Is operations research really research?

  • NJ Manson School of Information Technology, Monash South Africa


This paper takes a philosophical look at the Research in Operations Research. First, the questions "What is Research?" and "What is Operations Research?" are discussed. Next, the paper discusses why it is important to have a clear definition of research, especially in academia. The paper then discusses a research paradigm called 'Design Research'. Design Research is defined and compared with other research paradigms. Seven guidelines for understanding, executing, and evaluating Design Research are presented. As examples, three recently published papers on Operations Research are evaluated using these guidelines. Finally, conclusions are presented discussing why it can be advantageous to understand, execute and evaluate Operations Research projects within the Design Research paradigm.


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