Title: Evaluating the characteristics of a non-standardised Model Requirements Analysis (MRA) for the development of policy impact assessment tools
Authors: SIEBER StefanAMJATH-BABU T. S.MCINTOSH B. S.TSCHERNING KarenMÜLLER KlausHELMING KatharinaPOHLE D.FRICKE KatharinaVERWEIJ P.PACINI CesareGOMEZ Y PALOMA SergioJANSSON Torbjorn
Citation: ENVIRONMENTAL MODELLING & SOFTWARE vol. 49 p. 53-63
Publisher: ELSEVIER SCI LTD
Publication Year: 2013
JRC N°: JRC84912
ISSN: 1364-8152
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364815213001667
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC84912
DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2013.07.007
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of a nonstandardised Model Requirements Analysis (MRA) used for the purpose of developing the Sustainability Impact Assessment Tool (SIAT). By ‘non-standardised’ we mean not strictly following a published MRA method. The underlying question we are interested in addressing is how non-standardised methods, often employed in research driven projects, compare to defined methods with more standardised structure, with regards their ability to capture model requirements effectively, and with regards their overall usability. Through describing and critically assessing the specific features of the nonstandardised MRA employed, the ambition of this paper is to provide insights useful for impact assessment tool (IAT) development. Specifically, the paper will (i) characterise kinds of user requirements relevant to the functionality and design of IATs; (ii) highlight the strengths and weaknesses of nonstandardised MRA for user requirements capture, analysis and reflection in the context of IAT; (iii) critically reflect on the process and outcomes of having used a non-standardised MRA in comparison with other more standardised approaches. To accomplish these aims, we first review methods available for IAT development before describing the SIAT development process, including the MRA employed. Major strengths and weaknesses of the MRA method are then discussed in terms of user identification and characterisation, organisational characterisation and embedding, and ability to capture design options for ensuring usability and usefulness. A detailed assessment on the structural differences of MRA with two advanced approaches (Integrated DSS design and goal directed design) and their role in performance of the MRA tool is used to critique the approach employed. The results show that MRA is able to bring thematic integration, establish system performance and technical thresholds as well as detailing quality and transparency guidelines. Nevertheless the discussion points out to a number of deficiencies in application - (i) a need to more effectively characterise potential users, and; (ii) a need to better foster communication among the distinguished roles in the development process. If addressed these deficiencies, SIAT non-standardised MRA could have brought out better outcomes in terms of tool usability and usefulness, and improved embedding of the tool into conditions of targeted end-users.
JRC Directorate:Growth and Innovation

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