This study presents an Information Systems (IS) research methodology for the conduct of critical research into sustainable development that encompasses the objectives of socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth. The specific context is the application of critical research in the problem definition phase of IS Design Science Research for sustainable development. The paper guides IS research through problem scenarios of unsustainable development where power can distort truth and corrupt the public discourse in the furtherance of their ambitions. The methodology provides a structured approach to engage in inquiry of topics which are by their nature, deceptive and opaque. The methodology enables research inquiry encompassing societal topics, macro-social issues related to sustainable development and the application of nomothetic inquiry to address systemic problems. The paper concludes with illustrative examples of outcomes from the application of the prescribed methodology. The study provides an IS response to systemic social and environmental challenges by identifying the routes to transformation which in turn inform the design of IS solutions. Consequently, the study lays a foundation for IS engagement in socially responsible design science research.
- Critical information systems research
- critical research methodology
- design science research
- socially responsible design
- sustainable development