Methods as theories: Evidence and arguments for theorizing on software development

Steve Sawyer, Hala Annabi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

3 Scopus citations


In this paper we argue that software development methods represent theories on how best to engage the impressively complex and inherently socio-technical activity of making software. To help illustrate our points we draw on examples of three software methods: the waterfall approach, packaged software development, and free/libre and open source software development, In doing this, we highlight that software development methods reflect - too often implicitly - theories of (1) how people should behave, (2) how groups of people should interact, (3) the tasks that people should do, (4) the order of these tasks, (5) the tools needed to achieve these tasks, (6) the proper outcomes of these tasks, (7) the means to make this all happen, and (8) that these relations among concepts are further set in specific social, cultural, economic, and industrial contexts. We conclude by highlighting three trends in conceptualizing these eight elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Inclusion
Subtitle of host publicationSocietal and Organizational Implications for Information Systems: IFIP TC8 WG8.2 International Working Conference
EditorsEileen Trauth, Debra Howcroft, Tom Butler, Tom Butler, Janice DeGross
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameIFIP International Federation for Information Processing
ISSN (Print)1571-5736

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Methods as theories: Evidence and arguments for theorizing on software development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this