What is Elicitation in Testing? A Comprehensive Guide.


When it comes to cybersecurity, it only takes one small vulnerability to leave a system open to a devastating cyber attack. That’s where elicitations come in- a critical aspect of penetration testing that is often overlooked. I’ve spent years studying and using elicitation techniques to identify weaknesses in systems and ensure that they are fortified against potential threats. In this comprehensive guide, I will be sharing everything you need to know about elicitation and how it can be utilized in penetration testing. So, buckle up and get ready to dive deep into the world of cybersecurity with me.

What is elicitation in testing?

In software testing, elicitation is the process of gathering information from stakeholders about a system or application being designed or developed. Elicitation in testing is not about asking students to recall specific facts; rather, it is about asking the right questions to acquire the information needed to ensure that the software is functioning as intended. Elicitation is a critical process in software testing, as it helps ensure that risks are identified and requirements are properly gathered.

Here are some key strategies employed in elicitation in testing:

  • Interviews with stakeholders: Interviewing stakeholders like project managers, business analysts, and end-users can help gather information about the software’s requirements and functionality.
  • Observation: Observing how end-users currently interact with existing systems or processes can provide insight into potential areas for improvement in the new software system.
  • Prototyping: Creating a prototype of the software application can help stakeholders visualize its functionality and provide feedback on needed improvements.
  • Facilitated workshops: Bringing together stakeholders in facilitated workshops can help clarify requirements and facilitate communication between various parties involved in the software development process.
  • Ultimately, the goal of elicitation in testing is to ensure that software is designed and developed in a way that meets the needs of its end-users and stakeholders. By employing these strategies, software testing professionals can gather the necessary information to ensure that the software under development is meeting its intended purpose and functioning optimally.

    ???? Pro Tips:

    1. Start with a Plan: Before beginning the elicitation process, prepare a comprehensive plan to ensure that all the necessary information is captured.

    2. Establish Trust: It is essential to establish trust with the interviewee to create a comfortable environment where they are willing to share important information.

    3. Focus on Open-Ended Questions: Avoid asking leading or closed-ended questions, and instead, focus on open-ended questions that allow the interviewee to provide detailed information.

    4. Pay Attention: Listen carefully to the interviewee’s responses to ensure that you understand their perspective completely.

    5. Follow Up: Follow up with any unresolved questions immediately, and don’t hesitate to clarify any ambiguous points with the interviewee.

    What is Elicitation in Testing?

    Definition of elicitation in testing

    Elicitation in testing refers to the process of extracting information or eliciting responses from students or test-takers, without providing them with the answers in advance. This ensures that the tested individual has the required knowledge and the competence to respond to the question at hand. The elicitation process is commonly used in language tests and other educational assessments.

    While there might be differences in how educators and test makers interpret the term, elicitation generally involves asking students to give or recall a specific fact, answer or respond to issues, without providing them with the necessary direction. This is to measure the extent of their knowledge of the subject matter being tested and their capacity to recall or analyze the information under pressure or time constraints.

    Importance of elicitation for language tests

    Language tests are crucial for evaluating individuals’ proficiency in languages, as well as diagnosing their learning needs. Language learners must possess an extensive range of language skills, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing. These skills, together with comprehension and interpretation, can be effectively measured (in part) through elicitation.

    Tests based on elicitation help students to retain the information that they have learned and be better prepared for the long term. They are important in assessing how individuals can communicate in practical situations. This makes it possible for educators to personalize language training programs to the testing outcomes.

    Strategies for eliciting responses

    There are different strategies for eliciting responses, which educators can use to bring out the knowledge of their students. Below are some methods employed in elicitation:

    1. Open-ended questions: This involves asking students questions that require more than simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses. Instead, they are given the opportunity to provide more detailed answers.

    2. Multiple-choice questions: This strategy involves presenting test-takers with a list of possible answers to a question, with only one correct response.

    3. Summarization questions: This technique requires test-takers to summarize the main idea of the text or statement they have read or heard.

    4. Cloze test: This involves leaving blanks in a sentence or text and asking students to fill in the missing words.

    Benefits of using elicitation in testing

    Elicitation offers numerous benefits to educators and learners. For instance:

    1. Accurately gauging students’ comprehension: The elicitation process can accurately gauge students’ learning and comprehension. This helps teachers to tailor their teaching methods and strategies to meet their individual student’s needs.

    2. Enhancing long-term retention: The process of elicitation helps students to retain information much more effectively than memorizing information for an exam.

    3. Encouraging critical thinking: Elicitation encourages learners to reflect critically on the material they have learned. This helps them to engage with the content and derive more meaning from it.

    Common challenges during elicitation

    Despite its many benefits, the elicitation process can often be challenging. Some common challenges that educators face include:

    1. Time limitations: Many educators face challenges when attempting to use elicitation in exams due to time limitations.

    2. Test-taking anxiety: Students might experience anxiety when they are unsure what to expect during the test. This can affect their ability to recall information during the elicitation process.

    3. Potential limitations of elicitations: While elicitation is an effective learning method, it falls short in providing audio and visual resources that learners can interact with.

    Best practices for successful elicitation in testing

    To achieve the maximum benefits of elicitation, educators can follow these best practices:

    1. Plan: Teachers should always plan their lesson to ensure adequate time to plan and practice elicitation.

    2. Use various elicitation techniques: Using various techniques can increase retention and knowledge acquisition by students.

    3. Adequately prepare students ahead of the test: Adequate preparation can reduce test anxiety and help students to excel, thus building their confidence.

    Examples of elicitation in language tests

    Below are some examples of elicitation techniques used in language tests:

    1. Picture description: Asking students to describe a picture and what they are watching.

    2. Sentence completion: This technique requires students to complete a set of sentences with the correct word or phrase.

    3. Story retell: Asking students to retell a story in their own words.

    In conclusion, elicitation in testing is a valuable tool that educators can use to gauge their student’s comprehension, enhance long-term retention of material, and encourage critical thinking. Although there are challenges associated with this technique, there are various successful strategies that educators can use to achieve the benefits of elicitation.