Design Science Research

LecturersProf. Dr. Robert Winter & Prof. Dr. Stephan Aier
(University St. Gallen)
Date17.02., 24.02., 02.03.2021
(Online & Self-Study)
Place ONLINE (The course is organized by the TU Chemnitz)
Number of participantsmax. 15
CertificatePh.D. students from the Faculty of Economics, TU Dresden can earn a certificate according to § 9 of the Ph.D. doctoral regulations (PromO 2018):
Ph.D. students of Business Management: § 9 (1) Nr. 5 or 6
Ph.D. students of Business Informatics: § 9 (1) Nr. 6
Ph.D. students of Economics: § 9 (1) Nr. 6
Ph.D. students from other universities can earn a certificate as well.
RegistrationParticipation is limited (max. 15). 
The maximum number of participants has been reached.

1. Course Description

Abstract & Learning Objectives

Design Science Research (DSR) is a promising research paradigm that intends to generate knowledge on the design of innovative solutions to real-world problems. As such, DSR is specifically useful in contributing to the solution of societally and practically relevant challenges. At the same time, matured methodological foundations are available today, specifically supporting publishing DSR research both at conferences and top-tier journals.

This course gives an introduction to Design Science Research (DSR). It focuses on planning and conducting design science research on Ph.D. level. It is intended to provide state-of-the art methodological competences for all Ph.D. students in business whose research is not solely descriptive/explanatory, but also comprises components where artefacts are purposefully designed and evaluated.

While Design Science Research is very common in Information Systems research, purposeful artefact design and evaluation are found in many other business research fields like, e.g., General Management, Operations Management/Management Science, Accounting/Controlling, Business Education, or Marketing. Although Design Science is often conducted implicitly, the methodological discourse in the Information Systems has led to a high level of reflection and to the availability of a large number of reference publications and cases, so that examples and cases will often originate from this domain. It should however be noted that Design Science as a paradigm is applicable and is used in nearly all fields of business research. As a consequence, this class is not only part of the Information Systems ProDok curriculum, but intentionally being positioned as cross-domain class.

The goal of the course is to provide Ph.D. students with insights and capabilities that enable them to plan and conduct independent Design Science research. To achieve this goal, students will engage in a number of activities in preparation and during this four-day course, including preparatory readings, lectures, presentations, project work, and in-class discussions. The course format offers an interactive learning experience and the unique opportunity to obtain individualized feedback from leading IS researchers as well as develop preliminary research designs for their own Ph.D. projects.


Offline pre-class preparation:

Preparatory study of essential Design Science methodology papers by students. Core topics are Design Science as a paradigm (vs. other research paradigms), design process, design theory, problem analysis and requirements specification, artefact evaluation, and particularities of specific artefact types such as reference processes and methods.

Online course components:

(1) Introduction

(2) Presentation of reading assignments by students, discussion of methodological insights and implications

(3) Definition of individual (or group) design projects, design of research plans, presentation and discussion of research plans. Depending on the maturity level of Ph.D. students dissertation projects, design projects could be the design component of their dissertation or a specific sub-project/paper of their dissertation.

Between the in-class online components, individual (or group) design projects are developed and extended / revised in offline course components.


Until 16.02.2021Finishing and uploading preparatory work
(reading list, presentation of one assigned paper
09:00-12:00 & 13:00-16:00
  • Welcome and introduction to DSR (2 hours)
  • Reading assignment presentations part 1 (2.5 hours)
  • Group project market place (1 hour)
18.02. – 23.02.2021Group project work round 1Self-Study
13:00 – 18:00
  • Group work discussion and feedback round 1 (2 hours)
  • Reading assignment presentations 2 (2.5 hours)
25.02. – 01.03.2021Group project work round 2Self-Study
13:00 – 17:00
  • Group work discussion and feedback round 2 (2 hours)
  • Reading assignment presentation finalization (1 hour)
  • Follow-ups/publications(0.5 hour)

2. Preparation & Literature


The course is intended for Ph.D. students in business whose dissertation project includes to purposefully design and evaluate an artefact – such as a conceptual model, a taxonomy/classification, a procedure/process, metrics, an information model, guidelines/principles, a reference architectures, etc.

Students should have a preliminary idea about their design research problem and research questions, about who the stakeholders of their artefact(s) are and what requirements they have, and about their sources of data.

Essential or Recommended Reading Material

All participants are expected to get familiar with the following articles:

  • Hevner AR, March ST, Park J, Ram S. (2004) Design Science in Information Systems Research. MIS Quarterly 28(1):75–105.
  • Peffers K, Tuunanen T, Rothenberger MA, Chatterjee S. (2007) A Design Science Research Methodology for Information Systems Research. Journal of Management Information Systems 24(3):45–77.
  • Winter R, Aier S (2016) Design Science Research in Business Innovation. In: Business Innovation: Das St. Galler Modell, Editors: Hoffmann C, Lennerts S, Schmitz C, Stölzle W, Uebernickel F, Wiesbaden: 475-498.

From the following list of methodological papers, exactly one paper will be assigned to each Ph.D. student to read, discuss and present in class:

  • Baskerville RL and Pries-Heje J (2010) Explanatory Design Theory. Business & Information Systems Engineering 2(5), 271-282.
  • Braun C, Wortmann F, Hafner M and Winter R (2005) Method Construction – A Core Approach to Organizational Engineering. in Applied Computing – Proceedings of the 2005 ACM Symposium on Applied Computing, (New York, NY, USA, 2005), ACM Press, 1295-1299.
  • Brinkkemper S (1996) Method engineering: engineering of information systems development methods and tools. Information and Software Technology 38, 275-280.
  • Gregor S and Jones D (2007) The Anatomy of a Design Theory. Journal Of The Association For Information Systems 8(5), 312-335.
  • Gregory, R. W. and J. Muntermann (2014). „Heuristic Theorizing: Proactively Generating Design Theories.“ Information Systems Research 25(3): 639-653.
  • Nickerson R, Varshney U and Muntermann J (2013) A method for taxonomy development and its application in information systems, European Journal of Informatino Systems 22, 336.
  • Niehaves B, Ortbach K (2016) The inner and the outer model in explanatory design theory: the case of designing electronic feedback systems, in: European Journal Of Information Systems 25, 303-316.
  • Prat N, Comyn-Wattiau I, Akoka J (2015) Taxonomy of evaluation methods, Journal of Management Information Systems 32(3), 229-267.
  • Recker J, Rosemann M, van der Aalst W, Jansen-Vullers M and Dreiling A (2007) Configurable Reference Modeling Languages. In: Reference Modeling for Business Systems Analysis. Editors: P. Fettke and P. Loos, Hershey PA: IDEA Group, 22-46.
  • Sein MK, Henfridsson O, Purao S, Rossi M, Lindgren R (2011) Action design research, MIS quarterly 35(1), 37-56.Venable J, Pries-Heje J, Baskerville R. FEDS: A Framework for Evaluation in Design Science Research. European Journal of Information Systems. 2016;25(1):77–89.
  • Sonnenberg C and vom Brocke J (2012) Evaluations in the Science of the Artificial – Reconsidering the Build-Evaluate Pattern in Design Science Research. In Peffers K, Rothenberger M & Kuechler B (Eds.), Design Science Research in Information Systems. Advances in Theory and Practice. Proceedings of the 7th DESRIST Conference, Springer LNCS Vol. 7286, 381-397.
  • Templier, M. and G. Paré (2015). „A Framework for Guiding and Evaluating Literature Reviews.“ Communications Of The AIS 37: Article 6.
  • van Aken JE (2004) Management Research Based on the Paradigm of the Design Sciences: The Quest for Field-Tested and Grounded Technological Rules. Journal of Management Studies 41(2):219–46.
  • Venable JR (2006) The Role of Theory and Theorising in Design Science Research. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technologies (DESRIST), Claremont, CA.
  • Venable JR, Pries-Heje J and Baskerville RL (2016) FEDS: a framework for evaluation in design science research. European Journal of Information Systems 25(1), 77-89.
  • vom Brocke J (2007): Design Principles for Reference Models. Reusing Information Models by Aggregation, Specialisation, Instantiation, and Analogy. In: Reference Modeling for Business Systems Analysis, Editors: P. Fettke and P. Loos, Hershey PA: 47-75.
  • vom Brocke J, Simons A, Niehaves B, Riemer K, Plattfaut R and Cleven A (2009). Reconstructing the Giant: On the Importance of Rigour in Documenting the Literature Search Process. 17th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2009), Verona, Italy. AIS electronic library.

To prepare

Each student is expected to read assigned methodological papers and prepare a presentation of his/her reading assignment in class. Each student is expected to, usually in a group, actively elaborate a design research mini-project according to certain presented criteria. All students need to participate in all classroom discussions. Good participation includes asking insightful questions, raising original ideas, and making constructive comments.