Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems - (Ph.D.)

Department

Information Systems

First Advisor

Michael Bieber

Second Advisor

Jane Cheng

Third Advisor

Fadi P. Deek

Fourth Advisor

Il Im

Fifth Advisor

Vassilka D. Kirova

Sixth Advisor

Ravi Paul

Abstract

A significant aspect of systems analysis involves discovering and representing entities and their inter-relationships. Guidelines exist to identify entities but do not provide a rigorous and comprehensive process to explicitly capture the relationship structure of the problem domain. Whereas, other analysis techniques lightly address the relationship discovery process, Relationship Analysis is the only systematic, domain-independent analysis technique focusing exclusively on a domain's relationship structure.

The quality of design artifacts, such as class diagrams, and development time necessary to generate these artifacts can be improved by first representing the complete relationship structure of the problem domain. The Relationship Analysis Model is the first theory-based taxonomy to classify relationships. A rigorous evaluation was conducted, including a formal experiment comparing novice and experienced analysts with and without Relationship Analysis. It was shown that the Relationship Analysis Process based on the model does provide a fuller and richer systems analysis, resulting in improved quality of and reduced time in generating class diagrams. It also was shown that Relationship Analysis enables analysts of varying experience levels to achieve a similar level of quality of class diagrams. Relationship Analysis significantly enhances the systems analyst's effectiveness, especially in the area of relationship discovery and documentation resulting in improved analysis and design artifacts.

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