat, S. Madnick and B. Grosof, “Financial Information Integration in the Presence of Equational Ontological Conflicts,” Proceedings of Workshop on Information Technology and Systems, Dec. 2002, Barcelona, Spain (Best paper).

2.      C. Batini, M. Lenezerni, and S. B. Navathe (1986), “A Comparative Analysis of Methodologies for Database Schema Integration,” ACM Computing Surveys, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp.323-364.

3.      G. Wiederhold, “Interoperation, Mediation, and Ontologies,” Proceedings of International Symposium on Fifth Generation Computer Systems (FGCS94), Workshop on Heterogeneous Cooperative Knowledge Bases, Vol. W3, ICOT, Tokyo, Japan, December, 1994, pp.33-48.

4.      T. R. Gruber, “Toward Principles for the Design of Ontologies Used for Knowledge Sharing,” Technical Report KSL 93-04, Knowledge Systems Laboratory, Stanford University, 1993

5.      Additional supplemental readings can be found from the class website.


Data Mining for Management and Ecommerce (DMME)

Main Readings


1.      C. Wei, M. J., Shaw, and R. F. Easley, “A Survey of Recommendation Systems in Electronic Commerce,” Book Chapter, forthcoming.

2.      L. G. Cooper and G. Giuffrida, “Turning Datamining into a Management Science Tool: New Algorithms and Empirical Results,” Management Science, Vol. 46, No. 2, Feb. 2000, pp. 249 – 264.

3.      J. Kleinberg, C. Papadimitriou, P. Raghavan, “A Microeconomic View of Data Mining,” Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, Vol. 2, 1998, pp. 311-324.


Product and Project Ranking and Selection (PPRS)

Main Readings


1.        R. Agrawal and R. Srikant, “On Integrating Catalogs,” Proceedings of WWW 10, May 2001, Hong Kong, pp. 603 - 612.

2.      Ryu, Y. U., “A hierarchical constraint satisfaction approach to product selection for electronic shopping support,” IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics: Part A, Vol. 29, No. 6, Nov. 1999, pp. 525–532.

3.      J. Butler, D. J. Morrice, P. W. Mullarkey, “A Multiple Attribute Utility Theory Approach to Ranking and Selection,” Management Science, Vol. 47, No. 6, June 2001, pp. 800 – 816.


Supplemental Readings


1.      Ryu, Y. U., “Dynamic construction of product taxonomy hierarchies for assisted shopping in the electronic marketplace,” Proceedings of the Thirty-First Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Vol. 5, 1998, pp. 196-204.



Workflow and Process Management (WPM)

Main Readings


1.      A. Datta, “Automating the Discovery of AS-IS Business Process Models: Probabilistic and Algorithmic Approaches,” Information Systems Research, Vol. 9, No. 3, September 1998, pp. 275 – 301.

2.      A. Kumar and J. L. Zhao, “Dynamic Routing and Operational Controls in Workflow Management Systems,” Management Science, Vol. 45, No. 2, Feb. 1999, pp 253 – 272.

3.      A. Basu and A. Kumar, “Research Commentary, Workflow Management Issues in e-Business,” Information Systems Research, Vol. 13, No. 1, March 2002, pp. 1 – 14.

4.      T. Malone et al., “Tools for Inventing Organizations: Towards a Handbook of Organizational Processes,” Management Science, “Vol. 45, No. 3, March 1999, pp. 425 – 443.


Supplemental Readings


1.      Basu and R. W. Blanning, "Metagraphs: A Tool for Modeling Decision Support Systems", Management Science, Vol. 40, No. 12, December 1994, pp. 1579-1600.

2.      A. Basu and R. W. Blanning, "A Formal Approach to Workflow Analysis", Information Systems Research, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2000, pp. 17-36.



Search Cost (SC)

Assigned readings


1.      J. Y. Bakos, “Reducing Buyer Search Costs: Implications for Electronic Marketplaces,” Management Science, Vol. 43, No. 12, Dec. 1997, pp. 1676 –1692.

2.      J. E. Harrington, “Comment on ‘Reducing Buyer Search Costs: Implications for Electronic Marketplace’,” Management Science, Vol. 47, No. 12, Dec. 2001, pp. 1727 –1732.

3.      A. Y. Hoque and G. L. Lohse, “An Information Search Cost Perspective for Designing Interfaces for Electronic Commerce,” Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. XXXVI, Aug. 1999, pp. 387 – 394.

4.      P. Y. Chen and L. M. Hitt, “Measuring Switching Costs and the Determinants of Customer Retention in Internet-Enabled Businesses: A Study of the Online Brokerage Industry,” Information Systems Research, Vol. 13, No. 3, Sep. 2002, pp. 255 - 274.


Supplemental readings

1.      M. Kwak, “Searching for Search Cost,” MIT Sloan Management Review, Spring 2001, pp. 8 – 9.

2.      J. V. Koch and R. J. Cebula, “Price, Quality, and Service on the Internet: Sense and Nonsense,” Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 20, No. 1, Jan. 2002, pp. 25 – 37.