Applying checkland's FMA approach to a software engineering problem using action research

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Computer and Information Science




McDermid, D.C. (2001). Applying Checkland's FMA approach to a software engineering problem using action research. In: Hutchinson, W., & Warren, M. (Eds.). Systems in management 7th annual ANZSYS conference 2001: the relevance of systems thinking in the contemporary world. Churchlands, Australia: Edith Cowan University.


The purpose of this paper is to show how Checkland’s FMA approach was applied to an action research project conducted into a software engineering problem of designing new diagrams. Checkland's FMA approach involves explicitly declaring at the outset of an action research, a framework of ideas (F), the methodology to be used (M) and an area of application (A) as a means of learning about the research process in order to improve rigour. The paper describes how the FMA approach was applied to designing new diagrams and outlines how in particular the framework of ideas (F) was used to guide and direct the outcomes. The results indicate that the framework of ideas (F) is likely to be modified by the experiences of the research and may be considered a set of starting assumptions only.