Empirical studies have demonstrated that requirements errors introduced during software development are most numerous in the software life-cycle, making software requirements critical determinants of software quality. This article reports an exploratory study which provides insight into industrial practices with respect to requirements engineering (RE). A combination of both qualitative and quantitative data is collected, using semi-structured interviews and a detailed questionnaire from 28 software projects in 16 Australian companies. The contribution of this RE study is threefold: Firstly, it includes a detailed examination of the characteristics of the RE activities involved in the projects. Secondly, it reconstructs the underlying practiced process models. Thirdly, it compares these models to one another and with a number of well-known process models from RE literature to give insight into the gap between RE theory and practice.