The following are major research streams related to Decision Support Systems.
The following list of topics is based on the review of MIS research by Swanson & Ramiller (1993).
Swanson, E.B. & Ramiller, N.C. "Information Systems Research Thematics: Submissions to a New Journal,
1987-1992," Information Systems Research, 4(4), 1993, pp. 299-330.
I. Communications-Driven DSS:
Computer Supported Cooperative Work: How Computer and Communication Technologies might best
support Group Work. GDSS EMS E-Mail Videoconferencing Teleconferencing.
Contrast the processes and outcomes of computer-supported and conventional interaction. Examine the effects of
various conditions on the use of and outcomes of using CSCW technologies. Also application of sociological
theory to investigating and designing CSCW technologies.
Explore Conditions or Causal Variables: Nature of the Leadership or Moderator Role, Anonymity, Group Size,
Group Dynamics, Group Proximity, Temporality of Communication (i.e. Synchronous vs. Asynchronous),
Goal Ambiguity, Capabilities of the Technology.
Test various dependent variables: including Content and Patterning of Communication, Group Member Attitudes
and Perceptions, Individual Behavior, Group Task Performance, Level of Equivocality, Level of Conflict,
Extent of Information Search, Degree of Consensus, Level of Creativity, Communication Comprehension, Problem-Domain Understanding
II. User Interface Design.
User Computer Interaction: Issues at the boundary of human and the computer. 3 themes: Design and
evaluation of interfaces or interface elements (especially graphical ones); the partitioning and integrating of work
between computer and human processors; and the nature and genesis of selected outcomes of human-computer
Efficacy of differing Graphic Representations with respect to:
Perception, Problem Solving, Decision Making
Efficacy of Natural Language Interfaces
Effect of Text Condensing on Reading Comprehension
Design of User Interfaces in DSS
Effect of User-Interface Consistency on Learning and Use
III. Information and Managerial Decision Making:
Deals with the relationship between information and decision
making in organizations. To inform the design of systems toward improved decision making.
Research Questions include:
Cognitive Skills and Cognitive Structuring
Communication Channel Perception
Informational Structure and Learning in Group Decision Making
Information Needs in Specific Situations
Problems Posed by the Information Stream itself, including:
Accuracy, Timeliness, and Overload.
IV. DSS Design: Focus on designing of DSS for improved decision performance. Could involve specific elements of
DSS, or consider design overall.
Research Questions: Level of Detail and Precision to Include in Models,
DSS Design Methodologies, Selection of DSS Generators, Theory for the Evaluation of DSS Design
V. Model-Driven DSS.
DSS Model Management:
Focus on the management of models and model components for advancing the state of the art.
Research Questions: Supporting Database Technologies, Model Formulation, Model Maintenance,
Model Management in Distributed Computing Environments
VI. DSS Development and Implementation: Development and implementation issues [beyond design] of DSS that
parallel those that apply to information systems more generally.
Research Questions: Antecedents of Acceptance and Use, Role and Effects of User Involvement,
Structure and Meaning of Implementation Lifecycles
VII. DSS Outcomes: Focus on effects of using DSS. Questions relate to outcomes, the overall value or effectiveness
of DSS, and contingencies that affect the link between use and performance.
Behavior and Performance of Decision Makers Using DSS That Promote Normative Decision Models
Comparative Effectiveness of Different Interactive Structures for DSS
Effect of Contingent Variables Including: Level of Expertise, Task Structure, Cognitive Effort
Relationship of DSS Use to Decision Making Behavior and Performance
Potential for DSS to Enhance Creativity in Decision Making
Effects of DSS Use on Hypothesis-Confirming Search Strategies
Effect of DSS Use on Decision Confidence
Relative Effectiveness of Centralized and Decentralized DSS
VIII. DSS Applications: How DSS might be applied.
Decision Support for Crisis Management
Management of Software Maintenance Projects
IX. Knowledge-Driven DSS and Expert Systems Applications: Application of knowledge-based technology for addressing specific applications
and raising more general issues regarding the application / applicability of expert systems. Of particular interest is
use of expert systems to support decision making and problem solving particular domains.
X. Expert System Design and Evaluation: Accomplishment of efficacious design related to design and evaluation
of knowledge-based systems. Focus on methods and approaches, overall architecture, design of specific elements
and capabilities, and performance measurement.
XI. Knowledge Acquisition: Knowledge acquisition for expert systems to advance the state of the art. Focus on
techniques for eliciting knowledge and beliefs from experts, ways to reconcile the knowledge of multiple experts,
and approaches to automated induction, and comparison and evaluation of methods.
XII. Systems Development Process: Focus on the context, structure, process, and outcomes of system
development projects. Primary focus on the search for conditions of project success. Questions include:
Offer or Compare Particular Ways of Looking at Systems Development
Explore Antecedents of Project Performance, Examine Project Management
Probe the Dynamics and Effects of Participation and Conflict
Perspectives on the System Development Process
Differences Between Systems Development Approaches
Adaptation and Fit of Managerial Functions to Project Characteristics
Genesis and Effects of Influence and Conflict
Antecedents of Project Success, Including: Task Context, IS Unit Structure,
Coordination Mechanisms, Project Uncertainty
Phenomenon of Project Abandonment
XIII. Requirement Analysis and Modeling: Discovering what contributes to effective practice of requirement
analysis. Questions include: proffering or evaluating particular techniques or approaches, exploring the antecedents
of effective analysis.
XIV. Data-Driven DSS.
Data Modeling and Database Design: Focus on Improving Effectiveness of Database Modeling and
Database Design. Questions focus on differences in approach, characteristics of the modeler as predictors of
effectiveness, and problem context. Data Management: Focus on various issues in practices.
Questions include evaluation and measurement of data quality, database usability, DBMS
benchmarking, policy (error removal, data distribution), and management
practice (critical success factors).
XV. User Involvement: Focus on effects of User Involvement on Systems Quality and User Satisfaction.
XVI. DSS/IT Resource Allocation: Focus on identifying optimal arrangements. Questions include alternative
mechanisms for allocation, access-control policies, and allocation of resources in distributed computing
XVII. DSS Performance Evaluation: Focus on measuring performance of DSS and on assessing the
information systems function.
Research Questions: Development of Models of DSS "Success",
Definition and Measurement of Success in DSS Planning
Views Held by Organizational Participants of What Constitutes DSS Success
XVIII. DSS/IS Security and Control: Focus on issues of computer abuse, loss of computer capacity,
low computer dependability. Questions examine: Design and Maintenance of Controls, Comparative
Effectiveness of Alternative Controls, Conditions determining the Effectiveness of Controls, Computer Backup, Database Security, Access
Control, and User Perceptions of Security Issues.
XIX. DSS/IS Ethics: Antecedents of ethical vs. unethical behavior among computer users, and the phenomenon of
unauthorized software copying.
XX. DSS/IS Personnel: Focus on HR issues: Turnover, Managerial Training, Gender Discrimination, and Organizational
XXI. IS-User Relationships: Focus on improving this relationship. Questions examine Outcomes of the Is-User
Interaction, Conditions Affecting the Relationship, Communication Between Users and the Is Function,
Mechanisms for User Control.
XXII. User Perceptions and Attitudes: How they are formed, whey they are important. Issues include:
conceptualization, measurement, and explanation.
XXIII. DSS, Strategic Management, and Business Outcomes: Focus on relationships of DSS/IT investments to
business performance (strategic and financial). Research themes include: identifying the effects of IT on business results,
determining how to organize, plan, and render decisions that can enhance the linkage of IS and business strategy,
and measuring the contribution of IT to firm performance.
XXIV. Interorganizational Information Systems: Focus on strategic effects.
Questions address a number of areas of potential effect, including
competitive advantage, search costs, product quality, product diversity, customer costs, market share, industry
profits, social welfare, and seller-buyer relationships, and the conditions and factors involved.
XXV. DSS and Information Technology Diffusion: Explaining the Adoption and Spread of Information Technologies using an
Innovation-Diffusion Perspective. Exploration of diffusion at various levels, from individual end users, through
organizational and industrial sectors, to nations.
XXVI. Information Systems Implementation: Focus on introduction of information systems or ITs in organizations.
Questions focus on characterization and classification of implementation situations, conceptualization and
measurement of constructs, and the identification of factors and contingencies affecting implementation processes
XXVII. Organizational Outcomes: Focus on Impacts of Information Systems on Organizations (beyond the issue of
firms' financial performance). Questions address: mutual structuring or coevolution of IT and organizational form.
Contributions to conceptualization and theory-building, or focus on specific effects, including impacts on structure,
relationships, tasks, work performance, and personal attitudes.