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A methodology supporting syntactic, lexical and semantic clarification of requirements in systems engineering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-190
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Product Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Product development is a challenging activity. The process begins with a description and representation of a design problem in form of a requirements document. It involves two phases: elicitation by description in Natural Language (NL) and clarification of the description. NL implies interpretation of terms within a context to avoid later misunderstanding. The paper proposes a methodology to elicit and refine the initial needs. The elicitation is done by finding support information from several sources such as patent databases, encyclopaedias and commercial websites. The refinement supported by a computer-based approach is done on different levels (grammar, words and context selection) to reduce the ambiguity of the requirements descriptions. The initial description is refined by an automatic questioning process. This is followed by an assisted search and selection of answers from different web-based sources. Relevant answers are selected using a similarity metric. A case study is used to demonstrate the approach.


  • Data mining, Early design process, Lexical and semantic clarification, Natural language processing, Product development, Requirements engineering, Syntactic

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