Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Allen, Edward B.

Committee Member

Dampier, David A.

Committee Member

Niu, Nan

Committee Member

O’Hara, Charles

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Computer Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Computer Science and Engineering


Software intensive systems are developed to provide solutions in some problem domain and software engineering principles are employed to develop and implement that system. Software engineering principles should enhance the development and production of software artifacts and yet the artifacts often lack in quality. Crucial in the development process are requirements engineering activities and methods for software documentation. This research focused on requirements engineering activities, software requirements documentation and employed a new approach in these activities that incorporated ontology engineering principles. Ontology engineering refers to the set of activities concerned with the ontology development process, the ontology life cycle, the methods for building ontologies, and the tool suites and languages that support them. Ontologies facilitate domain knowledge reuse and sharing and provides a common vocabulary to system developers. The motivation of this research came from Ambr´osio and Kaiya, advocating the definition of the Software Requirements Knowledge Area of the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK ) within an ontology system. The resulting system utilized the benefits of intelligent reasoning to elicit, automatically verify, extract and document software requirements. The requirements engineering process was modeled in an ontology. An ontology is a machine-readable data structure that distinctly defines concepts and describes relationships among those concepts. The requirements engineering process and ontology were the focal points in this research. A baseline ontology for software requirements engineering was created. The following are contributions of this research. A methodology was designed to enhance the software documentation production process. An initial ontology model of SWEBOK recommended data items was created. A method was provided to verify software requirements as they were elicited, entered and maintained in an ontology. A method was created that electronically provided provenance of software requirements. Software was created to automatically extract the software requirements from within an ontology.



SWEBOK||systematic review||software engineering||requirements verification||requirements specification||requirements engineering||ontology engineering||ontology