Many different methods have been used to understand the field of information systems, including classification, citation, and exploration of genres and lines of discourse. This paper discusses an approach based on the concept of a
family of fields,
where IS has greater proximity to some fields than to others.Our approach was inspired by field theory and discourse communities as a means to explain the diffusion of scientific research. The family of fields concept proved not to be viable but yielded important lessons for the study of IS and its relationship with other scientific fields. We found that (1) fields are not so easily defined, (2) borrowing of ideas across disciplines is not linear, (3) the concept of a reference discipline is obscured, and (4) we need to ask, what are the requirements for a discipline among the social sciences.