CCE Theses and Dissertations

Fighter Pilot Ground-Based Information Acquisition: A Conceptual Model for Information Systems Design

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)


Center for Computer and Information Sciences


John A. Scigliano

Committee Member

Jacques Levin

Committee Member

George K. Fornshell


The primary purpose of this dissertation was to develop a conceptual model for information systems design based on a qualitative analysis of the fighter pilot's environment. The model was derived from the fighter pilot's conceptions and perceptions of his informational environment. The resultant model and the corresponding environmental specification can serve as the conceptual cornerstones for further development by providing the designers a common conceptual focal point for further information system design. The model used for overall information systems design was the Rolland & Cauvet development model. This model identifies two independent development domains: requirements engineering and design engineering.

This dissertation represents the requirements engineering work. The approach selected in developing the requirements engineering aspect was Checkland's Soft Systems approach. Checkland's approach was suited to this project due to its model building orientation and its ability to handle the complexity and flexibility dictated by real-world human activity.

The cognitive model, recommendations, hypotheses, and conclusions serve as an important step toward development of the fighter pilot's ground-based information system. There had been very little research, however, that addressed the cognitive structure and processes pilots use to develop memory frames necessary for airborne situational awareness. The goal of this project was to develop the first stage of a process leading to an inquiry system that will be used to augment the pilot's inquiry and conceptual structure building to capture the inherent complexity of this multidimensional environment, the researcher observed fighter pilots in their natural environment utilizing the multiple-site case study methodology supplemented by other qualitative data sources. The researcher utilized these data to develop the conceptual model. In addition, findings were derived, recommendations were generated and hypotheses were extracted using the Checkland model as a guide. The Glaser and Struass Constant Comparative Method was used for data analysis. The researcher identified the information environment as having two distinctly different components: structure and process. Seven versions of the model were presented in this iterative development effort. The dissertation is concluded with a series of recommendations, implications and conclusions that serve as the link between the conceptual model and the future work on the information system that will be completed by design engineers.

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