When using current object‐oriented methods in the development of computer‐based information systems, problems frequently arise in the identification and specification of ‘objects’. In this paper, these problems are discussed and an approach that draws upon interpretivist systems thinking is presented that, it is argued, may alleviate some of the problems. It is proposed that a method that has been developed specifically to aid the user and analyst to appreciate a perceived problem situation might provide a useful aid in the process of identifying objects from the situation which are meaningful to the user. [An attempt has been made to use terminology that is consistent with that used in object‐oriented analysis. However, at times this terminology may be at variance with some of the interpretivist ideas put forward (e.g. the term ‘user’ is adopted, although the authors argue that the notion of ‘client’ is more appropriate to emphasize the increased involvement and responsibility of the ‘user’ in the approach advocated)]. The ability to achieve this is expected to facilitate the appropriate mapping of these meaningful objects into a technical specification through object‐oriented methods and to encourage user acceptance of the resulting computer‐based information system.
- appreciative inquiry method, object identification, object specification, problem appreciation, soft systems approach