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What Have We Learned

from Almost 30 Years

of Research on

Causal Mapping?

Methodological Lessons and Choices

for the Information Systems and

Information Technology Communities

Gerard P. Hodgkinson

The University of Leeds, UK

Gail P. Clarkson

The University of Leeds, UK

Abstract

In this chapter we review major developments that have occurred over the past 30 years

or so in the philosophical underpinnings, elicitation, analysis, aggregation and

comparison of causal maps (also known as cause maps) across a wide range of domains

of application in the fields of management and organization studies, in order to distill

vital lessons concerning the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches for the

information systems (IS) and information technology (IT) research communities. We

offer some general guidelines to aid the would-be user in making methodological

choices appropriate to particular contexts of application. The importance of attending

to measurement issues in respect to reliability and validity at all stages of the research

process, from initial data collection to final analysis and comparison, is highlighted

and an accompanying appendix presents an overview of selected computer software

systems supporting the full range of activities associated with causal mapping.