Screening Exam Questions 2006


Textbooks on database design describe the design process as being oriented either to the support of transaction processing applications or the support of data reporting applications (e.g., a data mart).

What are the key aspects of a design to support transaction processing?

What are the key aspects of a design to support data reporting?

In what ways, if at all, would a database designed to support:

  • data reporting be less effective in supporting transaction processing applications than one designed for transaction processing?
  • transaction processing be less effective in supporting data reporting applications than one designed for data reporting?

How should one design a database that will be required to support a mix of transaction processing and data reporting?


The information systems and technology discipline welcomes, to varying degrees, a number of approaches to science. Two of these are action research and design research. Both of these approaches find some adherents in our field, although neither approach is as widely accepted as traditional research, in either its quantitative or qualitative forms.

  • What are the arguments in favor of each of them as appropriate ways to do IS&T research?
  • What are the arguments against each of them?
  • What is the relationship between them?
  • How should these forms of research be evaluated?

How do these approaches fit into the relatively long-standing debate in our field about relevance versus rigor?


  1. This question has three parts; answer all of them.

    This question has three sub-parts:

    - Explain what is meant by the 8-PSK modulation technique?
    - How is it different from the 8-QAM technique?
    - Which one gives us a faster bit-rate and why?
  2. This question has two sub-parts:

    - Discuss the signaling, digitization, network transmission and quality-of-service issues for Voice over IP.
    - Why is VoIP considered less secure than others and potentially a technology that can be used by terrorists?
  3. Quad play is a term that has come to be used in the telecommunications industry to describe a blend of voice, video, and data together with mobile services. It offers a range of services in a seamless environment that encourages subscribers to stay with a single service provider. How can telecom providers leverage this service and what potential challenges will they have to overcome?


Several basic frameworks for (or approaches to) modern software development can be identified. These are sometimes depicted as occupying points along a software development method continuum, with waterfall methods at one end, agile methods, such as XP or lean development, at the other end, and iterative-incremental methods, such as the Rational Unified Process (RUP), somewhere in between.

In conceptual terms, what is the fundamental nature of the continuum that orders them, as listed above. In other words, what is the concept on which waterfall methods and agile methods are completely opposite and the RUP is different from either?

In practical terms, what are the main differences between:
how the RUP works and how traditional waterfall methods work?
how XP works and how the RUP works?

What conditions might make one prefer each of the three approaches?


Assume you are advising a CIO of a SME (an organization with fewer than 1,000 employees) about his/her IS/IT strategy. What are the key points you would stress in terms of leadership and governance, decision-making structure, and investment approach? Justify your reasons for each point.


Three important phenomena are impacting the process of managing an IS “shop”: web services, open source software, and outsourcing. Identify some models and/or methods for managing IS policy and strategy, and explain how a CIO of a large organization could use them to analyze each of these phenomena. Note that different models and methods could be applied to analyze different phenomena.