Professor and Chair - School of Interactive Computing

Georgia Institute of Technology

Technology Square Research Bldg

85, 5th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30308

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:


• The extension of current goal-based methods with the provision of strategies for the initial identification and construction of goals.


• Provision of a set of guidelines and recurring question types which suggest goal identification and refinement strategies and techniques.


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).


Title Page pp. i-ii

Dedication pp. iii-iv

Acknowledgements pp. v-viii

Table of Contents pp. ix-xii

List of Tables pp. xiii-xv

List of Figures pp. xvi-xviii

Glossary pp. ixx-xxii

Summary pp. xxiii

Chapter 1: Introduction pp. 1-12

Chapter 2: Survey of Related Work pp. 13-34

Chapter 3: Case Studies pp. 35-66

Chapter 4: The Goal-Based Requirements Analysis Method pp. 67-134

Chapter 5: Heuristics and Guidelines pp. 135-184

Chapter 6: Validation pp. 185-226

Chapter 7: Conclusions pp. 227-238

Appendix A: Vacation/Sick Leave Problem Description pp. 239-240

Appendix B: Vacation/Sick Leave Problem Description pp. 241-242

Appendix C: Summary of GBRAM Heuristics pp. 243-252

Bibliography pp. 253-260

Vita pp. 261z


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Last Updated: April 2016