Specification theory, patterns, and models in information systems domains: an exploratory investigation

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University of Alabama Libraries

Application and project domain specifications are an important aspect of Information Systems (IS) development. Observations of over thirty IS projects suggest dimly perceived structural patterns in specifications that are unaccounted for in research and practice. This investigation utilizes a theory building with case studies methodology to elucidate some of these patterns. As prerequisites to pattern identification, this investigation identified a theoretically and empirically grounded static model of specification that establishes specification context and structure and a theoretically and empirically grounded dynamic model of specification that establishes the principles of specification emergence and evolution. Using these models as a foundation, this investigation synthesized a specification pattern model from four research disciplines and confirmed the specification pattern model for physical objects in case data. An additional specification pattern model for physical actions was also identified in the case data. The confirmation process found that the physical object and action models could not be extended to abstract informational objects or actions. The findings of this investigation answer a call for research of the application domain, advance understanding of IS requirements inadequacy and volatility, advance ontological research to include a mechanism to integrate static and dynamic dimensions, and provides avenues of study to improve understanding of the structure and dynamics governing stakeholder collaboration. In addition, this investigation suggests criteria to judge, as well as theories, models, and patterns for, a class of IS that is persistently adaptive.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Information technology, Information science, Computer science