Ning Nan

Associate Professor

Research Interests

blockchain governance
complex adaptive systems
digital business
evolvable information systems
Information Systems
online community

Relevant Degree Programs


Research Methodology

agent based modeling
field study
lab experiments


Doctoral students
Any time / year round

Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!

Check requirements
  • Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
  • Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Admission Information & Requirements" - "Prepare Application" - "Supervision" or on the program website.
Focus your search
  • Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
  • Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
    • Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
    • Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
Make a good impression
  • Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
    • Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
    • Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
  • Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
  • Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
  • Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
    • Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
    • Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
  • Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
Attend an information session

G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2021)
Investigating the change processes in information systems requirements (2020)

Success of information systems (IS) projects is deeply dependent on the quality of the requirements informing their design. Specifically, if the requirements are not precisely determined, IS cannot meet the business needs of organizations. One of the most enduring challenges in managing requirements is ongoing change in requirements. Changes emerge due to various reasons. The main goal of this dissertation is to shed more light on change drivers and change processes in IS requirements. To achieve this goal, we conduct three separate but interdependent studies. The first study elicits and synthesizes various change drivers from the extant literature. By employing a design science research methodology, we propose the Socio-Technical Change Framework and Socio-Technical Requirements Change Method. These two artifacts are drawing upon models in socio-technical systems studies. The proposed framework elaborates on how various social and technical change drivers jointly develop the changes in requirements. The proposed method also provides IS analysts with a new solution to anticipate potential future changes in requirements. The second study investigates the change drivers in contemporary IS projects. We approach this study from a qualitative research methodology. The results from the interviews and surveys reveal 14 categories of change drivers. These change drivers are similar to the change drivers in the first study. However, we explore that the contemporary context includes interesting unique characteristics, which moderate the change processes in IS requirements. The third study dives more deeply into some of the findings from the second study. Specifically, we examine how two of the important change drivers — changes in the environment and changes in user expectations — and one prominent characteristic of contemporary projects — interdependency between requirements — jointly influence the final changes in requirements. To address this query, we employ an agent-based simulation model. We explore interesting insights into the impact of the interdependency between requirements and learning patterns of the population on requirements change. In sum, the findings of all three studies contribute to the extant body of knowledge in IS requirements and open interesting avenues for future research. They also have practical implications for IS analysts, project managers, business owners, and third-party vendors.

View record


If this is your researcher profile you can log in to the Faculty & Staff portal to update your details and provide recruitment preferences.


Discover the amazing research that is being conducted at UBC!