Goal Identification and Refinement in the Specification of Information Systems

Ph.D. Thesis

Annie I. Antón

Georgia Institute of Technology

June 1997


The objective of this work is to develop, validate and assess a goal-based method, which provides procedural support, for the identification, elaboration, refinement, and organization of goals in the specification of software-based information systems. The two main contributions of this work to current goal-refinement requirements methods are:

Existing goal-based methods stress the need to characterize, categorize, decompose and structure goals. However, they fail to offer strategies for the initial identification and construction of goals. It is assumed that the goals already exist in some artifact. However, if goals have not been previously specified, how does one go about specifying them, and how does one know when all of the goals have been completely specified? Strategies are needed to resolve these issues. Our research has enabled us to develop a method which offers a straightforward, methodical approach to identifying system (and enterprise) goals and requirements. It suggests goal identification and refinement strategies and techniques by including a set of guidelines and recurring questions types. Use of this method will produce a software specification of the functional requirements in the form of goal schemas showing behaviors in terms of goals, their relationships, constraints, and obstacles, as well as agent responsibilities.


The following postscript files are copyrighted by Annie I. Antón (June 1997).


Section/Chapter Pages
Title Page i-ii
Dedication iii-iv
Acknowledgements v-viii
Table of Contents
ix-xii
List of Tables xiii-xv
List of Figures xvi-xviii
Glossary ixx-xxii
Summary xxiii
Chapter 1: Introduction 1-12
Chapter 2: Survey of Related Work 13-34
Chapter 3: Case Studies 35-66
Chapter 4: The Goal-Based Requirements Analysis Method 67-134
Chapter 5: Heuristics and Guidelines 135-184
Chapter 6: Validation 185-226
Chapter 7: Conclusions 227-238
Appendix A: Vacation/Sick Leave Problem Description 239-240
Appendix B: Vacation/Sick Leave Problem Description 241-242
Appendix C: Summary of GBRAM Heuristics 243-252
Bibliography 253-260
Vita 261


Last Modified: February 16, 1999 by Annie I. Antón (anton@csc.ncsu.edu)

as of March 18, 1999.