Using and evaluating CASE tools : from software engineering to phenomenology
King, Stephen F. (1995) Using and evaluating CASE tools : from software engineering to phenomenology. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1403794~S1
CASE (Computer-Aided Systems Engineering) is a recent addition to the long line of
"silver bullets" that promise to transform information systems development, delivering
new levels of quality and productivity. CASE is particularly intriguing because
information systems (IS) practitioners spend their working lives applying information
technology (IT) to other people's work, and now they are applying it to themselves.
CASE research to date has been dominated by accounts of tool development,
normative writings (for example practitioner success stories) and surveys recording
IT specialists' perceptions. There have been very few in-depth studies of tool use,
and very few attempts to quantify benefits, therefore the essence of the CASE process
remains largely unexplored, and the views of stakeholders other than the IT specialists
have yet to be heard.
The research presented here addresses these concerns by adopting a hybrid research
approach combining action research, grounded theory and phenoinenology and using
both qualitative and quantitative data in order to tell the story of a system developer's
experience in using CASE tools in three information systems projects for a major UK
car manufacturer over a four year period. The author was the lead developer on all
three projects. Action research is a learning process, the researcher is an explorer.
At the start of this project it was assumed that the tools would be the focus of the
work. As the research progressed it became evident that the tools were but part of
a richer organisational context in which culture, politics, history, external initiatives
and cognitive limitations played important roles. The author continued to record
experiences and impressions of tool use in the project diary together with quality and
productivity metrics. But the diary also became home to a story of organisational
developments that had not originally been foreseen.
The principal contribution made by the work is to identity the narrow positivistic
nature of CASE knowledge, and to show via the research stories the overwhelming
importance of organisational context to systems development success and how the
exploration of context is poorly supported by the tools. Sixteen further contributions
are listed in the Conclusions to the thesis, including a major extension to Wynekoop
and Conger's CASE research taxonomy, an identification of the potentially
misleading nature of quantitative IS assessment and further evidence of the limitations
of the "scientific" approach to systems development.
The thesis is completed by two proposals for further work. The first seeks to
advance IS theory by developing further a number of emerging process models of IS
development. The second seeks to advance IS practice by asking the question "How
can CASE tools be used to stimulate awareness and debate about the effects of
organisational context?", and outlines a programme of research in this area.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Computer-aided engineering, Information storage and retrieval systems, Automobile industry and trade -- Great Britain -- Case studies|
|Official Date:||January 1995|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||School of Industrial and Business Studies|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Galliers, Robert, 1947-|
|Extent:||xvi, 421 leaves|
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