Fact-finding – the formal process of using research, meetings, interviews, questionnaires, sampling, and other techniques to collect information about system problems, requirements, and preferences. It is also called information gathering or data collection.
People may perform differently when being observed
Work observed may not be representative of normal conditions
Timing can be inconvenient
Some tasks not always performed the same way
May observe wrong way of doing things
Determine the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the observation.
Obtain permission from appropriate supervisors.
Inform those who will be observed of the purpose of the observation.
Keep a low profile.
Review observation notes with appropriate individuals.
Don't interrupt the individuals at work.
Don't focus heavily on trivial activities.
Don't make assumptions.
Questionnaire – a special-purpose document that allows the analyst to collect information and opinions from respondents.
Free-format questionnaire – a questionnaire designed to offer the respondent greater latitude in the answer. A question is asked, and the respondent records the answer in the space provided after the question.
Fixed-format questionnaire – a questionnaire containing questions that require selecting an answer from predefined available responses.
Often can be answered quickly
People can complete at their convenience
Relatively inexpensive way to gather data from a large number
Allow for anonymity
Responses can be tabulated quickly
Return rate is often low
No guarantee that an individual will answer all questions
No opportunity to reword or explain misunderstood questions
Rank the following transactions according to the amount of time you spend processing them. ___ % new customer orders ___ % order cancellations
___ % order modifications
___ % payments
The implementation of quality discounts would cause an increase in customer orders. ___ Strongly agree ___ Agree
___ No opinion
___ Disagree ___ Strongly disagree
Is the current accounts receivable report that you receive useful? ___ Yes ___ No
Developing a Questionnaire
Determine what facts and opinions must be collected and from whom you should get them.
Based on the facts and opinions sought, determine whether free- or fixed-format questions will produce the best answers.
Write the questions.
Test the questions on a small sample of respondents.
Duplicate and distribute the questionnaire.
Interview - a fact-finding technique whereby the systems analysts collect information from individuals through face-to-face interaction.
Get the end-user involved
Solicit ideas and opinions
The personal interview is generally recognized as the most important and most often used fact-finding technique.
Types of Interviews and Questions
Unstructured interview –conducted with only a general goal or subject in mind and with few, if any, specific questions. The interviewer counts on the interviewee to provide a framework and direct the conversation.
Structured interview –interviewer has a specific set of questions to ask of the interviewee.
Open-ended question – question that allows the interviewee to respond in any way.
Closed-ended question – a question that restricts answers to either specific choices or short, direct responses.
Give analyst opportunity to motivate interviewee to respond freely and openly
Allow analyst to probe for more feedback
Permit analyst to adapt or reword questions for each individual