Getting started: ADSYS

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Getting started: ADSYS 2016

Remember that the unit does require continuous study – so please start early with reading the recommended text to make yourself an initial overview of the main methodology:

-          Soft Systems Methodology (SSM), by Peter Checkland

SSM and related methodologies. Please take notes while you study the texts and start a personal study diary (a student log-book). You will be given more detailed information throughout the semester.

You will also need to read up on the Socio-Technical Toolbox to be closely familiar with key aspects.


The aim of this course is that you acquire knowledge of general concepts and theories drawing upon Systems Science as applied upon organisational information systems. Furthermore, the aim of this course is that you gain knowledge about Systems Methodologies as scientific methodologies in relation to analytical perspectives. You are also expected to gain understanding of methodological support for making sense of the interaction between organisations, information and Information Technology as well as an insight to the problems and issues that might arise due to this interaction.


This course is for those who want to develop themselves as system analysts, organisational developers or designers of information technology, organisational or social systems. The course is also relevant if you want to learn to see problems from a holistic perspective, a so called systems perspective. To accomplish that, different methods for analysis (and design) are presented and discussed in the course. Even if the course is general in the aspect the methodologies you learn can be used within many different areas, the course is focused upon analysis and design of information systems and the process of creating an understanding of the interplay between organisations, information and information technology. During the course you will discuss what analysis and design means and how it can affect both individuals and organisations. Finally you will have the opportunity to critically evaluate the theories and methods you learn during the course further and see how they can be useful in the situations you might come across in your professional life.

As a starting point for this unit you are expected to create yourself a general overview of SSM by reading texts by Peter Checkland – and of ETHICS by Enid Mumford. Obviously other texts will be recommended and expected to be studied – such as the book on Systems Practice by Frank Stowell and Christine Welch. Additionally to text provided via Moodle there are recommended core text books for you to read:

  • Checkland P and Poulter, J (2006, 2007). Learning for Action: A Short Definitive Account of Soft Systems Methodology, and Its Use Practitioners, Teachers and Students. JW. [brief overview of SSM]
  • Checkland P and Holwell S (1998). Information, Systems and Information Systems: Making Sense of the Field. JW. [background and deeper insight into SSM]
  • Checkland P and Scholes J (1990, 1999). Soft Systems Methodology in Action. JW. [examples of SSM]
  • Checkland P (1981, 1999) Systems Thinking Systems Practice. JW. [examples of SSM]
  • Avison D. and Fitzgerald G. (2003, 2006). Information Systems Development: Methodologies, Techniques and Tools [third and fourth editions are good]. McGraw-Hill. [especially the evaluation framework for methodologies].

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