BACKHOUSE, Jim (1991)

The Use of Semantic Analysis in the Development of Information Systems

A central task of the information systems analyst is to prescribe the relationship between the signs manipulated in the formal system and what goes on in the business. This thesis examines the suitability of NORMA C a specification language which embodies a theory of meaning based upon a subjectivist approach C in the analysis and design of information systems, compared with existing tools. In this approach the issue of meaning is handled by the assumption that the symbols processed within any system have to be translated into actions by responsible agents, if they are to have any meaning. The work examines how the theory of meaning behind NORMA supports the task of information requirements analysis and investigates its use for specification in three different case studies. These results are taken, together with a critical review of efforts by other analysts at applying NORMA, and used to make semantic analysis more accessible for those unfamiliar with the approach. Pinpointing what has caused unsound analysis in previous attempts, the work develops principles for the process of performing semantic analysis and a outlines a method for conducting it. [F6727]