Author Archives

Research and Advances

Supply/demand of IS doctorates in the 1990s

The field of information systems (IS) has experienced a severe shortage of faculty throughout its 20-year history. This shortage now appears to be lessening. A survey of the supply of IS doctorates finds a steady stream of graduates from IS doctoral programs. In 1989, 61 universities in the U.S. offered Ph.D. or Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) concentrations in information systems. A survey of these programs resulted in 51 responses, including all the programs producing significant numbers of graduates. The following are highlights from the survey: Recent increase in the number of IS doctoral students: In 1988-89 there were 807 doctoral students enrolled in 51 doctoral programs in information systems. The programs admitted 217 new students for 1989-90. In the 1988-89 time period, 36 programs produced 120 doctorates—a 24 percent increase in graduates from the previous year. In the 1989-90 time period, 41 programs expect to graduate a total of 140 students—a 2-year cumulative increase of 44 percent: Downsizing by some programs, but others—including new programs—adding to capacity. In 1988-89, there were 13 programs that produced three or more doctorates. Those 13 programs accounted for 70 percent of all the graduates in 1988-89. In 1989-90, those same 13 programs expect to account for only 39 percent of the total number of graduates. Of the 13 programs, 5 except to have a decrease in the number of students over the next five years. Of 51 schools, 9 offering doctorates in IS have yet to graduate a student. Another 9 schools had their first graduate in 1985 or later. Several additional doctoral programs are in the planning stages. Twenty-three programs expect a growth in the number of students over the next five years. In this article, we examine the supply and demand gap
Research and Advances

Selected papers from the sixth international conference on information systems

There are a number of alternative tools and methods for building and designing information systems for organizational use. Each tool or design alternative has its advocates. Benefits and advantages are proposed or claimed; little empirical evidence is presented. The two selected papers from the 1985 International Conference on Information Systems (Indianapolis, December 15-18) present empirical laboratory experiments to provide evidence as to tools and design alternatives. The first paper by Dickson, DeSanctis, and McBride describes three experiments to compare traditional tabular presentation with graphic presentation. The experiments are designed to build cumulative research results around the issue of the task the reader of the information is to perform upon receiving the information. The second paper by Vessey and Weber provides experimental evidence comparing methods for documenting a problem: decision tree, decision table, and structured English. The three methods are frequently presented as alternatives; the experiments compare them. Two studies do not settle an issue as complex as comparison of alternative tools and methods: they begin to provide the evidence needed. They also illustrate one well-established research approach—the laboratory experiment. The advantage of laboratory experiments is the control that can be obtained; field studies and experience of practitioners can be understood more fully in the context of such laboratory results.
Research and Advances

Introduction to a special section on: information systems management

This month, Communications is devoting its Research Contributions section to a special purpose: to present the results of research on issues in information systems management. In our call for papers, we asked for contributions emphasizing empirical research—rather than conceptual formulations. In all, we received 29 papers. Five of those papers are presented in the section that follows. Many of the papers not included here, we believe, will be published later, in Communications or elsewhere.
Research and Advances

Information systems curriculum recommendations for the 80s: undergraduate and graduate programs

The recommendations of the 1972 and 1973 ACM Curriculum Committee on Information Systems programs have been influential in the development of degree programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. The earlier curriculum has been revised and updated based on advances in the field over the past nine years. The report discusses the continuing need for education related to the definition, analysis, design, construction, and management of information systems in organizations. The structure of both bachelor's and master's level programs are described and courses are defined. Course outlines include rationale for the courase, course objectives, instructional modes, and a list of topics. Each topic is weighted in terms of suggested percent of time devoted to the subject.
Research and Advances

A study of errors, error-proneness, and error diagnosis in Cobol

This paper provides data on Cobol error frequency for correction of errors in student-oriented compilers, improvement of teaching, and changes in programming language. Cobol was studied because of economic importance, widespread usage, possible error-inducing design, and lack of research. The types of errors were identified in a pilot study; then, using the 132 error types found, 1,777 errors were classified in 1,400 runs of 73 Cobol students. Error density was high: 20 percent of the types contained 80 percent of the total frequency, which implies high potential effectiveness for software-based correction of Cobol. Surprisingly, only four high-frequency errors were error-prone, which implies minimal error inducing design. 80 percent of Cobol misspellings were classifiable in the four error categories of previous researchers, which implies that Cobol misspellings are correctable by existent algorithms. Reserved word usage was not error-prone, which implies minimal interference with usage of reserved words. Over 80 percent of error diagnosis was found to be inaccurate. Such feedback is not optimal for users, particularly for the learning user of Cobol.

Shape the Future of Computing

ACM encourages its members to take a direct hand in shaping the future of the association. There are more ways than ever to get involved.

Get Involved