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Overview of the Multilevel Research Perspective: Implications for Theory Building and Empirical Research

By Meng Zhang, Guy G. Gable and Mary Tate


A multilevel perspective in information systems (IS) research helps researchers to understand phenomena simultaneously at multiple levels of analysis. In understanding and employing the multilevel perspective, researchers may face challenges in relation to the value contribution, the terminology, and the critical differences between multilevel and single-level research. To address the challenges, we synthesize contemporary thinking on the multilevel perspective. In particular, we clarify the various value contributions of the multilevel perspective, offer a consistent terminology for conducting multilevel research, and holistically overview the guidelines in relation to specifying, operationalizing, and testing theoretical models. This tutorial helps researchers to holistically understand the multilevel perspective to allow them to more deeply appreciate the nuanced assumptions underlying the perspective. Thus, this paper contributes by helping researchers to more effectively and more flexibly engage in multilevel research

Publisher: AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Year: 2019
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