Categories & Lengths
It is absolutely essential that authors read several of the most recent issues of MISQ to help them determine under which category their research falls. This will also help authors understand the quality expected from submissions. It serves neither authors nor the review team if a manuscript is submitted prematurely.
The MIS Quarterly reviews and accepts papers that fall into one of the following six categories:
This category provides an opportunity for authors to:
- Make a contribution that is sufficiently original and significant so as to warrant a full-length article wherein the authors develop and present their arguments, solutions, and evidence.
- Ground their work in theory, whether it is a new theory being advanced and tested or testing an existing theory. In a Research Article, authors may also be refining or challenging theories.
- Expand our understanding of digital phenomena and the role information systems have in solving high-impact business and societal problems.
- Present evidence that supports the validity of their claims.
Most submissions to and most papers published in the MIS Quarterly are Research Articles. Authors who are developing new theories but do not test that theory in the current submission should categorize their article as a Theory and Review Article. See below for a description of this category.
This category provides a forum for a wide variety of concise research contributions. Some examples of possible subject matter include:
- Empirical contributions that relate to topics that appear frequently in the MIS Quarterly and other top journals.
- Theoretical insights from the analysis of rich data on phenomena/problems that can trigger the development of theory.
- Discussions around an important methodological issue (or issues) associated with a published article. The connections between a Note’s content and earlier published article(s) must be clearly defined. Notes may arouse controversy and encourage dialogue on an important methodological issue.
Research Notes are typically half the length of a Research Article. A Research Note can also be thought of as a briefer form of a Research Article because it carries a distinct contribution while presenting the research in a more succinct format.
This category provides an opportunity for authors to address methodological issues and propose innovative methods for studying information systems. It is crucial to clearly present ideas to the readership as to introduce perspectives about how researchers should conduct research. A Methods Article may or may not provide empirical evidence, such as simulations, depending on the nature of the topic and the level of evidence required for that particular method. A Methods Article whose impact spans beyond the Information Systems discipline are welcome.
For this category, senior scholars are invited by the EIC to discuss a research stream or methodological approach and offer insight as to how the field should advance. Highlighting seminal or key works that show how the topic has evolved is appropriate. Research Commentaries conclude with a set of research questions that are worth exploring in order to address unanswered questions.
This category is for conceptual articles that develop novel theories and generate theoretical insights that advance the study and practice of information systems design, development, management, use, and consequences. Consistent with the MIS Quarterly‘s broad strategic positioning, the journal is receptive to different types of IS theories (for a discussion of different types of IS theories, see Gregor, S., The Nature of Theory in Information Systems MIS Quarterly (30:3), September 2006). It is also receptive to articles from a wide range of philosophical foundations and disciplinary orientations, including articles that merge siloed theoretical perspectives and are constructively critical of established theory and practice.
Articles in this category can be one of two types:
Theory-Generative Research Synthesis: Comprehensive review and synthesis of previously published research (around a theory, phenomenon, or concept) is done to generate theoretical insights and implications. These articles (1) act as repositories for the accumulated knowledge on important topics within the information systems field, and (2) clearly delineate the directions for future research that emerge from the literature synthesis.
Theory Development: Grounding in theory and/or practice is used to develop new IS theory. In contrast to theory-generative research synthesis, these articles do not engage in comprehensive review and synthesis of the literature (around a theory, phenomenon, or concept) to generate theoretical advances. Instead, they develop new IS theory through approaches such as:
- Conceiving new constructs and relationships pertaining to a phenomenon, problem, or solution.
- Drawing on a novel theoretical lens and elaborating it given the distinctive characteristics of the phenomenon, problem, or solution.
- Integrating multiple theoretical perspectives into a cohesive new IS theory (including integrative, inter- and intra-disciplinary theories).
- Falsifying assumptions and refining existing theories given the characteristics of the phenomena, problem, or solution.
- Challenging existing and advancing new philosophical foundations.
While preparing their manuscript, authors are invited to read prior Theory and Review articles published in MIS Quarterly as well as the following editorials:
- Rivard, S. 2014. The Ions of Theory Construction MIS Quarterly (38:2), pp. iii-xiii.
- Webster, J., and Watson, R. 2002. Analyzing the Past to Prepare for the Future: Writing a Literature Review MIS Quarterly (26:2), pp. xiii-xxiii.
- Zmud, R. W. 1998. Editor’s Comments MIS Quarterly (22:2), June.
This category provides a forum for well-developed and well-articulated position statements concerning emerging, paradoxical, or controversial research issues. An Issues and Opinions article may be described as rigorously argued and/or relying on scholarly evidence. Issues and Opinions submissions should open new areas of discourse, close stale areas, and/or offer fresh views on research topics of importance to the discipline. An Issues and Opinions article should:
- Identify the issue(s) in terms that are accessible.
- Provide appropriate conceptual frameworks for the issue.
- Offer opinions and supportive arguments.
- Describe the implications of these opinions to research, practice, and/or education.
- Include supporting empirical evidence, when appropriate.
Scientometric papers will be considered, but they must yield a large theoretical contribution in our Research Articles. If a scientometric study addresses valuable professional concerns, it could find a home in the Issues and Opinions section.
See the Category Lengths section below for manuscript length requirements for each of the described categories.
MIS Quarterly has requirements for the maximum total length of an article. MISQ follows these requirements in order to maintain an effective and efficient editorial process that benefits authors, reviewers, and readers of the journal.
The maximum total length requirements include tables, figures, references, and appendices. It is the total length of the article that will be reviewed.
Please follow the guidelines below on maximum total length of an article, including tables, figures, references, and appendices:
- Research Articles: 55 pages
- Research Note: 30 pages
- Method Articles: 55 pages
- Research Commentary: 30 pages
- Theory and Review:
- Theory-Generative Literature Synthesis: 65 pages
- Theory Development: 55 pages
For the difference between these types, please refer to the Categories section.
- Issues and Opinions: 30 pages
Submissions that exceed the maximum total lengths of their respective category will either be returned to authors for shortening before review or desk-rejected. The maximum total length must be adhered to in all revised versions.