An exploratory study of information retrieval techniques in domain analysis
Domain analysis involves not only looking at standard requirements documents (e.g., use case specifications) but also at customer information packs, market analyses, etc. Looking across all these documents and deriving, in a practical and scalable way, a feature model that is comprised of coherent abstractions is a fundamental and non-trivial challenge. We conduct an exploratory study to investigate the suitability of Information Retrieval (IR) techniques for scalable identification of commonalities and variabilities in requirement specifications for software product lines. Accordingly, based on observations derived from industrial experience and on state-of-the-art research and practice, we also propose an initial framework, leveraging IR to systematically abstract requirements from existing specifications of a given domain into a feature model. We evaluate this framework, present a roadmap for its further extension, and formulate hypotheses to guide future work in exploring IR techniques for domain analysis.