Teaching and assessing an interpretive approach to requirements analysis: challenges and opportunities for innovation

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Requirements analysis is well documented as being a problematic area in the successful development of computer based information systems. There is also evidence to suggest that it is an area often neglected in Computing/Information Systems/Business Analysis education. Furthermore, when it is part of the syllabus it is often taught in a prescriptive manner which fails to address the issues and challenges highlighted in research over the last 30 years into IT/IS system failure. This paper describes an Honours degree level module in Requirements Analysis which attempts to offer an approach to requirements analysis that addresses many of the problems and issues raised in the literature by adopting a strong interpretive theoretical foundation which is carried through into practice. The nature of this approach to requirements analysis challenges the appropriateness of more traditional assessment vehicles. Consequently, a mechanism referred to as a Supervised Work Unit (SWU), which sets out to provide a simulated work environment, is adopted. The paper outlines the concept of a SWU, describes its application for one cohort of students, provides student comments on the experience, and offers a discussion of the approach and its usefulness not only for assessment but also as a means of encouraging reflective practice, an aspect that underlies the approach to requirements analysis advocated in the module.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2017
EventHorizons in STEM Higher Education Conference: Making Connections, Innovating and Sharing Pedagogy - Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Jun 201730 Jun 2017


ConferenceHorizons in STEM Higher Education Conference
Abbreviated titleHESTEM17
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Requirements Analysis
  • Supervised Work Unit
  • Interpretivism
  • Reflective Practice

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