Research Systems Team Meeting(17/12/2015)

Attendees: GG, WB, MZ, KS


Team building has had a slow start. GG will be away for 8 weeks (21 Dec – 15 Feb). GG will also continue as HDR co-ordinator through the middle of 2016 (which role will continue to make demands on his time).

Long range planning and strategy is the key to success.

There is currently an Endnote file of papers the group has produced that contribute to Research Systems. KS suggested a second Endnote file for the set of core readings (with the papers attached). The core set of readings – we need to be selective. Perhaps the second Endnote file could include just the most important readings with a 3rd file of the others. The Guidelines currently recommend 135 papers.

Key possible events:

  1. A retreat early in the new year perhaps early March
    1. To clarify what Research Systems actually is
    2. What we are trying to achieve
    3. Arrive at a register of ideas
    4. Are we moving in the right direction

    Who should be invited? Do we need a facilitator?

  2. Ontology workshop after the retreat but before PACIS

a. Ontology is only part of what we intend in Research Systems

“What we do”

MZ suggested that we need to think about “what we do” instead of “what it is”

GG: Is this like ‘Let a thousand flowers bloom’? We don’t want to discourage good activities but we need to consider carefully what our vision is. We need a vision statement which includes an evolving definition of Research Systems, a strategy document, a protocol that guides our analysis of various alternatives.

WB: A two way path – bottom up and top down at the same time. What we do and how this aligns with Research Systems is bottom up. From the top down activities that are outcome driven are also necessary.

GG: The is value in an evolving definition – our evolving understanding.

New research methods

MZ believes that we need to recognize the value in proactively and explicitly designing new research methods, rather than relying entirely on research experience.

GG considers that we are looking to decompose methodologies into their underlying conceptual instruments. We need to identify common building blocks. Are they a coherent set? Should they be the set that people use? Some conceptual instruments might be common to some methodologies. Perhaps design is much more fluid than most current methodologies imply. We are not going to easily be able to identify the conceptual instruments. I think we start from the premise that the existing methodologies are good, therefore, trying to decompose Yin for example strikes me as useful. We could try to use Weber’s (2012) language (or some other ontology) to try to describe the methodology. All intended to force understanding of methodology broadly e.g. similarity, complementarity…

MZ: If aspects can be prescriptively specified we could consider new ways of integrating methods. We need to think about specific goals.

Gg: Lets pick a methodology and pick it apart in a number of ways. Every time you bring a new lens you get a growing understanding. Integration and alignment were key words on a layered view.

MZ: There are many possible ways of cutting and dicing. At the beginning it is better to scope the thing with clearly defined goals e.g. decomposing case study to understand components.

GG: are you suggesting being more explicit and more specific about what we are trying to achieve? GG: Editors want to see the practical implications.
GG: Yin is a candidate because we have prior experience. Is it a good candidate?
MZ: What do we want to achieve with the analysis.

GG: Decomposing case study into conceptual instruments – we have never applied our ideas to a methodology.

MZ: We should think about possible implications of this research early.

GG: You might by pulling things apart say ‘this is a dog’s breakfast’. We are hoping some of our lenses will give insights that we can give to researchers to improve the situation. The lens Ron Weber wants to use is a general ontology. There are multiple general ontologies we could use.

GG; Primarily we are trying to understand the limitations. We are trying to harmonise methodologies. By decomposing into layered conceptual instruments we are seeking harmony.


From: Guy Gable
Sent: Wednesday, 16 December 2015 2:39 PM
To: Wasana Bandara; Meng Zhang (; Karen Stark
Subject: A friendly reminder we’re meeting on Research Systems tomorrow 8-10:30am

Wasana, Meng and Karen.

A friendly reminder that we’re meeting on Research Systems tomorrow 8-10:30am my office (some arriving later). Wasana and Meng in particular, please come along with your thoughts on ‘How we maximize value from our RS initiative in 2016?’ I immediately have to qualify this, as we seek coherency, synergy and alignment across our related initiatives in order that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We must set our sights on the long-term, larger goal. I’ve done too much talking and would like to have each of you talk for 10mins on what you think RS is; what it could/should be.

Students whose work we aim to position squarely within RS as far as possible are, in order of this potential …

  •   Yancong Xie
  •   Jennifer Smith
  •   Mohammad Onik

    Meng, I’d like you to discuss at the meeting how Yancong’s work fits within RS. I’d like you to proactively consider this potential and how we might maximize contribution to RS through Yancong’s work. Wasana, whether you welcome the task I’m unsure, but you are assuming supervision of Jennifer during my 2 months leave, so would be good to hear from you how you see her work aligning with RS. I have views here, and recognise she is resisting emphasis on method, but am yet optimistic we can bring her along – we have to. Mohammad’s work has moved away from RS to some degree, due to Meng’s withdrawal and Erwin’s involvement. It is my intention though, to yet entice Erwin into the RS initiative and amplify RS related aspects of Mohammad’s work. I’d like to account for all three of these students in the ‘closing report’ for RS in 2018/2019.


items include …

  •   Web presence
  •   The RS Annotated Bibliography
  •   The RS Guidelines
  •   2017 Meetings
  •   Ontology workshop
  •   RS work through end Feb

    Meng, I’m expecting your role to shift somewhat. I’ve been protecting you somewhatto work on your thesis and papers from the thesis, but in 2016 your various activities and prospective activities must become part of the overall strategy, competing for time. You have several core papers in-progress, which I feel yet central. Please come along with an updated publications strategy. We’ve at various times identified further work that could be usefully pursued within RS. Would be good if you can go back across your various papers, versions, communications, etc., and produce a list of such. These might be listed as possible projects, student sub-projects, or papers.

Wasana, I thank you for proactively seeking increased involvement in RS since your return; much appreciated. Appreciate too your aligning some of your students’ work, or at least amplifying the methodological, as contribution to RS. We warmly welcome involvement/input from Syed, Dharshani and I believe Paul. Thank you also for volunteering to drive the AB. You’re a better administrator than I, and I welcome your further involvement in ways you suggest useful.

I’m exploring visits in 2016 by several strong people, who are variously associated with RS. Our Partner Investigators of course, Mary and Arun, though as of mid-2016 Mary may become a CI with her arrival on her DECRA. Arun will be a challenge, given his MISQ EIC role (he’s always been a challenge to attract). Arun is a keynote speaker PACIS 2016 in Taiwan, and a possible keynote at the Doctoral Consortium (Eric Wang and I are co-Chairs); I’m exploring whether he might visit us in Brisbane before or after PACIS. I’m also exploring possible visits by all of our ‘collaborators’ on the grant – Ron of course; Ahmad Al-Turki and Joerg Evermann. I’m exploring possible visits by Varun Grover and Youngjin Yoo. Varun is a keynote at the PACIS DC and Youngjin a scholar there, and also PI on Erwin’s (to be resubmitted) Discovery.

There is little point in attracting visitors if we aren’t prepared to make best advantage from their visit. Having multiple visitors here the same time presents a challenge, but could also entail a valuable plenary workshop on RS. Michael would no doubt also like to piggyback on such an arrangement; would be a good contribution to the school. PACIS DC runs 27-28 June and the conference 29 – 1 July. It’s possible we might host something at QUT in the days prior or after. Actually, as I think about it, ‘tacking on’ Australia to a trip from the U.S. to Taiwan is no small thing. Flight time LA to Taipei is 14hrs and from Taipei to Brisbane 8hrs. Nonetheless, visitors 1st and/or 2nd week July would work well for us, as would 3rd week in June (pre PACIS).

As regards meetings in 2016, I think full team meetings quarterly and management team meetings at least fortnightly. I’d like though to schedule management team meetings weekly for the first month after my return from leave. I suggest the following tentative dates …

I note that I have teaching Tuesday mornings S1 2016. I don’t believe Karen likes coming in Mondays or Fridays. I note that Wasana currently doesn’t come in Wednesdays. Thursday would thus seem our best target day of the week.

  •   Quarterly team meetings … end March, end June (pre-PACIS), end September and beginning December (pre-ICIS)
  •   Management team meetings … Thursdays, 18 Feb; 3,17,24 Mar; 7,21 Apr; 5,19 May; 2, 16 Jun

o Let’s only schedule these to mid-year, until we know teaching commitments S2

Let me know if these days aren’t good. I’m thinking 9:30am.

Other activities I’d like to schedule for 2016 are (i) the intended Ontology workshop, and (ii) a full-day (possibly overnight) retreat. I think (i) around mid-year (or earlier) and the retreat ideally early in the year (e.g. late Feb/early March).

I’ve admittedly crammed together a revised version of Karen’s notes from our 18 Nov meeting (thanks Karen) with Wasana’s (thanks Wasana). These (attached) along with the attached slides I used (and didn’t use) may be useful input to our discussion tomorrow. A main output of the meeting should be a task-list with estimated dates and responsibilities.

See you soon. Guy

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