Data and fact gathering techniques- Interviews, Group communication, Presentations, Site visits

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Fact Finding techniques 

For an Analyst Data and fact gathering is important step, on which he/she can develop better understanding of existing system and its problems, based on this analyst can understand the requirements of new system.

There are various techniques to gather data and facts of system. some of them re as follows :

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  1. Record view and Background reading
  2. Interviews 
  3. Questionnaires
  4. Group communication
  5. Presentation
  6. Site visiting
  7. Observation
  • Record view and Background reading : Information related to system and organization is already available in some type documents and records(like system user manual , system review/audit, brochures etc. ) or is published in the sources like newspapers, magazines, journals etc. Study of already available document is the fastest and independant way of gathering fact and information based on which analyst can prepare questions for further gathering exercise.
  • Interviews : This method is used to collect the information from groups or individuals. Analyst selects the people who are related with the system for the interview. In this method the analyst sits face to face with the people and records their responses by which analyst learn about the existing system, its problem and expectation with the system. The interviewer must plan in advance the type of questions he/ she is going to ask and should be ready to answer any type of question. 
    The information collected is quite accurate and reliable as the interviewer can clear and cross check the doubts there itself. This method also helps gap the areas of misunderstandings and help to discuss about the future problems. 
  • Questionnaires : This method seeks information from the person in written and prescribed format. This is a quickest way for gathering information if respondents are scattered geographically or there is no time for the interviews. Questions can be : structured or unstructured. structured question where the answers are in the form of YES/NO , multiple choice option selection , ratings, fill int hte blanks. unstructured questions where person is asked for his opinion and he/she can answer it freely.
  • Group Communication : This method is often used when there no time for personal interview and information is required from face to face sessions. As there are many person present many type of ideas can be heard. Scheduling such sessions is a skillful matter because it has many problems such as : discussion may be dominated by one person others may shy to respond, presence of seniors in the group may not allow others to present their views freely,  discussion may lead to verbal fight etc.
  • Presentation : Sometime presentation can also be conducted by analyst for presenting his understanding for the system and problems with it.  Such presentation may include showing slide , interacting with people and talking to them regarding system, asking questions, answering questions etc. Presentations are useful when users are passive or too busy to actively explain things. 
  • Site Visiting : it is the process of examining the problems which had previously solved by other sources that can be either human or documents. To solve the requirements of problem, the analyst visits to other organization that had previously experienced for similar problems. In addition, the analyst can also find the information from database, reference books, case studies and Internet
  • Observation : Another fact finding technique is observation. In this technique, system analyst participates in the organization, studies the flow of documents, applies the existing system, and interacts with the users. Observation can be a useful technique when the system analyst have user point of view. Sampling technique called work sampling is useful for observation. By using this technique, system analyst can know how employees spend their days.


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