Towards a greater diversity in writing styles, argumentative strategies and genre of manuscripts

Abstract

European Journal of Information Systems (2011) 20, 491–495. doi:10.1057/ejis.2011.29 EJIS values diversity in all domains: topics, research methods, philosophy of science, origin of scholars and writing styles. This strategy aims at making wider connections and avoiding conformism at the expense of pluralism. In certain aspects of the academic writings norms are good things. An introduction section and a unique format for references section considerably facilitate reading and understanding. But enforcing such elementary presentation norms should not lead by extension to conformism and academic myopia regarding the phenomenon studied and the relevant literature. If pressed by governing institutional bodies or particular interests to publish more and quickly, academic circles adopt a single type of literature genre – for example the journal article testing a two by two model or any other – such a unique norm would precipitate sooner or later the fall of any scholarly community (de Marco in Loos et al., 2010). Naturally, we as academics are free from all these pressures and we know this will not happen. Nevertheless if we imagine the case of a single genre taking over, this would be even more dangerous for EJIS because it is in contradiction with the spirit of the IS discipline and the invitation in the aims and scope of EJIS to remain critical. The variety of conceptualizations and definitions we can adopt for an information system underlines the necessity for the IS community to be open to knowledge building. Such knowledge builds upon a wide range of disciplines not limited to, and as different from each other as, anthropology, history, linguistics, psychology, sociology, economics, computer science and mathematics. Naturally, this variety of disciplines helps not only to examine different theory bases, but also to bring different tools or research methods into the study of IS-related phenomena. In this editorial I would like to focus on writing styles, argumentative strategies or rhetoric and genres. The diversity of styles is important if we want to build an international community (Rowe, 2010), For example, not even mentioning the typical long sentences of Bourdieu, consider the prevalent French style in which the main arguments fall as a conclusion of each section and coalesce to let the main point in the conclusion of the article emerge and for which announcing the plan at the end of the introduction is neither elegant nor necessary because a good structure speaks for itself (e.g. Bourdieu, 1974; Latour, 1994; Laroche, 1995). This is quite the opposite from the dominant writing styles in the top NorthAmerican IS journals, making it, not impossible, but certainly more difficult, costly and overall a much longer journey to publish in those journals. As an international journal with a European spirit and title we should not impose a particular writing style, but only clarity of the arguments. At a more global level of the article structure, de Vaujany et al. (2011) distinguish three types of argumentative strategies that motivate the article – (1) deepening of knowledge where authors start from the identification of a gap in the literature, (2) solving an enigma characterized European Journal of Information Systems (2011) 20 , 491–495 & 2011 Operational Research Society Ltd. All rights reserved 0960-085X/11

DOI: 10.1057/ejis.2011.29

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Cite this paper

@article{Rowe2011TowardsAG, title={Towards a greater diversity in writing styles, argumentative strategies and genre of manuscripts}, author={Frantz Rowe}, journal={EJIS}, year={2011}, volume={20}, pages={491-495} }