Cadastral information is a reference data component, of any spatial data infrastructure (SDI). During recent years, several organisational and individual research projects have investigated the cadastral domain. Two paradigms characterize much of this research and their methodologies: a behavioural paradigm or, alternatively, a 'design research' paradigm. While some efforts have focused on behavioural research methodologies, design research methodologies have not been addressed by the cadastral, geographical information system (GIS) and SDI research community so far. The present article, therefore, aims to demonstrate usage of the design research paradigm through a methodological analysis of recent cadastral research, which addresses information system issues and within this context, designs information system artefact. The analysis is based on five doctoral dissertations and an array of papers representing the development of the ISO/WD 19152.3 Land Administration Domain Model. The analysis is supplemented with a review of related theory. The main contribution of this article is an explication of a design research methodology and a theoretical framework for research in cadastral information, cadastral systems and the units of property rights reflected in these systems. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.