The Information Systems School Doctoral Consortium (ISS-DC)

Though the term Research-Systems was coined 2014 with the success of the ARC Discovery “Towards Engineering Behavioural Research Design Systems,” the methodological leanings of core team members go back many years (e.g. Gable’s (1994) paper “Integrating case study and survey research methods: an example in information systems” derives from his 1992 PhD thesis). With the aim of further systematization of quality control over PhD research in their area, in 2008 Gable initiated the first Information Systems doctoral consortium at QUT (then specific to the IT Professional Services Research Program, Information Systems School – ISS), with the consortium going school-wide in 2010 (has run annually since 2008; see ISS-DC historical details…). In the spirit of Research-Systems, in 2015 Gable sought to further formalise the ISS Doctoral Consortium (ISS-DC), reviewing its aims, theorizing its value, documenting its history, and further systematising its procedures. This review [see (Gable, Smyth and Gable, 2016)] usefully identified 4 different but complementary levels of doctoral consortia in Information Systems, with the ISS-DC recognised as a forerunner of ‘local’ such events [the 4 levels being International (e.g. ICIS), Regional (e.g. PACIS), National (e.g. ACIS) and Local (e.g. ISS-DC)].

Key conclusions from that work include recognition of Consortia as: (i) a significant pedagogy for strengthening the quality of IS research; (ii) a strategic mechanism for sustainment, rejuvenation and defence of the IS discipline; (iii) a governance mechanism for propagating methodological best practices; and (iv) an ecosystem comprised of complementary levels. Though (Gable et al., 2016:14) advocate closer oversight of Consortia by the AIS, they observe “individual events are largely autonomous, and common sense and the generous spirit of the IS community go a long way to ensuring future events will continue to succeed naturally without complex engineering or planning” (as evidence of this generous spirit, see The Pantheon of ISS-DC Scholars 2008-2016).

The ISS-DC has for Information Systems School at QUT become a further valuable, formal review and feedback opportunity for IS PhDs. The University requires and offers guidance on 2 main research status presentations: Confirmation of Candidature (1 year in), and Final Seminar (prior to examination). Beyond these, ISS facilitates 2 further formal presentations on HDR research status: INN700 (‘Stage 2’, 3-4 months in and focused on the research proposal) and the ISS Doctoral Consortium. PhD students in ISS will, dependent on several factors, present their research at ISS-DC once or twice during their enrolment (see sample ISS PhD student presentation milestones).

Strongly aligned with the values of Research-Systems, (Gable et al., 2016:689) advocate, in recognition of the distinctiveness, value, and formality of IS Consortia, particularly the one-to-one interaction with scholars, “that the substantial and valuable resources (e.g., the time of the chairs, scholars, and students) and effort brought to bear with this signature pedagogy be further leveraged: that the consortium be considered a stage in the PhD student’s research approach—a formal expert review of the student’s research design” (see alternative positioning of the Doctoral Consortium within a sample research design).



Gable, G. G., Smyth, R., & Gable, A. (2016). The role of the doctoral consortium: An information systems signature pedagogy?. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 38, 678-711.

Gable, G. G. (1994). Integrating case study and survey research methods: an example in information systems. European journal of information systems, 3(2), 112-126.