An Exploratory Study of Topic Importance in Requirements Elicitation

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Interviewing stakeholders is a common way to elicit information about requirements of the system-to-be and the conditions in its operating environment. One important difficulty in preparing and doing interviews is how to avoid missing the information that may be important to understand the requirements and environment conditions. Some information may inevitably remain implicit throughout the interview, for various reasons; the interviewed stakeholder may not consider it important, and the requirements engineer may fail to mention it, or a topic it relates to. We propose the so-called Elicitation Topic Map (ETM), which is intended to help requirements engineers and business analysts prepare elicitation interviews. ETM is a diagram that shows topics that can be discussed during requirements elicitation interviews, and shows how likely it is that stakeholders tend to discuss each of the topics spontaneously (as opposed to being explicitly asked questions on that topic by the requirements engineer or business analyst). If a topic is less likely to be discussed spontaneously, then this suggests that the requirements engineer and business analyst may want to prepare questions on it, before the interview. ETM was produced through a combination of theoretical and empirical research. The theoretical part consisted of identifying topic sets based on conceptual model of context, from philosophy, artificial intelligence, and computer science. The empirical part involved two steps: firstly, we evaluated the relevance of the theoretical list of topic sets and identified specific topics in each set, and we did this via interviews with requirements engineering professionals; secondly, we surveyed professionals who acted as stakeholders in systems engineering projects, in order to evaluate how likely they would spontaneously share information about each topic.
langue originaleAnglais
titreProceedings of the 26th International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering (CAiSE'14) Lecture Notes in Computer Science
Lieu de publicationThessaloniki, Greece
Pages180 - 195
Nombre de pages16
Les DOIs
Etat de la publicationPublié - 24 juin 2014


  • Elicitation
  • Interviews
  • Exploratory study
  • Context
  • RE Topics

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