Using simulation-based experiments for software requirements engineering

F. Javier Lerch, Deborah J. Ballou, Donald E. Harter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We describe the use of simulation-based experiments to assess the computer support needs of automation supervisors in the United States Postal Service (USPS). Because of the high cost of the proposed system, the inability of supervisors to articulate their computer support needs, and the infeasibility of direct experimentation in the actual work environment, we used a simulation to study end-user decision making, and to experiment with alternative computer support capabilities. In Phase One we investigated differences between expert and novice information search and decision strategies in the existing work environment. In Phase Two, we tested the impact of computer support features on performance. The empirical results of the two experiments showed how to differentially support experts and novices, and the effectiveness of proposed information systems before they were built. The paper concludes by examining the implications of the project for the software requirements engineering community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-366
Number of pages22
JournalAnnals of Software Engineering
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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