Ahmad, Nauman (2021) Effects of Electronic Communication on the Elicitation of Tacit Knowledge in Interview Techniques for Small Software Developments. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Interviewing is an essential practice for the elicitation of requirements, and a significant phase of the system development life cycle that is used for in-depth discussions. However, professionals face difficulties in extracting tacit (hidden) knowledge from interviewees, which disturbs the practice of interviewing, and later, affects the success of software in terms of additional cost, delays, failure or cancellation. In this study, a new approach is introduced using four different modes of electronic communication tools, including ‘Audio Podcast’, ‘E-mail’, ‘Online Chat Session’ and ‘Hybrid’ (a combination of ‘Audio Podcast’ + ‘E-mail’ + ‘Online Chat Session’) to discuss the details of interview agenda with interviewees, before conducting semi-structured interviews for the requirements elicitation phase of software development. This research has used a concurrent triangulation design for mixed methods and compared the effects of the four electronic communication tools on the interview process, in relation to tacit knowledge elicitation. The total number of subjects was 120, divided into four equal groups of 30 subjects for ‘Audio Podcast’, ‘E-mail’, ‘Online Chat Session’ and ‘Hybrid’. Two hypotheses were tested through quantitative data collection, to evaluate the effects, and differences in effectiveness among these four electronic tools towards six famous key areas including ‘Friendly’, ‘Comfortable’, ‘Essential’, ‘Understanding’, ‘Learning’, and ‘Tacit Knowledge Elicitation’, respectively. Grounded theory was used to address the research question through the elicitation of qualitative data, gathered by semi-structured interviews, and the outcomes are visualized through a ‘Spider Chart’ (a diagrammatic way of presenting multivariate data) towards four key areas of requirements (‘General’, ‘Functionality’, ‘Usability’, and ‘Content’) for the construction of a website. Prompting was calculated during the interviews, and its percentage is presented through ‘Comparison Chart’. There were four steps for each group, concerning this study including (1) Participants’ feedback through survey questionnaires before e-tool usage. (2) Use of an e-tool for detailed discussions of interview agenda. (3) Attending the interview (4) Post interview feedback through survey questionnaires after e-tool usage. Analysis has revealed that this research has produced state-of-the-art results. These four electronic communication tools have acted as moderating variables, and affected the process of interviewing positively, towards the elicitation of tacit knowledge, accompanied by a clear difference in the effectiveness of each electronic communication tool. This method can increase the success rate of upcoming software developments.

FINAL THESIS - Ahmad, Nauman.pdf - Accepted Version
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