Requirement boilerplates: transition from manually-enforced to automatically-verifiable natural language patterns

Chetan Arora, Mehrdad Sabetzadeh, Lionel C. Briand, Frank Zimmer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


By enforcing predefined linguistic patterns on requirements statements, boilerplates serve as an effective tool for mitigating ambiguities and making Natural Language requirements more amenable to automation. For a boilerplate to be effective, one needs to check whether the boilerplate has been properly applied. This should preferably be done automatically, as manual checking of conformance to a boilerplate can be laborious and error prone. In this paper, we present insights into building an automatic solution for checking conformance to requirement boilerplates using Natural Language Processing (NLP). We present a generalizable method for casting requirement boilerplates into automated NLP pattern matchers and reflect on our practical experience implementing automated checkers for two well-known boilerplates in the RE community. We further highlight the use of NLP for identification of several problematic syntactic constructs in requirements which can lead to ambiguities.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2014 IEEE 4th International Workshop on Requirements Patterns, RePa 2014 - Proceedings
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781479963287
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventIEEE International Workshop on Requirements Patterns 2014 - Karlskrona, Sweden
Duration: 26 Aug 201426 Aug 2014
Conference number: 4th (Proceedings)


WorkshopIEEE International Workshop on Requirements Patterns 2014
Abbreviated titleRePa 2014
Internet address


  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  • NLP Pattern Matching
  • Requirement Boilerplates
  • Text Chunking

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