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Contextual Inquiry and Requirements Shaping

  • C Barry
  • K Conboy
  • M Lang
  • G Wojtkowski
  • W Wojtkowski
Publiceringsår: 2009
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 225-236
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: The Inter-Networked World: ISD Theory, Practice, and Education
Volym: 1
Dokumenttyp: Del av eller Kapitel i bok
Förlag: Springer


A primary purpose of traditional systems analysis is seen as ‘capture’ or ‘elicitation’ of user requirements, in order to produce specifications as a basis for information systems design. Such a view presupposes that user requirements are pre-existing and clear, and that the particular ‘users’ concerned know what they are, and can therefore articulate them. We would argue that none of these assumptions can be taken for granted. If a system is to be created which is useful to particular individuals, we suggest that they need to take ownership and control of the analysis themselves. By exploring their own experiences, aspirations and sense-making processes in the context of their problem space, they may enable richer and more comprehensive understandings to emerge. A creative process of requirements shaping may then be promoted. Our focus, therefore, moves away from problem description by an external analyst, towards contextual inquiry, which supports creative thinking and problem re-definition by those individuals most affected. We will discuss methods which may facilitate exploration of multiple, simultaneous and dynamic roles of the same autonomous individuals, separately and collectively. Such methods may enable emergence of reflective, shifting perspectives, leading to deepened understandings of problem experiences. This approach makes it possible for resolutions to be created that address experiences, rather than descriptions, of problems.


  • Information Systems, Social aspects
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Development
  • Contextual Analysis
  • Critical Systemic Thinking
  • Requirement Shaping
  • Contextual Inquiry
  • Emergence


  • ISBN: 978-0-387-30403-8

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