A case study exploring Known and Unknown Requirements in Healthcare

Alistair Sutcliffe, Peter Sawyer, Gemma Stringer, Samuel Couth, Laura Brown, Ann Gledson, Christopher Bull, Paul Rayson, John Keane, Xiaojun Zeng, Iracema Leroi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report experience in requirements elicitation of domain knowledge from experts in clinical and cognitive neurosciences.
The elicitation target was a causal model for early signs of dementia indicated by changes in user behaviour and errors apparent
in logs of computer activity. A Delphi-style process consisting of workshops with experts followed by a questionnaire was
adopted. The paper describes how the elicitation process had to be adapted to deal with problems encountered in terminology
and limited consensus among the experts. In spite of the difficulties encountered, a partial causal model of user behavioural
pathologies and errors was elicited. This informed requirements for configuring data- and text-mining tools to search for
the specific data patterns. Lessons learned for elicitation from experts are presented, and the implications for requirements
are discussed as “unknown unknowns”, as well as configuration requirements for directing data-/text-mining tools towards
refining awareness requirements in healthcare applications.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalRequirements Engineering
Early online date30 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Causal models
  • Data mining
  • Domain knowledge
  • Experts
  • Medical informatics
  • Requirements elicitation

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


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