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ERIC Number: ED539733
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 199
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2670-7848-3
Harnessing the Power or Narratives to Understand User Requirements
Hvalshagen, Merete
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
It is estimated that $150 billion is wasted yearly on information and communications technology failures in the US. The most common reason for failure is deficiencies in the specified requirements. IS researchers and IS practitioners are therefore continuously exploring methods for effectively analyzing and capturing the user requirements. One such method is requirements narratives. Requirements narratives employed in systems development vary greatly with respect to form, style, and content. A question is therefore how these differences in form, style, and content affect our understanding of the user requirements. This is the broad issue targeted by this study. First, this study aims at identifying content that, when included in narratives, will give us a better understanding of the user requirements. Second, this study aims at examining the benefits offered by requirements narratives compared to those of textual use cases. To explore these issues, this study draws on the Cognitive Load Theory. The Cognitive Load Theory is often applied to examine how people understand and learn from complex material. A central component of Cognitive Load Theory is the notion of germane content. Germane content is extra content added to the learning material which facilitates learning of the original material. This study has identified two types of potentially germane content for requirements narratives. The first type is Thematic Story Content. Thematic Story Content is content which make a description read like a genuine story. The second type is Explanatory Content. Explanatory Content explains why things in the narrative happen. The results suggest that Thematic Story Content has an overall positive effect on the understanding of the requirements. Explanatory Content can either have a positive or a negative effect on understanding, depending on the type of understanding in question. Last, requirements narratives can both supplement and substitute textual use cases, but the optimal mix of materials is contingent on the type of understanding sought. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States