SaPeer and ReverseSaPeer: teaching requirements elicitation interviews with role-playing and role reversal


Software Engineering and Game Development

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© 2020, Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature. Among the variety of the available requirements elicitation techniques, interviews are the most commonly used. Performing effective interviews is challenging, especially for students and novice analysts, since interviews’ success depends largely on soft skills and experience. Despite their diffusion and their challenging nature, when it comes to requirements engineering education and training (REET), limited resources and few well-founded pedagogical approaches are available to allow students to acquire and improve their skills as interviewers. To overcome this limitation, this paper presents two pedagogical approaches, namely SaPeer and ReverseSaPeer. SaPeer uses role-playing, peer review and self-assessment to enable students to experience first-hand the difficulties related to the interviewing process, reflect on their mistakes, and improve their interview skills by practice and analysis. ReverseSaPeer builds on the first approach and includes a role reversal activity in which participants play the role of a customer interviewed by a competent interviewer. We evaluate the effectiveness of SaPeer through a controlled quasi-experiment, which shows that the proposed approach significantly reduces the amount of mistakes made by the participants and that it is perceived as useful and easy by the participants. ReverseSaPeer and the impact of role reversal are analyzed through a thematic analysis of the participant’s reflections. The analysis shows that not only the students perceive the analysis as beneficial, but also that they have emotional involvement in learning. This work contributes to the body of knowledge of REET with two methods, quantitative and qualitative evaluated, respectively. Furthermore, we share the pedagogical material used, to enable other educators to apply and possibly tailor the approach.

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Requirements Engineering

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