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Among the variety of the available requirements elicitation techniques, interviews are the most commonly used. Performing effective interviews is challenging, especially for students and novice analysts, since interviews’ success depends largely on soft skills and experience. Despite their diffusion and their challenging nature, when it comes to requirements engineering education and training (REET), limited resources and few well-founded pedagogical approaches are available to allow students to acquire and improve their skills as interviewers. To overcome this limitation, this paper presents two pedagogical approaches, namely SaPeer and ReverseSaPeer. SaPeer uses role-playing, peer review and self-assessment to enable students to experience first-hand the difficulties related to the interviewing process, reflect on their mistakes, and improve their interview skills by practice and analysis. ReverseSaPeer builds on the first approach and includes a role reversal activity in which participants play the role of a customer interviewed by a competent interviewer. We evaluate the effectiveness of SaPeer through a controlled quasi-experiment, which shows that the proposed approach significantly reduces the amount of mistakes made by the participants and that it is perceived as useful and easy by the participants. ReverseSaPeer and the impact of role reversal are analyzed through a thematic analysis of the participant’s reflections. The analysis shows that not only the students perceive the analysis as beneficial, but also that they have emotional involvement in learning. This work contributes to the body of knowledge of REET with two methods, quantitative and qualitative evaluated, respectively. Furthermore, we share the pedagogical material used, to enable other educators to apply and possibly tailor the approach.
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Vol.:(0123456789)
1 3
Requirements Engineering (2020) 25:417–438
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00766-020-00334-0
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
SaPeer
and
reverSeSaPeer
: teaching requirements elicitation interviews
withrole‑playing androle reversal
AlessioFerrari1· PaolaSpoletini2 · MuneeraBano3· DidarZowghi4
Received: 14 December 2019 / Accepted: 19 May 2020 / Published online: 16 July 2020
© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2020
Abstract
Among the variety of the available requirements elicitation techniques, interviews are the most commonly used. Performing
effective interviews is challenging, especially for students and novice analysts, since interviews’ success depends largely
on soft skills and experience. Despite their diffusion and their challenging nature, when it comes to requirements engineer-
ing education and training (REET), limited resources and few well-founded pedagogical approaches are available to allow
students to acquire and improve their skills as interviewers. To overcome this limitation, this paper presents two pedagogi-
cal approaches, namely
SaPeer
and
reverSeSaPeer
.
SaPeer
uses role-playing, peer review and self-assessment to enable
students to experience first-hand the difficulties related to the interviewing process, reflect on their mistakes, and improve
their interview skills by practice and analysis.
reverSeSaPeer
builds on the first approach and includes a role reversal activ-
ity in which participants play the role of a customer interviewed by a competent interviewer. We evaluate the effectiveness
of
SaPeer
through a controlled quasi-experiment, which shows that the proposed approach significantly reduces the amount
of mistakes made by the participants and that it is perceived as useful and easy by the participants.
reverSeSaPeer
and the
impact of role reversal are analyzed through a thematic analysis of the participant’s reflections. The analysis shows that
not only the students perceive the analysis as beneficial, but also that they have emotional involvement in learning. This
work contributes to the body of knowledge of REET with two methods, quantitative and qualitative evaluated, respectively.
Furthermore, we share the pedagogical material used, to enable other educators to apply and possibly tailor the approach.
Keywords Requirements elicitation· Interviews· REET· Peer review· Role-playing· Self-assessment
1 Introduction
Interviews between a requirements analyst and a customer,
as well as other stakeholders such as domain or technical
experts, are one of the most commonly used techniques to
elicit requirements [2, 23, 35]. The ability of the analyst
to gather correct and complete requirements from different
stakeholders often depends on the analyst’s experience as
well as on soft skills [3, 25, 35, 45, 62, 65]. Given the mul-
tiple factors influencing the success of elicitation interviews,
teaching the art of interviews to software engineering and
computer science students, and young analysts in general, is
particularly difficult, also due to the limited resources nor-
mally available for educational activities specifically focused
on requirements engineering (RE) [32, 47].
Role-playing offers experiential learning through the
simulation of real-world scenarios; for this reason, it is
widely used in disciplines where soft skills and experience
are relevant for the success of a task. In RE education and
* Paola Spoletini
pspoleti@kennesaw.edu
Alessio Ferrari
alessio.ferrari@isti.cnr.it
Muneera Bano
muneera.bano@deakin.edu.au
Didar Zowghi
didar.zowghi@uts.edu.au
1 ISTI-CNR: Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie
dell’Informazione “A. Faedo”, Consiglio Nazionale delle
Ricerche Area della Ricerca di Pisa, Via Giuseppe Moruzzi,
1, 56127Pisa, PI, Italy
2 Department ofSoftware Engineering andGame
Development, Kennesaw State University, Building J, Office
375, 1100 South Marietta Pkwy, Marietta, GA30060, USA
3 School ofInfo Technology, Deakin University Burwood
Campus/221, Burwood Hwy, Burwood, VIC3125, Australia
4 Faculty ofEngineering andIT, University ofTechnology
Sydney (UTS), PO Box123, Broadway, NSW2007,
Australia
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
... SaPeer and reverSeSaPeer presented in [26] are two pedagogical approaches. SaPeer uses role-playing, peer review and self-assessment to enable students to experience firsthand the difficulties related to the interviewing process, reflect on their mistakes, and improve their interview skills by practice and analysis. ...
Chapter
In the information systems area, besides the problem of involvement, students often have difficulties learning in course units such as Requirements Engineering, namely in identifying and writing requirements and specifying the new information system based on requirements identified. The reasons for these difficulties are well known and described in the literature, referring to critical thinking/problem-solving, creativity, communication, and collaboration, among others. Knowing the value of flexible and personalized learning, teachers are changing the way they teach, using different active learning methodologies, such as the flipped classroom and project-based learning. This paper describes an experiment carried out with students that aims to improve the learning experiences of students enrolled in the degree courses (Computer Science and Computer Engineering) at the curricular units Information Systems Development and Requirements Engineering. Specifically, the experiment carried out aimed to create a catalogue of requirements for a rental agency. In solving the case study, it was proposed to use a new approach, based on active methodologies, titled Think-Per-Share & Switching (TPS2). At the end of the experiment, the students were invited to evaluate the approach. The results of the student's evaluation are promising, and we will apply the TPS2 in the next academic year.
... As a major course in college PE, basketball can effectively enhance students' physical quality and cultivate students' cooperation, hard work, competition, courage, tenacious enterprising spirit, and good personal character. "Basketball" course can make students understand the theoretical knowledge related to sports and make their body get all-round exercise, enhance their physique, and promote their healthy development [22]. "Basketball" course is taken as an example to analyze PE teaching because of its important role in college PE. ...
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Context: A fast way to test business ideas and to explore customer problems and needs is to talk to them. Customer interviews help to understand what solutions customers will pay for before investing valuable resources to develop solutions. Customer interviews are a good way to gain qualitative insights. However, conducting interviews can be a difficult procedure and requires specific skills. The current ways of teaching interview skills have significant deficiencies. They especially lack guidance and opportunities to practice. Objective: The goal of this work is to develop and validate a workshop format to teach interview skills for conducting good customer interviews in a practical manner. Method: The research method is based on design science research which serves as a framework. A game-based workshop format was designed to teach interview skills. The approach consists of a half-day, hands-on workshop and is based on an analysis of necessary interview skills. The approach has been validated in several workshops and improved based on learnings from those workshops. Results: Results of the validation show that participants could significantly improve their interview skills while enjoying the game-based exercises. The game-based learning approach supports learning and practicing customer interview skills with playful and interactive elements that encourage greater motivation among participants to conduct interviews.
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Requirements engineering (RE) has established itself as a core software engineering discipline. It is well acknowledged that good RE leads to higher quality software and considerably reduces the risk of failure or budget-overspending of software development projects. It is of vital importance to train future software engineers in RE and educate future requirements engineers to adequately manage requirements in various projects. To this date, there exists no central concept of what RE education shall comprise. To lay a foundation, we report on a systematic literature review of the field and provide a systematic map describing the current state of RE education. Doing so allows us to describe how the educational landscape has changed over the last decade. Results show that only a few established author collaborations exist and that RE education research is predominantly published in venues other than the top RE research venues (i.e., in venues other than the RE conference and journal). Key trends in RE instruction of the past decade include involvement of real or realistic stakeholders, teaching predominantly elicitation as an RE activity, and increasing student factors such as motivation or communication skills. Finally, we discuss open opportunities in RE education, such as training for security requirements and supply chain risk management, as well as developing a pedagogical foundation grounded in evidence of effective instructional approaches.
Chapter
[Context and Motivation] Role-playing is a typical pedagogical strategy frequently applied in requirements engineering education and training (REET). The technique was proven to be successful for teaching different requirements engineering (RE) activities, and the SaPeer role-playing approach was recently proposed to train students in requirements elicitation interviews. SaPeer was shown to be effective and useful in the context of a high-resource RE module involving seven tutors, and a three-weeks individual assignment. [Question/Problem] RE lectures are frequently conducted as part of software engineering courses, or in short RE modules, and there is often limited time to teach RE in general, and interviews in particular. Therefore, SaPeer needs to be adapted to these constrained contexts, and adequately assessed. [Principal idea/Results] In this paper, we present the application of SaPeer to a low-resource context. We tailor the approach to a one-week group assignment, involving one tutor only, and we apply it to a class of 24 students. By comparing our results with the original study, we find that students struggle in similar areas, and especially in question omission and planning. A qualitative analysis of the feedback of the students shows the appreciation for the interview experience, and offers specific recommendations for improving the educational material. [Contribution] We contribute to the literature in REET with the first tailored application of SaPeer. Our study extends the scope of SaPeer and offers the possibility of adopting it in other constrained contexts.
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Interviews are the most widely used elicitation technique in requirements engineering (RE). However, conducting a requirements elicitation interview is challenging. The mistakes made in design or conduct of the interviews can create problems in the later stages of requirements analysis. Empirical evidence about effective pedagogical approaches for training novices on conducting requirements elicitation interviews is scarce. In this paper, we present a novel pedagogical approach for training student analysts in the art of elicitation interviews. Our study is conducted in two parts: first, we perform an observational study of interviews performed by novices, and we present a classification of the most common mistakes made; second, we utilize this list of mistakes and monitor the students’ progress in three set of interviews to discover the individual areas for improvement. We conducted an empirical study involving role-playing and authentic assessment in two semesters on two different cohorts of students. In the first semester, we had 110 students, teamed up in 28 groups, to conduct three interviews with stakeholders. We qualitatively analysed the data to identify and classify the mistakes made from their first interview only. In the second semester, we had 138 students in 34 groups and we monitored and analysed their progress in all three interviews by utilizing the list of mistakes from the first study. First, we identified 34 unique mistakes classified into seven high-level themes, namely question formulation, question omission, interview order, communication skills, analyst behaviour, customer interaction, teamwork and planning. In the second study, we discovered that the students struggled mostly in the areas of question formulation, question omission and interview order and did not manage to improve their skills throughout the three interviews. Our study presents a novel and repeatable pedagogical design, and our findings extend the body of knowledge aimed at RE education and training by providing an empirically grounded categorization of mistakes made by novices. We offer an analysis of the main pain points in which instructors should pay more attention during their design and training.
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Peers carry potential in enhancing students’ self-assessment development, but few studies have explored how peer scaffolding is enacted in the process. This qualitative study explores peer assessment effects on the self-assessment process of 11 first-year undergraduates and the factors limiting peer influence. Drawing on the data from students’ journals, follow-up interviews, observations of in-class formative peer assessment activities and teacher interviews, we ascertained that peers could aid the self-assessment process by enriching student understanding of quality, refining subjective judgement and deepening self-reflection. Yet, peer influence could be reduced by distrust, tensions in feedback communication, competition and lack of readiness for peer learning. Implications for effective use of peers in supporting self-assessment development are discussed.
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[Background] Prior research on the professional occupation of Requirements Engineering (RE) in Europe and Latin America indicated incongruities between RE practice as perceived by industry and as in textbooks, and conducted detailed analysis of both RE and non-RE job aspects. Relatively little is published on the RE competencies and skills industry expects, and seldom investigated the application domains calling for RE professionals. [Aims] We felt motivated by those findings to carry out research on RE job posts in a North-American market. Especially, we focused solely on RE-specific tasks, competencies and skills, from the perspective of defined position categories. Plus, we intend to explore the application domains in need for RE professionals to reveal the wide range of RE roles in industry. [Methods] Coding process, analysis, and synthesis were applied to the textual descriptions of the 190 RE job ads from Canada's most popular online job search site, especially to the text referring to tasks and competencies. [Results] We contribute to the empirical analysis of RE jobs, by providing insights from Canada's IT market in 2017. Using 109 RE job ads from the most popular IT job search portal T-Net, we identified the qualifications, experience and skills demanded by Canadian employers. Furthermore, we explored the distribution of those RE tasks and competences over the 11 categories of RE roles. [Conclusions] Our results suggest that the majority of the employers were big to very big companies in 29 business domains, and the most in-demand RE skills for them were related to RE methods and to project management aspects affecting requirements. In addition, employers placed much more emphasis on experience - both RE-specific and broad software engineering experience, than on higher education.
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[Context] Interviews are the most widely used elicitation technique in requirements engineering. However, conducting effective requirements elicitation interviews is challenging, due to the combination of technical and soft skills that requirements analysts often acquire after a long period of professional practice. Empirical evidence about training the novices on conducting effective requirements elicitation interviews is scarce. [Objectives] We present a list of most common mistakes that novices make in requirements elicitation interviews. The objective is to assist the educators in teaching interviewing skills to student analysts. [Research Method] We conducted an empirical study involving role-playing and authentic assessment with 110 students, teamed up in 28 groups, to conduct interviews with a customer. One researcher made observation notes during the inter-view while two researchers reviewed the recordings. We qualitatively analyzed the data to identify the themes and classify the mistakes. [Results and conclusion] We identified 34 unique mistakes classified into 7 high level themes. We also give examples of the mistakes made by the novices in each theme, to assist the educationists and trainers. Our research design is a novel combination of well-known pedagogical approaches described in sufficient details to make it repeatable for future requirements engineering education and training research.
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[Context and Motivation] Ambiguities identified during requirements elicitation interviews can be used by the requirements analyst as triggers for additional questions and, consequently, for disclosing further – possibly tacit – knowledge. Therefore, every unidentified ambiguity may be a missed opportunity to collect additional information. [Question/problem] Ambiguities are not always easy to recognize, especially during highly interactive activities such as requirements elicitation interviews. Moreover, since different persons can perceive ambiguous situations differently, the unique perspective of the analyst in the interview might not be enough to identify all ambiguities. [Principal idea/results] To maximize the number of ambiguities recognized in interviews, this paper proposes a protocol to conduct reviews of requirements elicitation interviews. In the proposed protocol, the interviews are audio recorded and the recordings are inspected by both the analyst who performed the interview and another reviewer. The idea is to use the identified cases of ambiguity to create questions for the follow-up interviews. Our empirical evaluation of this protocol involves 42 students from Kennesaw State University and University of Technology Sydney. The study shows that, during the review, the analyst and the other reviewer identify 68% of the total number of ambiguities discovered, while 32% were identified during the interviews. Furthermore, the ambiguities identified by analysts and other reviewers during the review significantly differ from each other. [Contribution] Our results indicate that interview reviews allow the identification of a considerable number of undetected ambiguities, and can potentially be highly beneficial to discover unexpressed information in future interviews.