Towards a Typology of Relevance

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Mohajeri, Kaveh; Leidner, Dorothy
HICSS Conference Office
IS research; relevance; empowerment
conference paper description
This essay presents a speculative work on making distinctions among different equally valid types of research relevance. The work is innovative not only because it departs from the extant monistic perspectives, where only narrow forms of relevance are acknowledged, towards a pluralist perspective, but also because it recognizes and accounts for the plurality in the perceptions of relevance among different stakeholder groups of the same research. The pluralist perspective draws on the notion of “empowerment,” widely employed in such domains as education and social work, and suggests that relevant research in fact can be understood as empowering research to which different stakeholder groups can relate in one way or another. Two analytical dimensions are identified in relation to the notion of “empowerment,” and are used in order to demonstrate four general types of relevance that can be achieved in IS research.