In order to collect information so as to study existing system and to determine information requirement, there are different strategies, which could be used for a purpose. These strategies are discussed below.
The interview is a face-to face method used for collecting the required data. In this method, a person (the interviewer) asks questions from the other person being interviewed may be formal or informal and the questions asked may be structured or unstructured. The interviewer must plan the interview and should have clear understanding of issues.
A questionnaire is a term used for almost used for almost any tool that has questions to which individuals respond. The use of questionnaires allows analysts to collect information about various aspects of a system from a large number of persons. The questionnaire may contain structured or unstructured questions. The use of a standardized questionnaire gives more reliable data than other fact finding techniques.
Record review is also known as review of documentation. Its main purpose is to establish quantitative information regarding volumes, frequencies, trends, ratios, etc. In record review, analysts examine information that has been recorded about the system and its users. Procedures, manuals and forms are useful sources for the analyst to study the existing systems. The main limitation of this approach is that the documentation on the existing system may not be complete and up-to-date.
Another information-gathering tool used in system studies is observation. It is the process of recognizing and noticing people, objects and occurrences to obtain information. Observation allows analysts to get information, which is difficult to obtain by any other fact-finding method. This approach is most useful when analysts need to observe the way documents are handled, processes are carried out and whether the specified steps are actually followed. This technique is time consuming and costly. Electronic observation and monitoring methods are being used these days because of their speed and efficiency.