The development of the GIST (Grounding Information Systems) methodology : determining situated requirements in information systems analysis
This thesis develops a methodology for situated requirements determination in information systems analysis. The thesis challenges convention and adds to the body of knowledge in this area since the methods of the methodology are more usually associated with the social sciences. The role of the systems analyst and the nature of information systems as a distinct discipline form a major part of the thesis and the scope of this investigation includes an exposition of information systems methodologies in general and 'soft' methodologies in particular. A major element of the thesis is the empirical work carried out in which the researcher has undertaken two 'live' systems analysis studies using the methodology which has been developed in action supported by computer software for qualitative data analysis The results from the study are presented in terms of learning and are analysed to help answer the questions relating to the appropriateness of the methodology and the usefulness of the methodology for practising systems analysts. The research methodology used is action case and the appropriateness of this is examined in depth since studies of this type raise a number of questions relating to the validity of this type of research and the role of the researcher. The thesis draws together the different problems and questions that arise in order to produce a coherent, consistent and academically worthy account based upon the literature and empirical findings. In short the thesis addresses the basic issue that motivated its production, namely, how systems analysts faced with organisational complexity really find out what is going on. The outcomes of the research argue for a new role for the systems analyst as postmodern 'bricoleue and tentatively propose the usefulness of social science methods in information systems practice.