Title: Domain-specific reasoning for method engineering based on Toulmin's argumentation theory

Authors: Sebastian Bittmann; Balbir Barn; Tony Clark

Addresses: Information Management and Information Systems, University Osnabrueck, Katharinenstrasse 3, Osnabrueck 49074, Germany ' School of Science and Technology, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, Hendon, London NW4 4BT, UK ' School of Science and Technology, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, Hendon, London NW4 4BT, UK

Abstract: Methods that address enterprise-wide representation and analysis must support the full range of stakeholder requirements from business strategy through to IT infrastructure. Often such methods present a formalism, such as process models, that are unrelated to the natural language used for justification, analysis and communication of designs. The problem to be solved is to provide a structured basis for closing this gap. This paper proposes an argumentative method engineering approach, derived from Toulmin's argumentation model, for expressing design decisions, their associated convictions, and stakeholder negotiation. In addition to representing the support for design decisions, the approach justifies these claims by referring to already established knowledge. The argumentative approach enables the sophisticated management and reuse of knowledge during the development and extension of methods. The approach is evaluated using a case study, in which a software development method was outsourced to contractors.

Keywords: method engineering; conceptual modelling; argumentation theory; discourse; Toulmin; domain-specific reasoning; design decisions; stakeholder negotiation; knowledge management; knowledge reuse; case study; software development; outsourcing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJKL.2014.067173

International Journal of Knowledge and Learning, 2014 Vol.9 No.1/2, pp.104 - 123

Received: 18 May 2013
Accepted: 16 Jun 2014

Published online: 31 Jan 2015 *

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