Requirements elicitation is the first activity in the requirements engineering process. It includes learning, surfacing and discovering the requirements of the stakeholders of the developed system. The elicitation process involves actors of different roles, backgrounds and domain knowledge. Therefore, it is a communication-intensive process. Overcoming communication barriers between analysts and stakeholders, partly caused by a gap in their domain knowledge, is essential. Various elicitation techniques exist for helping analysts extract the requirements from the different stakeholders. During the elicitation process, the analysts are not limited to one specific technique and can use different techniques according to the situation, time and resources available.

Analysts may have domain knowledge prior to the elicitation process. This prior knowledge may have an impact on the elicitation process, affecting the analysts’ decisions and conduct within it. This paper reports an exploratory study in which the perceived and actual effects of prior domain knowledge on the requirements elicitation process were examined. The results indicate that domain knowledge clearly affects the elicitation process and the way the analysts conduct the elicitation. The findings provide insights as to both positive and negative effects of domain knowledge on requirements elicitation, as perceived by participants with and without domain knowledge. Furthermore, these insights can be utilized in practice for supporting analysts in the elicitation process and for forming requirements analysis teams. They highlight the different contributions that can be provided by analysts with different levels of domain knowledge in requirements analysis teams and the synergy that can be gained by forming heterogeneous teams of analysts with and without domain knowledge.