The specification of research questions or hypotheses (i.e., what is to be studied) and research strategy (i.e., how to conduct the study) is an extremely important part of any research project (Yin, 1989:19). Research questions or hypotheses influence the strategy that is employed in order to either provide answers to the questions or verify/falsify hypotheses. What research strategy to use ought to depend on the nature of the problem domain (i.e., sociology, biology, physics, mathematics, etc.) and exact formulation of research questions.
Formulation of precise research questions requires deep insights into the domain of study: Do the questions that are to be answered “fit” the research domain? Are they the ones most worthy of investigation? To which degree will answering the questions contribute to any progress within the research area? Do practitioners perceive the research questions to concern real problems?
In this particular research project, the preunderstanding of enterprise modeling practice was not considered to be sufficient to formulate precise research questions in advance. Instead, studies of the problem area were expected to result in more sophisticated understanding of dominant concepts, so that the research questions could be adjusted accordingly. This research approach will be argued further for in section . Hence, the research questions presented in section are a result of iteration through problem formulation and actual research. They are not just “snatched out of thin air” — they have evolved as a part of the research process.
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