Trauth, E.M., Jessup, L.M., Understanding Computer-Mediated Discussions: Positivist and Interpretive Analyses of Group Support System Use, MIS Quarterly, 24(1), pp.43-79

This paper is a good example of an case study paper. Four Group Support System (GSS) sessions were held to discuss gender equity at a State University. Focus of the paper was on the 2 analysing methods: positivist analysis and interpretive analysis. In the positivist analysis the session transcriptions were coded according to 15 codes (from previous literature) that described the content of the discussion, i.e., critical remark, argument support, etc. In the interpretive analysis the categories are developed from the data in grounded fashion. The paper provides a good amount of raw data, which makes the research more transparent. The results show that the two analysis have a couple of differences, starting from the goal. The goal of the positivist analysis is the effective conveyance of ideas, whereas the interpretive analysis does not have a clear goal (only to understand communication). Another difference is the point-of-view; in positivist analysis the researcher looks at the communication from outside and looks at what is the text the participants produce. In interpretive analysis the researcher is inside the group trying to find 0ut the meaning of the text.