An investigation into the application of appropriate information systems research methodologies of IT/IS and MBA mini-dissertations at North West University
The dissertation provides a consideration of the significance of choosing an appropriate post-graduate research methodology and application in higher education institutions. Research education has become a matter of concern as there are low completion rates of masters' students in South African universities. This study addresses the issue with the application of appropriate IS research methodologies of IT/IS masters' and MBA dissertations/theses at the NWU to determine whether the research approaches used in both disciplines were relevant to their studies. The choice of an appropriate research methodology is an arduous task with which many researchers are confronted during the research process. The problem is that IT/IS masters' and MBA students use particular research methodologies inappropriately but consider these to be the most appropriate methodologies for IS research for purposes of writing their dissertations. The primary research objective was to explore IT/IS and MBA students' ideological approach towards comprehending information and understanding dissertation requirements by preparing them to undertake sound research projects that culminate in masters' dissertations and improve research completion rates. Secondarily, it attempts to investigate the associated roles between students and supervisors, and to identify challenges encountered, specifically with IT MBA students that will force them to use particular research methods in their research dissertations. A quantitative research approach was adopted and a structured framework was used as an instrument for data-gathering. This structured framework was used randomly on all IT/IS masters' and MBA dissertations in the NWU library. The majority of IT/IS masters' dissertations were sourced through the Nexus Database to ensure a better return rate. The finding gathered from the use of a structured framework for purposes of investigating IT/IS masters' and MBA dissertations indicated that both disciplines, most especially the MBA dissertations, lack a conceptual matrix for research alignment, supervision guidance, and badly-structured research dissertations. There is a need for a graduate school and IT/IS department to introduce and encourage the use of an appropriate conceptual matrix underlying various research activities.