Screening Exam Questions 2007


You are hired to develop the database system for the LA Opera. There are two components to your system: one part needs to keep track of current subscriptions (operas, season, subscribers, changes in schedule, ticket price, seats sold, etc); the other needs to provide data on past subscriber and ticket sales with regard to season tickets. Describe how the two parts really require different types of database. Explain which development strategy you would use for each and why.



  1. When asked what is sliding window, a person answers as follows: “supposing a fixed window size of m packets, a sender may send out packets before receiving any acknowledgement. If acknowledgement arrives from the receiver for packet n, then the range (window) of unacknowledged packets slides to , and the sender is able to send out packet (n + m). In some way, "sliding" signifies a FIFO operation, trimming the range at one end, extending it at the other end.”
  1. Explain in lay man terms what all the above means?
  2. If we assume that the round trip time is RTT, what is the time required to transfer and acknowledge K packets? Show your work.



  1. Compare and contrast the two major schools of thought with regards to Quality-of-Service (QOS) on the Internet.



  1. Explain what is a digital certificate? When one obtains such a certificate, explain how path validation is done and what does such a validation achieve? When and how is a certificate revoked?


Hansen and Rennecker (2006) assert that collective meaning-making is crucial in systems development.  They developed a model of this from observational analysis of five team meetings from one software development project.


Although it may be true that “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” (Stein, 1913), the same is not true of software development projects.  How might the model Hansen and Rennecker obtained have been determined by the particular project they studied?  How could one make use of known variations in software development to extend/correct their model?



Hansen, S., and Rennecker, J., 2006, “Collective hermeneutics in a systems development process,” Sprouts, 6(3), 144-165.
Stein, G., 1913, a line from “Sacred Emily”, in Stein, G., 1922, Geography and Plays.



This question has several sections, all of which refer to the research presented in the Hansen and Rennecker (2006) paper, which was sent to you some weeks ago.


  1. How, if at all, could the questions addressed in this research be investigated from
    1. A positivist perspective?
    2. A relativist perspective?
    3. A realist perspective?
  2. What role(s) does hermeneutics have in this research?
  3. Considering the Benbasat and Zmud (2003) article on the IS discipline’s core properties, to what extent is this IS research?



Hansen, S., and Rennecker, J., 2006, “Collective hermeneutics in a systems development process,” Sprouts, 6(3), 144-165.
Benbasat, I., and Zmud, R.W., 2003, “The identity crisis within the IS discipline: Defining and communicating the discipline’s core properties,” MIS Quarterly, 27(2), 183-194.



A recent article by Smith & McKeen in MISQE (2006) reported on findings from focus groups with CIO’s concerning the future of IS.  These leaders noted that they believe the strategic value of IS to organizations is changing from one of assisting in business transformation to one of assisting in delivering business intelligence.   From your readings and discussions of IS, please a) discuss the evidence that IS has contributed (or not) to business transformation, including the IS management processes that have been put into place (or recommended) to help structure this transformation, and b) your view about the challenges in designing information systems that deliver  ‘just-in-time’ information about organizational performance to managers.




Smith, H. & McKeen, J.  "IT in 2010: The Next Frontier" MISQ Executive, Vol. 5.No. 3. 2006, pp 125-136.



Explain how a strategy and policy course integrates with other core courses in IS & T. Should a strategy and policy course be a core element of a Master's program in IS & T? Explain your answer.